Freshfields hit by £1m claim for negligence

FRESHFIELDS is being sued for more than £1m for alleged negligence.

Frizzell Financial Services has issued a writ against the firm claiming breach of contract and negligence. It is the second writ to be issued against Freshfields in less than a fortnight. Reuters is also suing the firm – for alleged breach of duty, as reported last week in The Lawyer.

Frizzell claims it entered an agreement for the underlease and refurbishment of leased property 14-22 Elder Street, in London E1, and a dispute arose between Frizzell and FirstCity Insurance Group – formerly part of Frizzell – over the refurbishment work.

FirstCity sued Frizzell in 1995, but Frizzell won the case. FirstCity then successfully appealed.

Frizzell is accusing Freshfields of failing to inform it of a defect in the property agreement and failing to advise the company on the likelihood of failing in the ensuing proceedings.

Frizzell claims Freshfields was in breach of retainer and negligent in its advice on the matter.

It is suing for court costs amounting to £119,445, some of FirstCity's legal costs, its own costs, £860,750 for loss of rent and a further £175,938 for the cost of still having to maintain the unlet property.

Frizzell is also seeking £59,205 for surveyors and solicitors fees, as well as for future losses – to be assessed – from the difference between the terms of the original underlease and an underlease granted last year to solicitors Ashurst Morris Crisp.

Clifford Chance is acting for Frizzell.