Hotelier Robert Woolley, who was a longstanding client of Rogers & Wells before it merged with Clifford Chance, is claiming that the firm negligently drafted an agreement on his behalf a decade ago.
The contract in question was intended to settle a number of disputes surrounding the control of partnerships for four hotels. Woolley thought that the agreement between himself and the investors would protect him and the rest of his family from personal recourse. However, years later, investors brought lawsuits against him.
The lawsuits alleged claims arising out of the new agreement. The courts dismissed every claim, except the one about breach of contract. According to Woolley's lawyers, that was the specific claim R&W was supposed to have insured Woolley against.
Woolley claims that because of the legal actions, his credibility and financial position were compromised and his access to transactions and capital in the hotel industry was negatively impacted for six years.
“Our client put his faith and trust in his law firm, based upon the firm's assurances”
William Brewer, Bickel & Brewer
Woolley's lawyer William Brewer, a partner at Bickel & Brewer, said: “There were any number of deals that he missed until he got this case worked out.”
CCR&W was unable to comment on the case, but is understood not to have instructed counsel when The Lawyer went to press.
Brewer added: “Our client put his faith and trust in his law firm, based upon the firm's assurances that it would represent him according to his intentions and instructions. Unfortunately Mr Woolley believes that Rogers & Wells not only failed to do that, but then refused to assist him in remedying the situation.”
Brewer refused to reveal the names of the partners at Rogers & Wells who were involved in the case, saying that some former partners had been very helpful to his client on the case.
Woolley is one of the world's leading real estate developers and is particularly active in hotels.
Brewer is one of the co-managing partners at Bickel & Brewer, which is a 10-partner firm founded in the 1980s with offices in Texas and New York.