Penningtons Manches’ commercial dispute resolution team is currently pursuing a high-profile group action litigation claim relating to negligent advice given by solicitors to a large number of victims who have lost their substantial deposits on the Jewel of the Sea and El Caribe holiday development projects in the south of Italy.
The projects in the region of Calabria were subsequently abandoned following Italian police intervention over allegations of mafia and IRA money laundering. Many investors have been unable to claim back the initial deposits made to Italian lawyer Gabriele Giambrone and his partners, who have since been sanctioned by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.
The team, led by partner David Niven, has been instructed by more than 100 people to recover multi-million-pound damages for professional negligence and breach of trust.
The defendants, Giambrone and his businesses, acted for Niven’s clients in their purchases of off-plan properties in two separate dream holiday home developments, Jewel of the Sea and El Caribe, in southern Italy, in 2007–08.
Penningtons Manches is currently suing Giambrone, who took receipt of around 50 per cent of the deposit payments. If successful in this action, it is also then likely that separate proceedings will be commenced against Giambrone’s professional indemnity insurer, AIG, on the basis that the cover it provided is wider than the very restrictive basis it is now claiming. Unfortunately, this will almost certainly mean many of the clients are potentially locked into litigation for years to come.