Lone former director settles dispute with Equitable Life as £1.7bn claim rages on

One of the former executive directors of Equitable Life, Shaun Kinnis, is understood to have settled his dispute with the society late last week, as settlement negotiations over the ongoing £1.7bn negligence claim against 14 other directors continued.

Neither Kinnis’s solicitor, David Rutter of Metcalfe Copeman & Pettefar, or Equitable Life would comment. However, it is believed to be a ‘drop hands’ settlement in which both sides agree to pay their own costs.

Meanwhile, the rest of the directors and their defence teams return to court today (3 October) for a costs hearing, with cross-examination of expert witnesses scheduled to restart on 10 October.

It appears unlikely that more of the directors will agree to a settlement, with the mood in the defence camp determined and confident.

It is unlikely that Allen & Overy (A&O) and Simmons & Simmons will advise their clients to settle, as both are acting on conditional fee agreements (CFAs) and will receive no fees unless Equitable agrees to pay costs under a settlement or the case is won. A&O is representing six non-executive directors and Simmons is advising one. If the directors win the case, the firms will also be able to apply for a success fee.

The other directors – except Christopher Headdon and Peter Martin who are representing themselves – have paid for legal representation. This varies from non-executive David Wilson’s full defence team of Ince & Co and £2m-a-year silk Jules Sher QC of Wilberforce Chambers to the partner/junior teams employed by other directors. The other firms involved are Baker & McKenzie, Fishburns and Fox Williams.