Shoosmiths pays £60,000 after admitting negligence

SHOOSMITHS & Harrison has agreed to pay a former client £60,000 in a last minute settlement of her negligence claim against the firm.

Shoosmiths admitted last August that it had mishandled Yvonne Lewis's claim over the death of her husband in April 1993 following a collision with a drunk driver. But the settlement was only agreed on 22 June, just as the High Court hearing into the amount of damages was about to begin.

When acting for Lewis, Shoosmiths had failed to serve a writ on the other driver involved, who was uninsured and had been convicted of causing death by dangerous driving. The firm also allowed the limitation period on the claim to expire.

As a result, Lewis was told that the Motor Insurers Bureau, the fund that pays out for uninsured drivers, had a complete defence to her claim – valued at £239,000.

According to Chris Corney, professional negligence assistant at Bolt Burdon, the Solicitors Indemnity Fund now faces a bill for both parties' costs, including two sets of counsels' fees. Corney said: “It was a shame that Yvonne Lewis had to be put through the distress of going to court before an acceptable offer was made.”

Shoosmiths' managing partner Graham New said: “I'm pleased this matter has been brought to a conclusion.”