Essex Court barrister seals victory for JPMorgan in mistaken salary claim

Essex Court Chambers’ Charles Ciumei has scored a High Court victory for JPMorgan & Chase after the bank escaped being forced to pay £580,000 to a trader after it inflated his salary by missing a decimal point in his contract.

Ciumei was instructed by Allen & Overy partner Stefan Martin to defend the claim, which was launched by Switzerland-based commodities trader Kai Herbert.

Ely Place Chambers’ Jonathan Price, who was instructed by Dale Langley & Co named partner Dale Langley for the claimant, told the court that his client had signed a contract to relocate to Johannesburg for a salary of 24m rand (£2m). The bank, however, said there was a typographical error and the figure should have been 2.4m rand (£200,000).

The trader resigned from UBS in June 2010 following the offer from New York-based JPMorgan to relocate to South Africa. Herbert didn’t report for work after discovering the discrepancy and JPMorgan withdrew the offer in December 2010.

Nevertheless, Mr Justice Globe revealed that Herbert’s original claim topped £2m, falling to £1m and then later £580,000.

“Herbert took the commercial risk of accepting the offer, knowing full well that the figure was an error,” Globe J said, handing down judgment in favour of JPMorgan orally.

Ordering the claimant to pay costs of £85,000 the judge added: “There’s been gross exaggeration in relation to the claim.”