A confident Hammonds has vowed to fight the £150m negligence claim being brought against the firm by the Football League all the way to trial.
The case will be heard in the High Court in February 2006 and sources at Hammonds indicated that the trial will take place despite the risks involved in fighting one of the UK’s largest claims ever brought against a solicitors’ firm.
“We have nothing to fear in relation to this case. We’re not taking any chances. It will go to trial,” said a source involved with the case.
Hammonds instructed Barlow Lyde & Gilbert’s rated head of solicitors’ professional liability Sarah Clover and Brick Court Chambers co-head Jonathan Sumption QC to fight the case when the claim was filed in September 2004.
The Football League claims that Edge Ellison, which merged with Hamm-onds in August 2000, failed to protect its interests during negotiations with OnDigital (now ITV Digital). The league says it subsequently lost £119m, an amount which has risen to around £150m due to interest.
Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw, instructing Four New Square head of chambers Justin Fenwick QC, is acting for the Football League.
Hammonds has also attached Stephen Townley, former senior partner of sports boutique Townleys, which merged with Ham-monds in July 2001, to the claim. Townley gave advice on the deal in his capacity as a consultant with sports consultancy Active Rights Management. He is represented by Clyde & Co senior partner Michael Payton and Four New Square’s Sue Carr QC.