First round to Herbert Smith on Noboa

Gordon Pollock QC caved in last week, handing the Herbert Smith legal team victory for its client in the $1bn (£643.8m) Noboa litigation. Herbert Smith and its barristers are set to earn an estimated £7m in fees for their work representing Fruit Shippers Ltd (FSL) on the eight-day trial.

Pollock is acting for Maria Elena de Molestina, one of the two sisters trying to wrest control of FSL, one of the world's largest fruit companies, valued at around $1bn, from their brother Alvaro Noboa. Noboa, himself a lawyer and one of Ecuador's richest men, is electioneering to become his country's next president.

In addition to the claim against her brother, Mole-stina attacked FSL directly, seeking to get the share agreements rescinded that gifted the company to Noboa.

Last Wednesday (October 16), Pollock wrote to Herbert Smith conceding that the claim was unworkable and saying the litigation against the company had been dropped. Mr Justice Langley issued an order the following day, stating that all claims that the share agreements should be rescinded have been dismissed. Molestina's direct claim against her brother continues.

Herbert Smith, led by David Gold (who is standing to become the firm's next head of litigation), will share the £7m fee bonanza with counsel Geoffrey Vos QC of 3 Stone Buildings and David Joseph of Essex Court Chambers.

The eight-day trial is already estimated to have cost £16m in legal fees. Lawyers working on the case come from a battery of top law firms and include high-profile QCs, including Pollock and Noboa's counsel Lord Grabiner QC.

Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft is acting for Noboa and for trust companies Earth and Water. Lovells and Macfarla-nes are acting for a further five trust companies. The claimants' heavyweight barrister team comprises Pollock and Laurence Rabinowitz QC of One Essex Court.

FSL will claim full indemnity costs of £7m. The Lawyer understands that one-third to one-half of this will go to Herbert Smith's counsel Vos and David Joseph, meaning that at least £3.5m should go to the law firm.

Herbert Smith has been working on the case since last November, when the board of FSL, where Noboa is president, chairman and chief executive, dropped Ince & Co partner Ben Horn.

Gold was already acting for two Bahamian trust companies connected to FSL, Earth and Water, which were also defendants in the litigation. The Lawyer understands that Noboa personally asked Gold to replace Ince after seeing the quality of Gold's work for the other defendants.