Litigation round-up

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (instructing Robin Dicker QC, 3/4 South Square, and Richard Snowden QC, Erskine Chambers) acted for Telewest Communications in its successful application for a £3.8bn financial restructuring. The terms of the prolonged debt-for-equity swap agreed by Telewest’s bondholders will leave current shareholders with 1.5 per cent of the new equity. Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson (instructing Richard Sheldon QC, 3/4 South Square) acted for the bondholder committee, and Shearman & Sterling (instructing Martin Moore QC, Erskine Chambers) for the opposing bondholders. The deal could pave the way for a Telewest merger with NTL, the largest UK cable operator.

Withers (instructing David Elvin QC, Landmark Chambers) acted for the Ashcombe Estate, owned by Madonna and her husband Guy Ritchie, in their partial victory to stop ramblers from walking around their £9m estate in Wiltshire. The planning inspectors allowed 15 out of 17 appeals made against the provisional map drawn up by the Countryside Agency, represented Clarke Willmott, which handled litigation and advocacy. The appeals were allowed on a variety of grounds, including lack of qualifying grassland, non-open country and lack of sufficient boundaries, thus requiring the parcels to be considered as part of larger non-qualifying areas.

Howrie Simon represented Cable & Wireless (C&W) in its successful defence of a class action brought against it by claimants alleging it had made false statements about its financial health. UK firm Class Law and Milberg Weiss of the US represented the claimants, led by the West Virginia Investment Management Board and the State Universities Retirement System of Illinois, whose allegations have been dismissed by the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. The plaintiffs also unsuccessfully alleged that C&W had billions of dollars of property lease commitments that it had failed to disclose.

Gibson Dunn & Crutcher (Scott Edelman) represented Munich-based film distributor Intertainment AG in a successful fraud and breach of contract lawsuit against Franchise Pictures and chief executive Elie Samaha. Following the 16-day trial, Intertainment was awarded $77m (£42.4m) in damages.