Woodroffes hit by writ after its alleged negligence costs a sacked director £825,000

A SACKED company director is suing London law firm Woodroffes for £825,000 over alleged negligence in its handling of his compensation claim.

In a writ issued at the High Court, John Buchanan, of Farnham, Surrey, says he retained Woodroffes after he was sacked without notice as a director of conglomerate Sale Tilney in April 1993.

Sale Tilney had gone into receivership two months earlier. Before that, the company had loaned Buchanan £20,500 to buy a house and the receivers Grant Thornton wanted to recover the loan. Buchanan retained Woodroffes to negotiate with the receiver over the loan.

He alleges that Woodroffes failed to advise him that he would have been able to claim compensation worth £825,000 from his firm for his sacking. He also alleges that Woodroffes, in signing an agreement with Grant Thornton that Buchanan should only pay £14,200 of his loan back, unintentionally also signed away his right to claim compensation from the receiver.

Buchanan says the firm settled this claim on his contract without his authority.

Neil Jameson of Dawson & Co, acting for Buchanan, said: “Mr Buchanan was on a rolling five-year contract. He should have been given five-years' notice. As he wasn't, he was entitled to claim his full five-year salary plus other benefits from the receivers.”

Woodroffe's senior partner, Peter Woodroffe, said: “This is going to be very strenuously defended. It all depends on what we said to Buchanan. If we said certain things to him then there is no claim.”