Equitable: two directors settle, Headdon claim dropped

Equitable Life has settled claims against two of the 15 former directors it was suing for negligence, it was announced this morning (Monday 3 October).

As first revealed in The Lawyer today the society’s former marketing director Shaun Kinnis, represented by David Rutter at Norfolk firm Metcalfe Copeman & Pettefar together with Erskine Chambers’ Mary Stokes, agreed a “drop hands” settlement with Equitable.

Peter Martin, a former non-executive director who was representing himself in court, has also agreed to settle.

Equitable issued a statement saying that each side will pay its own legal costs. These are not expected to be high for either Kinnis or Martin.

The society has also dropped claims against litigant-in-person Christopher Headdon in relation to his role as “reporting actuary” for Equitable, following the settlement of litigation with former auditors Ernst & Young.

However claims against Headdon in relation to his roles as director and appointed actuary for the society continue.

This morning Mr Justice Langley refused costs applications made by Allen & Overy (A&O) and Simmons & Simmons on behalf of the six and one former non-executive directors the two firms are representing. Both firms are acting on conditional fee agreements (CFAs).

Negligence claims continue against a total of 13 former directors.

Herbert Smith partner Jonathan Copeman and consultant Charles Plant are acting for Equitable, instructing Iain Milligan QC of 20 Essex Street.

A&O partner Tim House is instructing One Essex Court’s Laurence Rabinowitz QC, while Simmons & Simmons partner Philip Vaughan is instructing One Essex Court’s Peter Leaver QC.

Other firms involved are Baker & McKenzie, Fishburns, Fox Williams and Ince & Co.