Former Dewey partners to join cases against Barclays

Three former Dewey & LeBoeuf partners have joined their cases against Barclays in an attempt to prove that the bank and defunct firm induced them to take on individual debts to keep Dewey afloat.

The three defendants, represented by Candey and Signature Litigation, today agreed an order on paper with Barclays, represented by TLT, to join their actions and proceed with a trial next year.

The move follows a case management conference (CMC) on Friday (2 May), when Signature Litigation partner Graham Huntley suggested that former partner Elias Farrah’s defence against the bank should be joined to two other former partners’, represented by Candey partner Andrew Dunn.

Barclays has been pursuing more than 100 former partners for repayment of loans it granted them before the firm’s collapse in 2012. It has issued proceedings against 50 of those partners, including Candey clients Lester Charles Landgraf and Londel McMillan.

Earlier this year Mr Justice Popplewell refused to grant Barclays a summary judgment over its dispute with Landgraf (4 March 2014).

Landgraf, represented by 4 Stone Buildings’ John Brisby QC, had argued that the only reason he had taken out the loan with the bank was to inject liquidity into the firm to meet its day-to-day debts, not his own. The former partner has now issued a counterclaim against the bank, alleging that Barclays breached its duty of care in advising him about the financial health of the firm. He also alleges that the bank made implied misrepresentations that the contemplated borrowing was prudent though it knew Dewey was in dire financial straits.

McMillan is being pursued by the bank in the UK and has filed a fraud claim against it in the US (20 February 2013). Barclays is suing McMillan for $550,000 in damages in the UK but the partner has filed a fraud claim against Barclays in the Manhattan federal district court, claiming that Barclays “intentionally failed to disclose” Dewey’s indebtedness to him to “induce” him to enter into a loan agreement.

Last week Popplewell J listed a new CMC for Friday this week (9 May) in order to make a final decision on whether Farrah’s case should be joined to those of Landgraf and McMillan.

The parties now want to vacate the Friday hearing over consolidating the cases, having all signed up to the agreement. Partners Dunn, Huntley and TLT partner Richard Clayton all consented to the order on paper today.

The parties are calling for Landgraf’s trial in December 2014 to be vacated and replaced by a joint action heard in the new year in the Commercial Court, expected to be listed for seven to nine days. The McMillan and Farrah cases were already due to be heard in 2015. If Popplewell J agrees, the parties will return to the Commercial Court within the next 10 days to list a date for trial.

It is not known what the final legal line-up will look like for the former partners, though it is expected that Brisby QC will continue to represent the defendants as well as 4 Stone Buildings’ Alexander Cook. 

The legal line up 

For the claimant, Barclays Bank Plc

Fountain Court’s Guy Philipps QC and Adam Zellick instructed by TLT partner Richard Clayton

For the defendants Lester Charles Landgraf and Londell McMillan

4 Stone Buildings’ John Brisby QC and Alexander Cook instructed by Candey partner Andrew Dunn 

For the defendant Elias Farrah

4 New Square’s Daniel Saoul, instructed by Signature Litigation partner Graham Huntley