PwC turns to Taylor Wessing to fight off Cattles claim

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has instructed Taylor Wessing partner Andrew Howell and 4 New Square’s Justin Fenwick to defend a £840m claim brought by sub-prime lender and former client Cattles.

Cattles is being advised by Ashurst partners Ben Tidswell and James Levy who have jointly instructed 7KBW’s Jonathan Gaisman QC to lead Rebecca Sabben-Clare and Josephine Higgs in the professional negligence case.

Cattles, whose shares were suspended in 2009, alleges that PwC failed to properly audit its books between 2005 and 2007. Cattles claims that PwC is responsible for “a gross misstatement at the heart of the accounts” that ultimately led to numerous profit warnings and left the company close to collapse.

At a pre-disclosure hearing heard by Mr Justice Eder last month the court ordered PwC to produce documentation relating to its audits of the company while Cattles was told to disclose papers relating to its case.

It is thought that Cattles will file for a formal hearing in 2012.

Earlier this year Cattles appointed Allen & Overy (A&O), Ashurst, Clifford Chance and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer to advise it on its £2.3bn restructuring (4 March 2011).

The restructuring, which returned Cattles and 19 subsidiaries to solvency, involved four schemes of arrangement and an innovative agreement with the Financial Services Compensation Scheme to deal with Cattles’ liabilities in respect of payment protection insurance policies.