Lawrence Graham-L&R hostilities end

Property company London & Regional (L&R) last week settled its £30m negligence claim against Lawrence Graham and runaway partner Michael Fielding on the first day of the trial.

The claim was launched in 2004 and relates to a deal between L&R and airport operator TBI involving Fielding, the former Lawrence Graham partner who allegedly stole £2m from L&R’s account before fleeing to the US.

TBI had refused to carry out a joint venture between the two companies. When L&R took TBI to the Court of Appeal in 2002, the court ruled that the contract, drafted by Fielding, was not binding.

L&R brought the claim against Lawrence Graham for negligence and breach of contract. It was set down for trial in the High Court last week, but settled on Monday (31 January). The terms of the settlement are strictly confidential.

Fielding resigned from Lawrence Graham and escaped to the US in 2001 after allegedly taking money from L&R’s account, as well as running up a multimillion-pound debt with the Royal Bank of Scotland.

A £3m debt was also incurred on Fielding’s joint account with his wife Sandra, who found herself liable for that debt following a 2004 Court of Appeal decision.

Laurence Cohen, McDermott Will & Emery’s London head of IP, acted for L&R, instructing Mark Howard QC of Brick Court Chambers. Lawrence Graham was represented by Barlow Lyde & Gilbert professional liability and commercial negligence partner Neil Jamieson, with Essex Court Chambers silk Susan Prevezer QC as counsel.