Litigation Writs 25/10/99

Businessman Nicholas Van Hoogstraten has issued a claim at London's High Court against Lonmin (formerly Lonrho) in which he is suing for damages in a dispute over a share deal. The claim says that Hoogstraten agreed to purchase the company Willoughby's Consolidated from Lonmin in September 1998, but later discovered that the company had debts he had not been told about. Now Hoogstraten, of Hamilton Palace, East Sussex, is suing Lonmin for damages, including losses he says he has suffered of Zimbabwe $3.8m (about £60,000), plus interest. The claim says Hoogstraten agreed to pay £4.24m for Willoughby's Consolidated, but the sale was conditional on Willoughby's selling all the share capital of Corsyn Consolidated Mines for £5m to Lonmin. It alleges that Lonmin warranted that Willoughby's bank accounts would contain £1m and a letter confirmed among other things that after Corsyn had been sold to Lonmin, Willoughby's would be debt free with substantial livestock and about half a million acres of land. However, Hoogstraten claims that after the deal he discovered the company accounts contained only about £139,000. He says cheques had not been disclosed staff had not been paid and the company owed money to a council. The claim also says that the companywas obliged to provide safaris for which it had received advance payments, and was under a liability to make undisclosed and illegal offshore cash payments to a person called Sharp in a tax evasion deal.

Claim issued by Engleharts, East Sussex

A South Wales couple are suing Vale of Glamorgan County Council for damages for alleged negligence and nuisance over subsidence which they claim was caused to their home by tree roots. Mr and Mrs Aitken, of Barry, South Glamorgan, claim that the roots of a lime tree on council-owned land outside their property has grown into their land and that as a result they have had to have underpinning work costing £35,172.62 carried out. They accuse the council of failing to inspect the tree adequately or monitor its growth.

Claim issued by Lawrence Graham, London EC3

A Gillingham woman is heading for a High Court showdown with Morelli's Cappuccino Bars and British Steel over injuries she received in an accident at Hempstead Valley Shopping Centre in Gillingham. Julie Prescott of Rainham, accuses Morelli's and British Steel of negligence, breach of statutory duty and breach of the Work Place (Health Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. The claim does not give details of the nature of the 1996 accident.

Claim issued by Khilkoff-Boulding & Co, Chatham, Kent

A worker injured at a nuclear bunker is suing for compensation. Leslie Dixon fell two metres from a scaffold, fracturing a vertebra and shoulder blade. The accident happened in 1998 when he was working on a nuclear bunker in Northwood. Dixon accuses Bolton Gate, John Laing, and the MoD of negligence for allowing him to work from an unguarded scaffold failing to provide a safe place of work, and failing to take proper precautions for his safety.

Claim issued by Bolt Burdon, London N