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SMDF case before court over losses of €4.9m

06 Mar 2020 / courts Print

SMDF case before court over losses of €4.9m

A solicitors’ insurer is seeking judgment for the sum of €4.9 million after heavy losses when a bond fell in value by 97%.

The Solicitors Mutual Defence Fund (SMDF) Ltd, now R & Q Ireland CLG, said its reserves of €8.4 million were wiped out due to the negligence of Bloxham stockbrokers.

Chairman

SMDF chairman Patrick Dorgan (pictured) swore an affidavit to the court, presided over by Mr Justice Denis McDonald, on Wednesday 4 March, that the body had to get a €5 million guarantee from the Law Society to protect its position, had ceased offering indemnity to solicitors in 2012, and is now in run-off.

The Law Society subsequently funded a rescue package of €13 million.

The SMDF has now applied to the High Court for leave to re-enter proceedings, which began against Bloxham in 2009, prior to its collapse in 2012.

SMDF is seeking judgment for the €4.9 million.

It also recently issued fresh proceedings for specific performance of the 2011 settlement agreement.

Lawyers representing five former Bloxham partners opposed the re-entry before Mr Justice Denis McDonald on Wednesday.

The parties are Gary McCarthy SC, with Hugh O’Flaherty BL, representing Arthur Quinlan, Stradbrook Road, Blackrock, Co Dublin, and Angus McDonnell, Ballymoney Park, Kilbride, Co Wicklow; Joe Jeffers BL, representing Pramit Ghose, St Mary’s Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin, and Martin Harte, Idrone Terrace, Blackrock, Co Dublin; and Andrew Walker BL, representing Anne Barrett, Shrewsbury Park, Merrion Road, Ballsbridge.

Arguments

The court heard arguments that a High Court order of 31 January 2011, made when the settlement was announced, stated that the proceedings were “struck out with liberty to re-enter”.

The court heard that the phrase “struck out” had prevented any matter, other than the original cause of action, being re-entered.

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