A City firm has failed to strike out a professional negligence claim over advice it gave in group action brought by women who were fitted with faulty breast implants.
BLM is accused of giving Transform Medical Group – a cosmetic surgery company – negligent advice when it recommended against telling the other side’s solicitors that Transform was not insured against some of the women’s claims.
It is alleged that such advice was negligent, and that, if the claimants’ solicitors – Welsh firm Hugh James – had been told then of the position, such claimants would not have registered under the group litigation order or would have sought to have their claims stayed. Instead, Transform had to deal with the uninsured claims, ceased trading and entered administration.
Jonathan Waite QC is also accused of negligence.
Hugh James was the lead claimant law firm in the litigation concerning non-medical grade silicone breast implants. In 2018 Involegal, a firm owned by the partners of Hugh James, took an assignment of Transform’s cause of action against BLM and Waite.
According to Involegal, the main purposes it agreed to enter into the assignment were to provide a route whereby the uninsured claimants and Hugh James could make some recovery in respect of the unsatisfied judgments for damages and costs against Transform and to enable Transform's claims to be pursued against BLM and Waite.
BLM and Waite applied for summary judgment and for the claim to be struck out as an abuse of process. They argued that the claim has no real prospect of succeeding as ‘the assignment savours of champerty and/or maintenance and is therefore invalid’.
They also argued that Transform was insolvent and was doomed to fail in any event.
However, his Honour Judge Jarman QC dismissed the applications, stating: ‘It is clear that Involegal is a different legal entity to Hugh James and that Involegal itself, as opposed to its members, will not benefit from the assignment and trust even if there is a net recovery. Nevertheless, in my judgement it has a realistic prospect of establishing a sufficient interest, through its members, in seeking to recover in respect of uninsured claimants the unsatisfied judgments for damages and in respect of Hugh James the unsatisfied judgments for costs, in either case in whole or in part.’