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Court discards double litigation

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The Facts

In Camerata Property Inc v Credit Suisse Securities (Europe) Ltd* the court was asked to consider a second claim brought on the basis of negligent investment advice. Camerata Property Inc (“the claimant”) had invested in a five-year note issued by Lehman Brothers through Credit Suisse Securities (Europe) Ltd (“the defendant”) in 2007.

Prior to the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the claimant had received advice from the defendant regarding the investments that they had made. When Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008, the claimant lost a large part of the original investment.

It was claimed that the advice received had been negligent and in breach of their agreement with the defendant. The claimant arguing that, but for this negligent advice, they would have sold the note before Lehman Brothers had collapsed. The court dismissed the original claim.

Following the failure of the first claim, the claimant attempted to bring new proceedings claiming negligence on the part of the defendant in the original investment advice relating to the note. This claim had not been included in the original Particulars of Claim for the first proceedings. The defendant applied for summary judgment, or for the case to be struck out on the grounds of estoppel, abuse of process and unsustainability.

The Decision

The court considered that they had considered the details of the claim within the first judgment. Therefore, any attempt by the claimant to claim on these grounds would have been contrary to the first judgment. Given the fact that there had been no substantial developments to the circumstances of the case, and the second claim was based on the same factual background as the original claim, any finding in favour of the claimant would have been a collateral attack on the first judgment, and in the court’s opinion this would amount to an abuse of process.

The Impact

The case demonstrates the reluctance of the courts to permit any claimant to have two bites of the apple in claims that share the same factual basis. Claimants who believe that they may have more than one potential claim should ensure that they are all contained within the Particulars of Claim to avoid being blocked at a later time. A defendant who believes that they have been faced with a claim based on the same factual circumstances for a second time should act to bring this issue to the attention of the court.

For additional information please contact Justin Emerson of Gepp & Sons on 01245 228113 or emersonj@gepp.co.uk

The above is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.

* [2012] All ER (D) 99