A recent case of Bacciottini and Cook –v- Gotelee & Goldsmith (a firm) is a salutary reminder that not all negligence claims are worth pursuing, not even if breach of duty (liability) has been admitted.
Mr Bacciottini and Ms Cook bought a property in 2007 with a view to its development. His lawyers failed to inform him of a 1974 planning condition that limited development potential. Mr Bacciottini eventually got the 1974 planning restriction lifted in 2009, and over the course of 2010 and 2011 developed the property.
Mr Bacciottini then sued the lawyers claiming that because of the failure to provide information about the 1974 planning condition the property was bought at too high a price and Mr Bacciottini and Ms Cook suffered a loss accordingly. The Judge accepted that Mr Bacciottini and Ms Cook paid £100,000.00 more than the actual value of the property. The Judge viewed applying to lift the planning restriction as a simple, obvious and cheap step to take.
The claimants’ argument was that the application to remove the restriction was independent of the loss suffered as it was part and parcel of Mr Bacciottini’s and Ms Cook’s planning applications and therefore it should not be considered as a mitigation step. The judge disagreed. By lifting the restriction the Judge viewed the Claimants as having successfully mitigated their loss. The Judge awarded Mr Bacciottini and Ms Cook nominal damages of £250.00 after 18 months of litigation.
For more information about the issues raised in this article or to find out more about how the Dispute Resolution team can help you please contact Stephen Baker on 0118 952 7206 or email [email protected].
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