Law firm owes €8.5m over failure to register property, High Court rules
Rosbeg Partners claims as a result of losing out on property offer it was unable to pay off €8 million AIB loan
Mr Justice Michael Peart: he adjourned the making of orders in the case
A leading corporate and commercial law firm owes €8.5 million to a business because a failure to properly register a property meant a €10 million offer from truck importer Pino Harris for its purchase did not go ahead, the High Court ruled.
LK Shields solicitors’ full liability to Rosbeg Partners, owned by businessman Bob Stewart, will exceed €8.5 million because it includes other losses suffered by Rosbeg as a result of the sale to Mr Harris not going ahead “at the height of the property bubble” in 2007, Mr Justice Michael Peart said.
The property, unit 520, Western Industrial Estate, Naas Road, Dublin, adjoins lands owned by Mr Harris on the Naas Road where his truck assembling business is located. Since Mr Harris made his €10 million offer in 2007, the value of the property has dropped to some €1.5 million and it remains unsold.
Rosbeg Partners claimed that as a result of losing out on the Harris offer it was unable to pay off an €8 million AIB loan.
LK Shields accepted the property had not been properly registered but denied that was why the sale did not proceed. There was no evidence the €
10 million offer had ever been accepted by Rosbeg because it was holding out for more money, it argued.
The judge has adjourned the making of orders in the case because, in addition to the €8.5 million loss, the interest Rosbeg paid on its €8 million borrowings will have to be calculated, plus the amount of capital gains tax.
Rosbeg bought the Naas Road property, comprising five lots, in 1994 from Packaging Resources Ltd for IR£765,000.
Rosbeg retained LK Shields to do that conveyancing, which went through, but there was an outstanding problem with a map relating to one of the lots. Between 1996 and 2000, LK Shields endeavoured to get Packaging Resources’ solicitors to sort out the mapping problem, the judge said.
While the mapping problem existed, there were no practical consequences for Rosbeg until the decision to sell in 2007.