Your Legal Friend, a trading name of Liverpool law firm Camps Solicitors, has confirmed that it has launched its long-awaited shareholder group action against Quindell plc.
In a statement this morning, Quindell said it had “received a letter described as a ‘notice of intended claim’ from a law firm acting for a claimant group suggesting that it intends to commence an action against the company under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000”.
Quindell, currently being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office for its ‘business and accounting practices’, went on: “Whilst the company is not in a position to verify the assertions in the notice (as no claim has been received as yet), the notice estimates the value of the potential claims against the company to be a maximum of approximately £9 million before costs (if awarded).
“There can be no guarantee that other claims will not be made against the company and, in particular, the claimant firm details that it has been approached, but not retained, by other potential claimants who together, it asserts, would have a claim of a maximum value of a further £9 million.
“The company is not aware, and has not been made aware, of any other law firms acting for (or in the process of forming) other claimant groups.”
Quindell said the notice provided little detail on the potential claim or the timing of the pre-action letter of claim and “no information to support the valuation of the individual prospective claimants’ claims”, which would require to be proved in due course in any litigation.
“At this stage, the company will vigorously defend all such claims, as appropriate.
“Neither the notice nor any claim made as currently outlined in the notice would adversely impact the company’s previously announced intentions regarding a capital return.”
Colin Gibson, chief operating officer of Your Legal Friend, told Legal Futures last month that the number of potential shareholder claims against Quindell plc had hit 850 in the wake of the “breathtaking” financial restatements revealed this summer.
The restatements were announced on the same day as two investigations were launched into what happened before Quindell sold its legal business to Slater & Gordon, one by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), the other by the SFO.
Mr Gibson told Legal Futures this afternoon that the law firm’s purpose in serving the notice of intended claim was to help Quindell assess the size of the financial reserves it needed to set aside for potential claims.
However, he said the number of claimants was still growing, with 304 confirmed clients and a further 600 potential claimants.
“It’s very much a question of watch this space,” Mr Gibson said. “We’re continuing to consider all the detail in their annual report.”