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JMW secures High Court victory following 2.5 year legal wrangle
Law firm JMW Solicitors has seen a complex 2.5 year legal battle draw to a close this morning with the judgment handed down by the High Court in favour of its client, Tom O’Connor.
The wrangle began in September 2018, with insolvency practitioner, David Mond, launching a legal challenge including an injunction against ex-colleague, Tom O’Connor, and his wife, Abigail, accusing them of misusing confidential data in their claims management business, Octax, as well as a lack of good faith and dishonesty.
Later, shortly before trial, DRSP, Mond’s business which brought the allegations, amended the claim to one of a technical nature relating to alleged infringement of database right and removed all allegations of dishonesty as well as all proceedings against Abigail.
JMW Solicitors launched a successful counterclaim on behalf of the O’Connors, culminating this morning with the ruling handed down by Judge Cawson QC in favour of Tom O’Connor and Octax.
Mond, a Chartered Accountant and Insolvency Practitioner, also owns Hodgsons Chartered Accountants and is a major shareholder in ClearDebt Group. Despite claims to the contrary and attempts to play down his involvement in the business, he is also the owner of DRSP.
The Judgment notes the sending of correspondence by Mr. Mond from the email address of Mrs. Robinson, his PA, which were intended to have the appearance of being sent by her, saying: “In my judgment, matters can only have been arranged in this way in order to create a false impression to regulators and others who might be concerned in relation thereto, that Mrs Robinson was the owner and directing mind of DRSP when, in fact, that was not the case.”
The judgment, handed down this morning, states, “it does Mr Mond little credit that against this background he was prepared, through the present proceedings, and in remarks made to others such as Mr Lee and Ms Jordan to accuse Mr and Mrs O’Connor of dishonesty and lack of good faith, when there was simply not the evidence to support these allegations, which have been abandoned shortly before trial. Further, I am satisfied, not least from what he said during the course of the exchange with Ms Jordan on 19 October 2018, that a significant factor behind the decision to seek to challenge Mr O’Connor’s actions, and to do so making unfounded allegations of dishonesty and lack of good faith, was at least in part motivated by the fact that Mr. Mond was aware that DRSP was potentially liable to pay very significant sums to Octax in the form of commission as discussed at the meeting between Mr. Mond and Mr. O’Connor on 18 July 2018, and a perception that attack was the best form of defence.”
The result of the ruling is that that Mr O’Connor and Octax will be entitled to receive a significant sum in relation to commissions not paid and other fees due, the details of which will be dealt with by further proceedings.
Alison Parry, Partner at JMW Solicitors, said: “This was a lengthy and complex case which has, as you would expect, had a negative impact on Tom and Abigail O’Connor, who have been forced to defend these spurious allegations for more than two years. We’re pleased to have been able to support them in defending their position and hope that they can now move forward secure in the knowledge that they have been absolved of any wrongdoing.”
Tom O’Connor said: “The JMW team have done an excellent job and we’re very grateful for their advice, dedication and support in helping us to overcome the false allegations levelled against us. Today’s judgment vindicates us completely of any wrongdoing. We have remained steadfast that we would be completely exonerated and are pleased that the outcome has been clear on that. We all now look forward to moving on from this monster of a case and we are glad that it has finally been tamed.”