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23 April 2015 | Firm News | Article by Richard Locke

Dispute resolution team defends ROCKWOOL Ltd against multi-million pound claim

The ROCKWOOL Group operates more than 30 factories on three continents. Its UK manufacturing plant near Bridgend in South Wales employs around 350 people producing stone wool products on its state-of-the-art line and packaging facility.

The claim for more than £8million had been brought against ROCKWOOL Ltd by the company’s long-serving transport and logistics partner, John Raymond Transport Limited (JRT).

JRT’s claim was based upon an alleged shortfall in a guaranteed minimum number of delivery loads amounting to £4,433,266.17. This element of the claim was struck out in its entirety by Mr Justine Newey, sitting at the High Court in Cardiff.

The Bridgend-based distribution company also sought to claim that ROCKWOOL failed to increase fees paid in line with the retail price index (RPI) between October 2008 and October 2014, resulting in an alleged loss of £3,697,401.37.

That claim too was largely struck out by the judge, with JRT afforded the opportunity to reformulate its claim for the periods 1 September 2010 to 31 July 2011 and 1 August 2012 to 31 October 2014 only.

Having read evidence from both parties and reviewed the documents, Mr Justice Newey rejected JRT’s minimum load claim. Looking at documents relied upon by JRT as alleged amendments to the contract between it and ROCKWOOL Ltd, he said: “It is apparent, in my view, that the contents of the 2008 and 2011 Agreements were not intended to take effect as contractual terms.”

He continued: “Neither document said in terms that ROCKWOOL Ltd had to provide JRT with a minimum number of loads each week.”

JRT wrote the contracts it was seeking to rely upon itself. The court did not agree with its interpretation of what it was seeking to rely upon.

Richard Locke, partner and head of the dispute resolution team, said:

“This has been a very interesting case to be involved in and we are delighted for our client with the outcome. JRT drafted the amendments to the contract which ultimately failed to do what they wanted. The case highlights the perils of drafting legal contracts yourself, especially when so much is at stake.”

Author bio

Richard is a Partner and an elected partner on the firm’s board of management.  He is also Group Head of the ever expanding dispute resolution team at Hugh James. He conducts major commercial disputes frequently with an international flavour including commercial claims, mining disputes, shareholder and partnership disputes, professional negligence claims, contentious IT disputes, injunctive relief and insolvency.

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.

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