Case studies

Group action by Italian holiday home purchasers against solicitors

We are currently acting for almost 100 clients to recover multi-million pound damages from their former London-based solicitors, Giambrone Law, for professional negligence, breach of fiduciary duty and breach of trust.

The defendants, Italian lawyer, Gabriele Giambrone and his business, acted for our clients in their purchases of off-plan properties in two separate tourist developments, the Jewel of the Sea and El Caribe, in Calabria, Southern Italy in 2007.

Neither development was completed within the timescales set out in the contract and the Jewel of the Sea development has since been seized in an Italian prosecution of its promoters and builders amidst allegations that the transactions were part of an alleged £400 million money laundering scheme operated by the Ndraghenta, a powerful Mafia-style crime organisation, and former IRA members.

Our clients’ claim is to recover monies they have paid and lost in the failed transactions. In each case the sum is 50% of the purchase price of the property. The claims are being defended and are proceeding in the Chancery Division of the High Court.

The matter is further complicated by the defendants’ professional indemnity insurer, AIG, which alleges an entitlement to aggregate the claims, the result of which would be an insufficient level of indemnity in the event that the defendants cannot themselves satisfy any judgments obtained.

The clients deny that there is such an entitlement in these circumstances and we are also advising our clients on the issue of aggregation and policy coverage. Both the Law Society and the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) have expressed an interest in possible intervention in any aggregation proceedings involving the defendants’ professional indemnity insurer, as there are issues of public policy at stake, because our clients expected their solicitor to have indemnity cover which would cover each of their claims.

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Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP