Reality TV star hires Aussie law giants, and Landers lends a hand to ripped off Padbury clients

by NZ Lawyer29 May 2014
TV Apprentice star launches claim against law firm…. Organic farmer loses GM contamination case….and Swift justice sought against pop star….

TV Apprentice Star Hires Herbert Smith Freehills for Negligence Case
He’s the gravel-voiced, finger-pointing boss in the UK version of The Apprentice, but Lord Sugar is also one of the country’s most high-profile businessmen having made his money in electronics and invested heavily in property. He’s now ‘hired’ Anglo-Australian law giants Herbert Smith Freehills to launch a High Court action against law firm Kingsley Napley, alleging professional negligence and breach of duty during its role in a property deal. Lord Sugar wants £1.3 million. Kingsley Napley dispute the claim. Read the full story.
Lander & Rodgers Set To Act for Padbury Investors 
A costs agreement is set to be signed between Melbourne law firm Lander & Rodgers and investors who bought Padbury Mining shares, believing that $6.5 billion had been raised for the Oakajee project. As it emerged that the company could not substantiate claims that it had secured 100% funding, there was a fall in the share price leaving investors wondering why they hadn’t had transparent information. The claim that will be handled by Lander & Rodgers is likely to be a class action. Read the full story.
Watson Farley Restructures Partner Payments to Mitigate Taxes
A crackdown by the UK Tax authorities has resulted in at least one London firm restructuring its non-equity partners’ remuneration. Under the new system, all non-equity partners in the London office will put just over 20 per cent of their annual remuneration into a special pool that will only be returned to the partners if they and the firm hit an annual budget target. This payment structure should ensure that the 20 or so partners will not have to pay national Insurance contributions (as high as 12% in some cases) which are designed to offset the cost of state benefits. The plan followed the Tax authorities finding that the partners were on ‘disguised salaries’. A number of other firms have asked fixed partners to provide capital contributions to avoid being caught by the same disguised salary provisions. Read the full story.
Organic Farmer Loses Contamination Case
The Supreme Court of Australia has ruled against a farmer who lost his organic crop licence and claimed that his land was contaminated by genetically modified seeds from a neighbour. The farmer, Steve Marsh, had been friends with neighbouring farmer Michael Baxter before the incident in which seeds from Baxter’s farm blew onto Marsh’s land. Lawyers for Marsh say the decision is disappointing and there are now calls for Australia’s rules on GM contamination, which are tighter than the US, EU and Japan, to be relaxed. They currently have a zero tolerance policy. Read the full story.

Global Market Requires Global Experience for Lawyers
As an increasing amount of business is done across international borders and many companies – even small ones – have the opportunity to trade globally, lawyers may need a grasp of different cultures as well as laws. A good example of firms looking to bridge the cultural gap is the arrangement between Irish firm William Fry and India’s largest law firm Amarchand Mangaldas & Suresh A Shroff & Co. The arrangement involves senior lawyers from both firms spending time on secondment to the other. With growing trade between Ireland and India, the swap works well in gaining valuable relationships and knowledge. Read the full story.
Clothing Brand Seek Swift Justice – and Ownership of Unlucky Number
A clothing brand is suing pop singer Taylor Swift, claiming that she has breached their intellectual property. Swift has something of an obsession with the number 13, usually considered unlucky, and she claims it is her lucky number. This has upset California firm Lucky 13, who have been around since 1991 (2 years after Swift was born). The resulting publicity for the clothing firm may make them feel a little happier though! Read the full story.
Beastie Boys Sue Monster
With hits like No Sleep Till Brooklyn, you’d expect The Beastie Boys to be a fan of energy drinks. However one brand has landed itself in court after using the Beastie’s music without permission. In claiming US$2 million, Adam Horowitz told the New York court that their music is never licensed for commercials. Energy drink brand Monster insists it was an innocent mistake, and that it believed that permission had been granted. Read the full story.