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Winning payout of £20.8m in director dispute achieved in record time

We are delighted with the outcome handed down in the case of Fewings v Poulter, with the order to compensate our client, Adrian and Sue Fewings, for their shares in Derbyshire Aggregates Ltd, the company Adrian helped to found in 1984, resulting in a payout of £20.8m.

The judge found that Martin Poulter, Chief Executive at Derbyshire Aggregates and co-founder with Fewings of the business in 1984, unfairly prejudiced Fewings’ rights as a shareholder when he pressured his partner to resign. When Fewings quit as a result, he was at a disadvantage in negotiating a fair price for the 45% stake he and his wife owned in the company.  As a result of the judgment, the Fewings are to be compensated for the full value of their shares, a payment of £20.8m.

The challenge for Ward Hadaway was even greater than normal, since the firm only took over the case 10 weeks before trial, with a vast amount of work, including all trial preparation, still to be done.

The case was conducted by Ward Hadaway’s commercial litigation team in Leeds, led by its partners Ian McCombie and Emma Digby.

Ian commented, “Whilst the courts cannot compensate our clients for the stress this case caused to them, we are delighted to achieve a successful outcome for the Fewings, particularly in these unusual circumstances where we were taking over the case in such short timescales.”

Emma added, “We want to add our thanks to our trial advocate, Lesley Anderson QC, for whom this is yet another impressive win.  This has been an extremely intense process, but the team here have all gone the extra mile and risen to the challenge, delivering the best result for our clients.”

Mr and Mrs Fewings are delighted with the outcome. “It’s been an extremely stressful period but we are pleased the trial is finally over and that we can move forward with our lives.”

Should you have any enquiries or be facing issues between directors and shareholders in your company please do contact our national specialists in this area.

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

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Ian McCombie

Partner | Commercial Litigation

+44 (0) 330 137 3316

+44 (0)7720 295 270

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Emma Digby

Partner | Commercial Litigation

+44 (0) 330 137 3308

+44 (0) 774 040 5743

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