In a High Court judgement that may mark the end or just another hiatus in court action between Multiplex and Cleveland Bridge (CBUK) over Wembley stadium, both parties were both criticised by the judge, Mr Justice Jackson, who said he had “never before seen parties so devoted to litigation for its own sake.”
The judge awarded Multiplex £6.15m compensation for overpayments, damages, breach of contract and interest, resulting from CBUK walking off site in August 2004. However, the company had initially sought damages of up to £25m.
CBUK was also ordered to pay 20% of Multiplex’s legal bill run up since a previous court case in 2006, which Construction News estimates at £1.75m from a £9m total.
After the court judgement of June 2006 declared that CBUK owed Multiplex compensation, the two parties made attempts to settle the dispute through adjudication. But a summary of the dispute in Buidling magazine says that the two companies “differed wildly” in their valuatios of how much money was owed.
Returning to the High Court, CBUK argued that Multiplex had benefitted by £2m after CBUK left the project, as it was able to re-tender steelwork packages to Hollandia at a lower price. The Darlington-based steelwork contractor argued that this “windfall profit” should be off-set against the money CBUK owed Multiplex.
But the judge rejected this argument as unsound, and ruled instead that Multiplex was entitled to additional damages for the cost of correcting CBUK’s unfinished work.
Now, it is thought likely that one or both parties will seek leave to appeal the latest judgement, a prospect that could see the dispute last well into 2009.