Weil Gotshal settles PE dispute

The law firm reportedly paid more than £3m to settle a professional negligence claim made by private equity firm Bancroft.

Vienna-headquartered private equity house Bancroft will receive at least £3 million (€3.78 million; $4.98 million) from Weil, Gotshal & Manges after the law firm settled a professional negligence claim, according to a Legal Business report.

The case was originally set to be heard before a UK commercial court in August but Weil agreed a confidential settlement of between £3 million to £5 million, the report said.

The claim stems from Bancroft’s acquisition of Slovakian ice cream company Frost in 2012. Bancroft acquired 94 percent of the company for £6.6 million but didn’t receive voting control after the takeover, which it wanted. Bancroft blames this on Weil failing to adequately translate and explain foreign law documents. This led Bancroft to file a £10 million claim against Weil and Slovakian lawyer Jozef Maly, who partnered with Weil on the deal.

Maly, and not his Slovakian law firm, was sued because Slovak law states that lawyers are sole practitioners and so firms have no liability for their actions. 

Bancroft never made a direct payment to Maly – his cost came out of the fee it paid to Weil – but the claims against him were also resolved in the settlement. The settlement also covered significant legal fees accrued by Bancroft in making the claim, according to the report.

Weil was unable to respond to request for comment by press time, while Bancroft declined to comment.