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Saturday 23 March 2019
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Judge throws out Udecott case against Hart

Calder Hart.
Calder Hart.

A high court judge has struck out a multi-million dollar claim against former Udecott chairman and three of the State company’s former directors.

In May 2012, Udecott filed the breach of fiduciary duty claim against Hart, Krishna Bahadoorsingh, Ricardo O’Brien and Neelanda Rampaul.

Hart and Bahadoorsingh filed an application to have the claim automatically struck out on the basis that Udecott did not apply to the judge hearing the case to have a case management hearing fixed after defences had been filed.

Justice David Harris’ ruling on Monday was in keeping with the guidelines set out in the National Gas Company’s claim against Super Industrial Services under rule 27.3 (4) of the Civil Proceedings Rules.

As a result of Harris’ ruling, Udecott’s claim against Hart and the others has been struck out.

He has, however, permitted the company to file an application for relief from sanctions to reinstate the matter. This must be done by February 21. He has also ordered Udecott to pay Hart and Bahadoorsingh’s costs, to be assessed.

In his written decision, Harris pointed out the application by Hart and Bahadoorsingh were filed on September 11 and October 16, 2017, approximately four years after the filing of the last defences.

He said according to the rules, with the last defence having been filed on May 15, 2013, the first case management hearing should have been fixed by May 29, of that year. With this not having been done, when rule 27.3 (4) was applied, the claim stood automatically struck out as at June, 13.

A satellite issue involving the $65 million claim was also listed for hearing in the Court of Appeal on Monday where Udecott appealed the striking out of several portions of the lawsuit against Hart and the others. It was adjourned pending Harris’ ruling, and will again come up on Monday.

Udecott’s claim sought to recover almost $65 million for alleged breaches of fiduciary duties in relation to the Brian Lara Cricket Academy.

Since it was filed in May 2012, the lawsuit has been hit with several delays, caused by two amendments to the initial claim as well as several procedural applications by both parties.

Conceived in 1999, the stadium, was expected to be completed at the cost of $500 million. A combination of multiple delays, costs overruns and increases in the price of building materials led to the final cost skyrocketing to almost twice its original estimate. The money Udecott is seeking to recover, represents the balance of advance payments made to the contractor for the project.

Udecott is represented by attorneys Darmendra Punwasee and Daryll Allahar. Attorney Annabelle Sooklal represented Hart, while Bahadoorsingh was represented by Colin Kangaloo and Anthony Bullock and Imran Ali represented O’Brien and Rampaul.

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