Disputed ownership doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game

Sometimes I still inwardly cringe at memories of my teenage years. There are far too many to mention but one memory is the posters I pulled out of magazines and blue-tacked to my bedroom wall. Most were of super permed late 80s pop stars, a few were of sporting heroes but I also remember a Ferrari Testarossa and an Aston Martin DB4.

The teenage me wouldn’t be surprised to learn that I never had a date with Vanessa Paradis, never played for Swansea City and that the grown up me drives something distinctly less exotic than an Italian super car. But the older me is lucky enough to be involved in the classic and super car world through my work.

In fact, I’ve just represented a client in a dispute which involved a Ferrari Testarossa, a DB4 and several other classic cars.

The crux of the dispute involved the co-ownership of a Lamborghini Miura which my client and a former business associate bought together with the aim of restoring and using although they later agreed to sell and split the sale proceeds. My client’s business had sourced several classic cars for the other party’s collection and commissions due in respect of several cars (including the Testarossa, DB4 and others) was to be part of the consideration for my client’s share.

During the restoration of the Miura the parties had fallen out and the other party took a very aggressive line claiming outright ownership, demanding immediate delivery and threatening an injunction and Court proceedings if my client refused. My client was concerned that if he delivered the car then he would be deprived of his share of the sale proceeds and lose his considerable investment.

My client was successfully shielded from the threats made by the other party. A fast and commercial outcome was required and the other party and his legal team were moved from their position to an agreement that the car be held in escrow at a specialist facility and to mediate rather than start Court proceedings.

The excellent Mark Jackson-Stops from In Place of Strife had been the mediator in a previous super car dispute which my firm is involved in and the parties in this dispute agreed to appoint him as mediator in this matter. At the mediation meeting a deal was reached recognising the interests of both parties in the car.

Pushing the other party and this dispute into a mediation at the earliest possible opportunity was the right course of action and led to the right outcome for all involved. It has meant that the dispute has been resolved for a fraction of the cost, time and effort than would have been the case if the other party had started court proceedings. Both parties have walked away with something and the car can now be placed on the market.

If you would like to know more about our classic and super car services then do please contact myself or Michael Feakes on 01633 603178.

John Watkins

Senior Associate