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7KBW success in US$10 million loan dispute

23rd Dec 2020

Aegean Baltic Bank SA v Renzlor Shipping Ltd [2020] EWHC 2851 (Comm)

Peter MacDonald Eggers QC and Henry Moore have secured a judgment worth c. US$10 million in a loan finance dispute in which they acted for the Claimant, Aegean Baltic Bank S.A. (“the Bank”).

The dispute concerned the Defendants’ allegations that the Bank as mortgagee had breached duties owed at law and/or in equity as assignee of rights under insurance policies. The allegations centred on the Defendants’ argument that the Bank had acted unreasonably in settling an insurance claim against Italian underwriters on a partial loss basis rather than a constructive total loss basis.

Adrian Beltrami QC, sitting as a High Court Judge, rejected all allegations of breach of duty. He described the Defendants’ argument as “unrealistic” and concluded that there had been “no failure in the Bank’s approach to date and no breach of any equitable duty, if engaged” (at [101] and [104]). On that basis, he entered judgment against all Defendants in full (at [134]).

The judgment contains a useful analysis of the approach to be adopted where a party is debarred from relying on witness evidence and/or has failed to provide disclosure (at [28]-[34]).

In addition, the judgment considers the scope of duties owed by mortgagee banks in some detail (at [78]-[94]), and is likely to be of some assistance to practitioners drafting or advising on secured finance agreements.

Peter MacDonald Eggers QC and Henry Moore acted at trial together with the solicitors for the Bank, Dr George Panagopoulos and Waterson Hicks.

The 7KBW team also appeared successfully at pre-trial hearings in February and September, at which they obtained an unless order from Butcher J and resisted a joinder application made by third parties before Henshaw J.

To see the judgment in Aegean Baltic Bank SA v Renzlor Shipping Ltd [2020] EWHC 2851 (Comm), please click here.