Benedetti v Sawiris

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Benedetti v Sawiris
Court Court of Appeal
Citation(s) [2010] EWCA Civ 1427
Court membership
Judge(s) sitting Arden LJ, Etherton LJ and Rimer LJ
Keywords
Enrichment

Benedetti v Sawiris [2010] EWCA Civ 1427 is an English unjust enrichment law case, concerning the method for coming to a quantum meruit.

Facts[edit]

Mr Benedetti helped Mr Naguib Sawiris, as well as his company Cylo Investments Ltd and his family trusts April and OS Holding, to acquire an Italian telecomms company called Wind Telecommunicazioni SpA. On 31 January 2004 they drafted an ‘Acquisition Agreement’, however it contemplated a different way of doing the takeover. Mr Benedetti entered a brokerage agreement (through a company of his) by which he was paid a 0.55%, eventually €67 million. But this was merely for the job of brokering the purchase of shares itself, rather than the more general work of organising the takeover. Another company 60% owned by Benedetti got a €3.4m payment for support and expenses. On the remaining work, he requested a fee in May 2005. Benedetti wished to receive between €200m and €300m. He was told by Mr Sawiris' agent that no such deal was ever contemplated, but he would be offered €75.1m. Mr Benedetti wrote back that he was surprised, and "that in our venture i was a partner not a shity middle man" [sic].[1] They had further meetings but nothing was agreed, and Mr Benedetti sued for a quantum meruit for a fair value of his services.

Judgment[edit]

High Court[edit]

Patten J in the High Court held[2] that Benedetti ought to receive €75.1 million on a quantum meruit, taking into account the rejected offer. The acquisition agreement was disregarded since it was abandoned, and Benedetti was ordered to pay costs on a standards basis, and interest was declined. Benedetti appealed asking the Acquisition Agreement to be taken into account, that the offer should not have been, and asking whether there should be a brokerage fee deduction, OS Holding’s liability, the costs and interest decisions.

Court of Appeal[edit]

The Court of Appeal reduced the award in the High Court to €14.52 million. Arden LJ gave the first judgment. Although prior agreements could be taken into account by a court to determine a quantum meruit, the "Acquisition Agreement" should not because the parties' themselves had disregarded it, and a different acquisition was contemplated by it. Benedetti's services were to be valued the day they were provided, at the market price. The brokerage fee he had received should be deducted, as the Judge had done.

Etherton LJ gave a concurring judgment.

Rimer LJ gave a judgment, concurring with Arden LJ.

Supreme Court[edit]

The Supreme Court heard an appeal by Benedetti against the Court of Appeal's decision on 26 February 2013.[3]

See also[edit]

  • English unjust enrichment law
  • Britton v. Turner, 6 N.H. 481 (1834) an employee who left work on a farm after six months, but had contracted to be paid $120 at the end of one year, was entitled to receive some payment ($95) even though the contract was not completed.

References[edit]

  1. ^ [2010] EWCA Civ 1427, [25]
  2. ^ [2009] EWHC 1330 (Ch)
  3. ^ Supreme Court case details