Successful outcome to complex litigation undertaken in the Commercial Court of the Supreme Court of Victoria
'This was a complex commercial dispute relating to the sale of a print management business which took place over a two year period, requiring the input from a number of lawyers from our Corporate & Commercial and Commercial Litigation teams and other experts to unravel complicated facts and issues in a very compressed timeframe'
Leneen Forde, Partner, Commercial Litigation
Our client is a medium tier print inventory management business
based in Melbourne, Victoria. The business offers outsourcing
services, provides custom designed and manufactured print products
to businesses and also total inventory management, third party
logistics and warehousing and distributing services supported by
In 2008, our client purchased a print management inventory
business from a vendor.
Prior to purchasing the business our client conducted due
diligence and engaged experts to assist in the process. The due
diligence was delayed for a number of reasons and eventually
concluded in 2007. The sale occurred in 2008.
Two days before the contracts for the sale of the businesses
were to be executed, the vendor provided our client with some up to
date financial information regarding the business which was relied
upon by our client in entering the contracts. Further, about two
weeks before settlement of the sale of the business, the vendor
provided our client with further financial information about the
business which was relied upon in completing the sale
Our clients took possession of the business and ultimately
discovered that the financial performance of the business they had
purchased was different to what they had been led to believe.
Essentially, our clients claimed that the vendors had engaged in
conduct that was misleading and deceptive or likely to mislead and
deceive, and that this conduct induced them to enter into the
agreements to purchase the vendor's business and to complete the
sale transaction. The vendor claimed that our clients were required
to make further payments as a result of the purchase of the
The proceeding was litigated in the new Commercial Court of the
Supreme Court of Victoria.
Our client was subject to tight deadlines in preparing the
matter for trial. Expert witnesses were engaged, expert reports
were prepared and witness statements were drawn, filed and served.
In order to meet the deadline, our firm deployed considerable
resources to the project to ensure the matter was ready for trial
in March/April 2011.
This case was successfully resolved to the satisfaction of our
client 'literally' on the steps of the Supreme Court. The
trial had commenced, barristers had been briefed and the parties
had appeared before the court and were ready to proceed.
On the third day of the trial a mediation was arranged and
conducted and the parties were able to agree to settle the dispute
on confidential terms at the conclusion of that mediation.
Enhancing their success
The settlement of the litigation resulted in our client being
able to resolve the dispute quickly and to concentrate on building,
consolidating and growing their new business.
This dispute was unique because the parties participated in 4
mediations - the fourth one resulting in the parties agreeing to
settle the dispute.
Each mediation was beneficial because it assisted in moving the
parties towards settlement.
The case highlights that alternative dispute resolution is an
important tool in the litigation process and can assist in the
early resolution of a dispute.