Windsor Village trial begins

The court case to determine damages involving the Windsor Village post-Hurricane Ivan reconstruction project began Monday.

The trial for damages comes after a successful counterclaim lawsuit was won in December.

Contractor Hurlstone Ltd., as well as Alastair Paterson, Bould Paterson Ltd., Crawford Adjusters (Cayman) Ltd. and Hurlstone General Contractors are among those listed as plaintiffs in a case against Sagicor General Insurance (Cayman) Ltd.

In opening remarks, attorneys for John Hurlstone of Hurlstone Ltd. said their client had undergone much unnecessary tribulation over the past three years.

They said his bank accounts were frozen after a court-ordered Mareva injunction, which was the result of allegations of fraud brought on by a reputable insurer – Cayman General Insurance Ltd. – backed by Cayman National Corporation.

Mr. Hurlstone’s attorney also told the court how his client’s employees went to the Bank of Nova Scotia to collect wages, only to have it announced that their employer’s account/assets had been frozen. He said this caused a considerable amount of embarrassment for a business and person who has had a consistent record of integrity in business.

The original fraud allegations stemmed from a restoration project at Windsor Village after Hurricane Ivan severely damaged the condominium development in September 2004. In February, 2006, Cayman General Insurance filed a lawsuit claiming a conspiracy by the defendants in relation to amounts paid for the restoration work.

The case remained active until December 2008, when, after nearly three years, the plaintiffs abandoned their claim on the eve of trial.

A countersuit proceeded and was won by Hurlstone Ltd. and the other counterclaimants, and the case before the court now is to determine the full scope of the amount due to the plaintiffs.

$943,000 has already been awarded in the case. However more funds are expected to be awarded on the basis of indemnity up until the start of trial and ordinary costs thereafter.

According to attorneys involved in the case, costs are expected to amount to several million dollars.

In last December’s trial, Justice Alexander Henderson made an order of discovery to determine whether Cayman National Corporation had given an indemnity to Sagicor General Insurance with regard to the lawsuit.

Sagicor only bought shares in Cayman General Insurance after the events alleged in the original lawsuit took place. It eventually bought all of Cayman National Corporation’s 75 per cent interest in the insurer. The Cayman Islands Government also owns a little more than 24 per cent of Sagicor General as a result of a negotiated settlement it made with Cayman General Insurance with regard to its Hurricane Ivan claim on damages to government properties.

The punitive stage of this matter is expected to last for two weeks.