Possible reasons for dishonest behaviour were put forward last week in the case to award damages to several plaintiffs in a countersuit against Sagicor General Insurance Ltd.
The case concerns the reconstruction contract for Windsor Village after Hurricane Ivan.
Those listed in the writ against the insurer are John and Robert Hurlstone, Hurlstone Ltd, Alastair Paterson, Bould Patterson Ltd, Crawford Adjusters (Cayman) Ltd. and Hurlstone General Contractors.
In previous comments made by the Hurlstones, they questioned why a reputable insurer – Cayman General Insurance at the time, then a subsidiary of Cayman National Corporation – would allege fraud and conspiracy against the defendants, maintain that position for three years and then abandon it right before trial.
However, during his witness testimony, Robert Hurlstone gave an impassioned speech from the stand outlining what he felt motivated the company’s management to make the allegations and file a lawsuit.
He detailed how Cayman General Insurance Senior Vice President Danny Scott opened a cabinet-making company called Kitchen and Bath in the days following Frank Delessio’s hiring at Cayman General and the subsequent discontinuation of work on the site by the Hurlstones and quantity surveyor Alistair Paterson.
Mr. Hurlstone said Kitchen and Bath received the contract to replace the Windsor Village cabinetry after his and his brother’s companies were locked off the site.
He also said he had knowledge of other post-Hurricane Ivan reconstruction contracts in relation to cabinetry being awarded to Mr. Scott’s company, which he co-owns with his stepson Mathew Adam.
In addition, Mr. Hurlstone said he was aware of huge inflations of pricing with relation to cabinet work done by Kitchen and Bath at Windsor Village and he questioned the integrity of both Mr. Scott and Mr. Delessio.
‘I think it would have been to Mr. Scott’s credit to get back two million dollars from us. They probably figured they’re wealthy guys. They can pay it,’ he said.
According to Mr. Hurlstone, Mr. Scott stood to benefit professionally and financially from the undertaking.
He said he had always considered Mr. Scott a friend, since 1984, when he was ‘transplanted’ here from Jamaica.
John Hurlstone also testified in the proceedings and echoed his brother’s sentiments.
In addition, he told the court of lost business opportunities, explaining that these types of proceedings and the stigma that they carry are not conducive to business.
He said that after Hurricane Ivan was ‘boom time’ in the construction industry, but after they had finished existing post-storm work, there was a huge drop in new business. He attributed this to the proceedings.
Though money has been awarded already in the case, a further damage award is expected.
Proceedings have now adjourned and are expected to resume on 18 August, with more witness testimony to be heard.