University of Notre Dame Wins Property Dispute Case in London

London – August 4, 2016 – Cooley advised the University of Notre Dame in England ('UND') in successfully resisting the challenge in the English courts of construction management firm ZVI Construction Co LLC ('ZVI') to the determination of an expert that it was liable to UND for defects in the renovation of student housing.

Following an expert determination, in which ZVI and TJAC were found liable for the defects, ZVI attempted to gain multiple declarations from the English Court in support of an injunction to prevent UND from taking steps to enforce any aspect of the liability finding against it on the basis that the expert had no jurisdiction to render such a determination.

The Cooley team successfully argued UND's case, which included the argument that having participated fully in the alternative dispute resolution process, ZVI was prevented from then disputing the expert's jurisdiction on the basis that it was displeased with the result.

The Judge, Mr. Stephen Furst QC sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge, stated that: "a contract containing a clause providing for disputes to be decided by an expert can… confer jurisdiction on such an expert where otherwise there would be none." The Judge held that an estoppel by convention was established, preventing ZVI from arguing that the prior and future expert determinations on the quantum were outside the jurisdiction of the expert.

"I am delighted that ZVI's challenge to its liability under the expert determination process has been rejected by the Court, and that our client can now look forward to being appropriately compensated in that process for the losses it has suffered on account of the defects to the renovations it contracted ZVI to carry out," said Laurence Harris, London-based Cooley litigation partner.

The Cooley team advising UND on the challenge in the UK courts included Harris, Henry Stewart and Harriet Swan, with Joanne Elieli assisting Harris in the expert determination.

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Press Coverage:

"Mass. Co. Can't Ax Liability Finding in Student Housing Row," Law360

"1st Circ. OKs Appeal Of Notre Dame Faulty Construction Award" Law360

"English Liability Determination Can Be Enforced, Court Told," Law360

"Court Backs English Liability Ruling Sought By Notre Dame," Law360

"Notre Dame Beats Subpoena in $9M London Building Dispute," Law360

"Notre Dame Seeks to Force Builders to Reveal $7M in Assets," Law360

"Builders Want Wall Around Assets in $7M Notre Dame Dispute," Law360

Related Contacts
Laurence Harris Partner London
Henry Stewart Partner London
Harriet Jones Associate London