Who's suing whom: Fight fans in training for court

A LONDON firm of solicitors says it is representing "a few hundred boxing fans" who were dissatisfied with the heavyweight championship match between Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield in New York recently, which resulted in a controversial draw.

Class Law Solicitors, led by Stephen Alexander, says about 8,000 people travelled from the United Kingdom and between them spent about pounds 20m on travel, accommodation and tickets for the fight. Many millions more paid to watch the fight on Sky television. Mr Alexander says he is bringing an action for either a conspiracy or gross negligence against the promoters, the holiday companies and the New York Boxing Board of Control.

Mr Alexander said: "We will probably take action in New York and it will probably be a few weeks before things get going. We are representing a couple of hundred travellers and some Sky viewers. We are working closely with our colleagues in a law firm in the US who have already made contact with the New York District Attorney's office which is investigating matters."

Mr Alexander said he anticipated that more people would join the group of claimants as they heard of it, and the greater the number of claimants, the greater the chance of success.

He said a number of Sky viewers had contacted the firm and a separate group had been set up for possible litigation. He said he had written to Sky Television asking whether they wished to support their viewers in the claim to be brought. He said that he had yet to receive a reply from Sky.

Many observers were astonished when Lennox Lewis was not given the victory in the fight on Saturday 13 March.

THE LAWYERS representing Elvis Presley Enterprises have a fortnight left to decide whether to launch a second appeal against a ruling by a High Court judge two years ago that the names Elvis, Elvis Presley, and his signature Elvis A Presley could not be registered as trademarks.

Two weeks ago the Court of Appeal unanimously turned down the appeal by the American company, which had sought to enforce a licence for the use of the name Elvis Presley on a former London barrow boy, Sid Shaw, who has an Elvis memorabilia shop in London's West End. Eversheds, the London firm representing Elvis Presley Enterprises, says it has yet to decide with its clients whether they will launch a petition to the law lords for leave to take the case further. The decision by the Court of Appeal supports the decision by the Trade Mark Registry to turn down an attempt by the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fund to register trademarks of her image.

AROUND HALF the 110 self-employed Liffe futures traders put out of business by the fall of Griffin, the Chicago-based futures broker, are pushing the liquidator of Griffin to seize pounds 2m held by a Dutch bank in Frankfurt.

Four firms of solicitors representing the traders meet this afternoon to discuss the way forward. The traders were hit when the Securities and Futures Authority (SFA) closed Griffin on 12 January when they discovered that one trader, John Ho Park, had run up pounds 6m of losses.

The traders claim funds held by MeesPierson, the Dutch bank in question, should have been held in separate "designated" accounts instead of being pooled with Mr Park's funds.

The court-appointed liquidator to Griffin, Finbar O'Connell, of Grant Thornton, said last week he would be paying out about half the money owed to the traders, or about pounds 1m. This represents assets left in Griffin. But solicitors for the traders are convinced their clients could get all their money back if the liquidator pursued an action against MeesPierson in Germany to seize money the bank has already frozen.

The solicitors representing the traders include Williamson & Horrocks, the City firm Cameron McKenna, Mishcon de Reya, and Foort Mercer. Foort Mercer is representing GLH Futures, the firm which employed Mr Park.

REFERRING TO the largely successful action by the Ministry of Sound against Lynn Cosgrave that this column covered last week, we referred to the allegation that she had destroyed computer documents. This claim was rejected by the judge and certain other claims against Ms Cosgrave were withdrawn.

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