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Legal battle between NHT, YP Seaton and Associates heads to UK Privy Council

Published:Tuesday | May 13, 2014 | 9:32 AM

Barbara Gayle, Justice Coordinator

KINGSTON, Jamaica:

The multimillion-dollar legal dispute between the National Housing Trust (NHT) and housing developers, YP Seaton & Associates is headed for the United Kingdom Privy Council.

The Court of Appeal yesterday granted the NHT final leave to challenge a ruling that it pay YP Seaton $214 million with compound interest.

Last November, the appeals court set aside a Supreme Court ruling and handed down judgment in favour of YP Seaton.

The row between the parties began in 1997 when a housing development project in East Prospect, St Thomas, was closed.

Following discussions, the NHT claimed to have terminated the agreement by notice dated April 29, 1998, setting out the provisions of the agreement upon which it relied.

The matter went to arbitration and in July 2005, the arbitrator refused NHT's claim for interest and awarded $24 million to YP Seaton and Associates for profit and risk.

In December 2005, NHT paid the sum awarded but YP Seaton argued that interest should have been included and filed a claim in the Supreme Court seeking an order that interest be paid on the amount.

On January 22, 2007, the Supreme Court remitted the matter to the arbitrator to consider and arbitrate on the issue of interest.

On May 11, 2007 the arbitrator made an award to YP Seaton of just over $214 million, as compound interest for the period October 30, 1997 to January 2007.

However, the NHT disagreed with the award and took back the case to the Supreme Court.

After hearing legal arguments in chambers at the Supreme Court, a judge set aside the award of compound interest and remitted the matter to the arbitrator to reconsider the rate of simple interest to be applied.

YP Seaton and Associates appealed and last November the Court of Appeal restored the arbitrator's award for compound interest.


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