Leonard Cheshire Disability sued for more than £430,000

By Andy Ricketts, Third Sector Online, 19 January 2012

Scotland's Court of Session

Scotland's Court of Session

Technology company This-Tel takes action in Scotland's Court of Session

A small technology company is suing Leonard Cheshire Disability for more than £430,000 in the Court of Session, the supreme civil court in Scotland.

This-Tel, which is based in Dunblane, Perthshire, signed a three-year contract with the disability charity in November 2009 to provide digital pens, which enable data to be entered automatically into a database using special pens and paper.

The court summons, issued last week, says Leonard Cheshire Disability has refused to make payments of £284,800 for services and licences supplied to the charity. It demands a further £153,674 in costs relating to a three-month notice period that the summons says was written into the contract.

The charity has 21 days to respond. Interest is also contractually due on invoices at 3 per cent above the HSBC base lending rate from 30 days after the date of demand, the summons says.

This-Tel has six members of staff and an annual turnover of about £750,000. Leonard Cheshire Disability has more than 5,700 employees and had an income of £155m in 2010/11, according to figures on the Charity Commission website.

The summons says the contract had a clause enabling the charity to cancel the agreement after the initial six months by giving three months’ notice, but doing so within the first 24 months will incur a fixed penalty payment of the first year’s full agreed contract amount.

The charity gave notice that it was terminating the contract on 17 November 2011, exactly two years after it began, the summons says.

A spokeswoman for Leonard Cheshire Disability said: "The charity has just received the legal documents, so it is inappropriate to comment further at this time."

Steve Forsyth, managing director of This-Tel, said he was unable to comment on the action.

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