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Wednesday, 11 April, 2001, 14:23 GMT 15:23 UK
Sir Elton may fight court ruling
Sir Elton
Sir Elton says an appeal is likely
Singer and songwriter Sir Elton John has said he is considering an appeal after losing a negligence claim over tour costs he claims he should not have paid.

Sir Elton, 53, had tried to sue Andrew Haydon, the former managing director of John Reid Enterprises (JREL) - his former management company - and City accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).


Obviously I am disappointed and I am considering with my lawyers the question of appeal

Sir Elton John
But the court found that Mr Haydon, 45, was not negligent in allowing JREL to charge the singer overseas tour expenses, including booking agents, accountants and producers.

Mr Justice Ferris said: "I have concluded that the agreement which Sir Elton reached with JREL regarding the costs for touring does not require that those costs should have been paid by JREL."

He concluded in his 138-page judgement that the costs should have been covered by one of Sir Elton's companies.

The singer now faces a legal costs bill of about 8m.

Sir Elton claimed he had agreed with JREL that it would pay the costs of his touring. In return, it would receive a commission of 20% gross of all the money he made as a performer and through his companies.

'Difficult'

The singer, who is on a tour in Atlanta with Billy Joel, said: "Obviously I am disappointed and I am considering with my lawyers the question of appeal - which seems likely.

"As everyone in business knows, it is notoriously difficult to succeed in a claim for negligence against professional advisers."


I don't think he will cut back on his flowers

Frank Presland, Sir Elton's manager
Sir Elton's solicitor and current manager, Frank Presland also said an appeal was likely, and added: "I don't think he will cut back on his flowers."

During the hearing Sir Elton's evidence was widely reported when it emerged that his spending on property and personal items - including 293,000 on flowers - once amounted to 40m over 20 months.

Mr Haydon's solicitor, Nik Rochez, said it was of particular importance to his client that the judge was "fully satisfied" Mr Haydon had acted honestly.

"Andrew Haydon is abroad but will be particularly pleased that the case was rejected on so many grounds and with such force - this is both just and a wonderful result," he said.

PricewaterhouseCoopers said: "We are delighted by the decision reached this morning by Mr Justice Ferris, wholly vindicating our position.

Elton John, Eminem at the 2001 Grammys
Sir Elton with rapper Eminem at the Grammys
"This was a case wholly without merit and resulted in misguided proceedings being brought."

Mr Justice Ferris's ruling follows a 43-day hearing which ended on 1 February.

'Integrity'

Sir Elton has already accepted $5m (3.4m) from John Reid, 51, his former partner and manager, in settlement of his claims against him.

Though Mr Reid was not a party to this action, the case centered on an agreement made between him and Sir Elton in 1984.

Mr Reid, who recently co-produced The Graduate in the West End, said after the case: "I feel that the question mark hanging over my integrity for the past three years has been removed - that was the most important thing to me in this case.

"It should never have come to trial. Nobody has come out of it very well - particularly Elton, and I feel sorry for him."

'Betrayal'

During the case, the court heard that from 1980 to 1998 Mr Reid's company, John Reid Enterprises, was paid 73.5m.

Elton John and David Furnish
Sir Elton with his partner David Furnish
Mr Reid, who was called to give evidence by PwC, said he would never have agreed to pay touring costs and claimed it was never raised during the 1984 meeting.

But he agreed with Gordon Pollock QC, counsel for Sir Elton, that the singer's advisors were not happy with the 20% gross arrangement and thought he was taking advantage of the performer.

The court heard that between 1980 and 1984 Mr Reid's gross income had been between 500,000 and 1m a year, but that it had "virtually doubled" in 1985 under the new arrangement.

Sir Elton accused Mr Reid of "betraying" him over these costs.

See also:

21 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Em'n'Elton take over the Grammys
11 Apr 01 | Showbiz
Sir Elton: What the judge said
16 Nov 00 | UK
How to spend 40m
30 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Sir Elton: Man of means
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