One of the country's "most successful" litigators has settled her lawsuit against a QC and another former business partner who set up a new firm without her.
The stoush between Helen Rice and two former colleagues from leaky building specialist Heaney & Co was due to begin yesterday, with three QCs appearing for the trio of litigants in what could have been an expensive two weeks in court.
But the parties cut a deal and finalised a settlement yesterday afternoon.
Justice Ed Wylie, who was to hear the case, thanked the three QCs for their work on the matter.
"It's something which should be settled," he said.
Rice, who describes herself as "one of New Zealand's most successful mediation and litigation lawyers" accused Queen's Counsel David Heaney and lawyer Susan Thodey of breaching duties they owed her.
All three were partners at Heaney & Co, which reportedly took in more than $30 million in fees when defending the Auckland region's councils in leaky building disputes. Rice had worked at the firm for more than a decade when Heaney allegedly terminated the partnership in May 2013.
Rice alleges that he then made contact with clients of the firm telling them she would no longer be a partner of it.
A new partnership was formed the following month by Heaney and Thodey called Heaney & Partners.
It was based in the same offices as the old firm, employed the same staff and had mostly the same clients.
Rice claims that as a partner of Heaney & Co she enjoyed certain rights and that Heaney and Thodey breached their duties to her by approaching clients and staff and taking control of the firm's assets.
She said the new firm was in all material aspects the same as the old, just without her. She also claimed to have suffered loss while Heaney and Thodey have enjoyed a similar income to previously.
Rice, who has since established her own firm, launched action against them in the High Court but the parties cut a deal just as the proceedings were due to be heard.