A pensioner accused of ‘attacking’ her daughter-in-law with a chair during a family feud over a £50m family caravan park empire has won her latest battle in the high court.
Michael Loveridge, his parents, are fighting to control a highly profitable, solvent, and cash-rich chain of caravan park chains and a motor home business that is based out of Bewdley in Worcestershire. It’s worth millions.
A bitter schism has grown between Michael, 51 – who says he has spent the last 20 years building the business from ‘modest’ beginnings – and his mother Ivy and 78-year-old father Alldey, who claim to have themselves been the driving force, setting up the empire when their son was just a toddler.
Michael attempted to have his mother, aged 76, imprisoned for violating high court injunctions that he claimed prevented him from interfering with family business.
Ivy denied any wrongdoing and he eventually dropped his bid to imprison her after the interim injunctions were overturned by the Appeal Court.
The latest development has seen the family row over who should pay for Ivy’s £23,000 legal fees, with Birmingham Crown Court Judge David Cooke previously making the order that she should cover her own costs of her son’s bid to jail her.
Because he stated that it was “likely” that Ivy contempt charges would have been proven had the committal bid not been dropped.
Michael had insisted his mother should pay, claiming amongst other things that there had been a ‘serious incident’ involving his wife Suehelen being ‘attacked’ and pushed out of an office by his mother using a chair.
However, today Mrs Justice Falk at the Court of Appeal decided that Ivy’s allegations were wrongly prejudged and she should pay her costs. Instead it should be her husband who gets the cash.
Michael Loveridge (right) has accused mother Ivy of attacking his wife Suehelen in an attempt to avoid having to pay legal fees Ivy incurred after she tried to get her imprisoned.
Ivy (pictured), and Alldey insist that they are behind the family’s caravan empire.
A court was told family’s caravan empire is worth a fortune with Michael Loveridge’s legal team claiming its value is up to £50m. Pictured: Riverside Caravan Park in Bewdley, Worcestershire
She said: ‘In my view, the judge fell into error in taking into account an assessment of the likelihood of any of the allegations being proved, in circumstances where Ivy had not filed evidence in response to the application and had not admitted any contempt of court. This was a principle error.
Although they may be civil, contempt proceedings can often be described as quasi criminal in nature. She stated that Ivy had the right to an assumption of innocence.
Michael’s parents also appealed against an interim injunction he obtained against them under the Companies Act to prevent them seeking to recall over £7m worth of loans made within the family business network.
Michael claimed that his parents caused him ‘unfair prejudice’ by making him a minority shareholder of some family businesses by trying to recall loans. This was a maneuver by his parents in order to have more control over his caravan empire.
Also, the injunction was overturned by Mrs Justice Falk. She stated that Michael did not suffer prejudice from his parents’ offer to purchase his shares in relevant companies at a fair value.
Judge said, “In conclusion I would allow Ivy and Alldey to appeal in the Company Proceedings, with the consequence that the petition has been struck out and the Injunction in relation to intercompany loans is removed,”
Lord Justice Nugee agreed to her conclusions as did Lord Justice Bean.
For a trial, the High Court will still be involved in the main battle for the control of the empire. The date has yet to set.