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JimLawyer
JimLawyer, Solicitor
Category: Employment Law
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Experience:  Senior Associate Solicitor
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I am a freelancer with a LTD company and I did a freelance

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Hi there!I am a freelancer with a LTD company and I did a freelance contract at an agency at the end of last year. When we reconciled the project I worked on, there were overages that the client is refusing to pay, so the agency are threatening to sue me.
JA: Was this discussed with a manager or HR? Or with a lawyer?
Customer: Manager
JA: Does the workplace operate with employees, freelancers, consultants, contractors or with unionised employees?
Customer: Employees and freelancers
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I have indemnity insurance and public liability insurance
Customer: replied 16 days ago.
Posted by JustAnswer at customer's request) Hello. I would like to request the following Expert Service(s) from you: Live Phone Call.
Customer: replied 16 days ago.
Let me know if you need more information, or send me the service offer(s) so we can proceed.

Hello, this is Jim and I am a dual-qualified lawyer (UK & Republic of Ireland) happy to help you today.

Do you dispute their claims? And have you notified your insurers of the potential claim yet?

Customer: replied 16 days ago.
Hello Jim! Nice to meet you.

I do dispute their claim because there were issues regarding budgets at this agency from the moment I joined. Firstly, we are unable to cost accurately as the client sets the budget which we are told to keep within, we are then told by senior management to allocate 30% for agency fees which leaves x amount for production. When I have flagged that we’d need more budget or that the goalposts have moved since the original briefing, which has happened on the 3 shoots I worked on between September and December, I have regularly been told by senior management that we’re not able to ask for more budget in case we ruffle clients' feathers. Secondly, most agencies would never begin a project without a signed Scope of Work, whereas at Superimpose we were 2 days before a major shoot (the project in question) with no confirmation or proof we were going to be paid for the project at all. Thirdly, the project in question was confirmed so last minute that I was receiving actual costs for crew (photog, director, hair & makeup etc.) the day before I left for the shoot, so it was unlikely that the estimate shared 1-2 weeks prior to the shoot was accurate as the crew we were booking for the shoot kept changing.

I was having to go above and beyond the usual ‘Producer’ role, I had no manager and was also having to act as account handler due to a weakness in this area within the team. At any other agency, an account handler’s responsibility is to manage the client and flag overages. I admit that I was so busy producing the shoot that I wasn’t tracking finances effectively and therefore not flagging overages as and when they came in while I was on the shoot; I had no-one to share my workload with, no account handler or senior management support, and so it was neglected. It's also worth mentioning that I am booked and paid as a 'Producer', not a 'Senior Producer' or 'Exec Producer' - putting this level of pressure and responsibility on a mid-weight freelancer is an operational error.

I also worked an illegal amount of hours to deliver the shoot in question, which naturally affected my ability to do a good job. I worked for 12 days in a row with no breaks; I worked for 19hrs the day before the shoot (until 5am) and was back on-set at 7am managing the shoot. I worked 70hrs between Monday 9th Dec - Sunday 15th Dec and then went straight into 5 days of post-production on Monday 16th Dec.

I did try to notify my insurer but they said that without an official claim they can't advise on wether I am covered or what the process would be if I am to get sued.
Customer: replied 16 days ago.
Sorry for the essay!!

Thank you - it sounds like you have a valid defence. How much are they pursuing you for (it wasn't clear from the question).

It looks like you clicked the call request button - apologies I can’t take a call at the moment but other experts are free to contact you. If no one calls you then you will not be charged for it - an "authorisation" has been made for payment, that's all. However, the call request is open to all experts - if you want to cancel the call then please send an email to [email protected]. I can continue with the question online if that suits?

Customer: replied 16 days ago.
Somewhere between £50-70k. I have professional indemnity insurance up to £1mil.

Thanks, I would think that it's a condition of your policy to notify the insurer of any potential claims - I therefore recommend you check the terms - the last thing you want is to deal with the claim yourself (to defend it) only for your insurer to refuse to accept the claim and leaving you at risk.

If you do receive any court documents, you can pass them to your insurer to deal with (they will have their panel solicitor respond to the court proceedings with a defence). You could do the defence yourself but a claim of that size, the defence needs to be drafted properly and comply with the Civil Procedure Rules

Customer: replied 16 days ago.
That sounds sensible! I will speak to the insurer again tomorrow
Customer: replied 16 days ago.
Thanks that's very helpful

So in essence you would need to wait for the claim to arrive, then send to your insurer. The court would send you a response pack (an acknowledgment of service) - that buys you time to file a defence. I've attached a copy of a response pack so you can see what it looks like - the court sends you this.

So if they do pursue you, the court will send you the claim form/particulars of claim - and that response pack.

You should tick the boxes to say you want to defend the claim in full.

Then send to your insurer - ring your insurer once they have received the documents - ask them if they will deal with the matter from that point (they should do so).

If they say no for whatever reason, come back here and I can help you with content for a defence.

You can of course come back here whenever you need - I generally reply to questions and follow ups very quickly including at weekends.

I hope this helps? If you would kindly leave me a 5 star rating (at the top of your screen), any follow up questions are welcomed and I will be credited for helping you today.

Many thanks,

Jim

JimLawyer and 3 other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 16 days ago.
Thank you Jim! Appreciate it. I will leave a review. I'll be in touch again if I need some more help!

Sophia