Moneyweb strongly rejects several unfounded and damaging allegations made against it by personal injury lawyer Ronald Bobroff and his firm Ronald Bobroff and Partners (RBP).
The allegations were disseminated in a 24-page document emailed to an unknown database of legal professionals and other related stakeholders. See the document here.
The main allegation against Moneyweb is that reporter Tony Beamish and myself are waging a vendetta against the firm and that we conspire to publish false and malicious articles attacking RBP. This is devoid of any truth.
It is clear that RBP tries to use the document to divert the industry’s attention from the precarious position the firm finds itself in.
RBP has recently been on the receiving end of numerous adverse judgments in several courts, including the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) and the Constitutional Court. The rulings found that RBP’s common law contingency fee agreements are unlawful and that the firm grossly overcharged several vehicle accident victims it represented at the Road Accident Fund (RAF). Several judgments also suggest that Ronald and Darren Bobroff may be guilty of improper conduct. This could result in their names being struck from the roll of attorneys.
Despite this, RBP continues to try and justify its contingency fee agreements on the basis of a determination by The Law Society of the Northern Provinces (LSNP).
The LSNP also recently labelled Darren Bobroff “a disgrace to this society” during a disciplinary hearing for his defamatory postings on social media.
The RBP document is entitled: A shocking discovery and claims to reveal the real reason for Discovery’s vendetta against Ronald Bobroff and Ronald Bobroff & Partners Inc. exposed.
Apart from the claims against Moneyweb, the document also makes other defamatory allegations against financial services group Discovery.
Discovery has also strongly denied these claims, and has issued a summary of its claim policies to refute the allegations. This summary can be found here.
Moneyweb has published several articles detailing the rulings of the various courts.
Here are short summaries of the most notable judgments:
- In the case of Juanne De La Guerre, the Constitutional Court ruled that RBP’s common law contingency fee arrangement is illegal. The facts of the case show that RBP charged her R 1 073 000. The court has already ordered RBP to pay back R508 000.
- In the case of Anthony de Pontes, the South Gauteng High Court (SGHC) ordered RBP to refund de Pontes R2.1million. RBP charged him R 2 101 871, but has only been able to justify at most R400 905. RBP has already paid back R800 000. A request for leave to appeal was denied. In this case Judge Mayat found that RBP’s contingency fee agreement was indeed unlawful, but she also questioned whether the conduct of RBP director, Ronald Bobroff in the De Pontes matter did not amount to “unprofessional conduct”.
- In the case of Glen Vivian, RBP charged him R 1 254 000, but has so far only been able to justify costs of a maximum of R426 250. This means that the minimum amount he has been overcharged is R827 749. Vivian had immigrated to New Zealand whilst RBP was finalsing his claim. When he asked the court to compel RBP to furnish him with a full accounting, RBP asked the court that Vivian be regarded as a foreigner. This meant that Vivian would have to lodge security for costs in case his lost his case to recover the money that RBP had failed to pay him.
RBP continues to defend its fee structures
Despite these rulings RBP maintains that it acted within the ambit of a determination of the LSNP. This determination in it self seems questionable, as the society ignored legal opinions to the contrary by Gilbert Marcus SC and Wim Trengrove SC.
Maybe RBP should rather study the judgments made against it and proactively address the consequences of its illegal common law contingency fee agreements, than try to prove that every court in the country has erred in their judgments against the firm.
Surely the courts cannot be part of the vendetta.