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Izabel LLC v Ishmael Contracting LLC [2018] DIFC SCT 015

Izabel LLC v Ishmael Contracting LLC [2018] DIFC SCT 015

April 4, 2018

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Claim No. SCT 015/2018 

THE DUBAI INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL CENTRE COURTS

 

In the name of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum,

Ruler of Dubai

 

IN THE SMALL CLAIMS TRIBUNAL OF DIFC COURTS

BEFORE SCT JUDGE NATASHA BAKIRCI

 

BETWEEN

IZABEL LLC

 Claimant

 

and

 

ISHMAEL CONTRACTING LLC

Defendant

 

Hearing: 21 March 2018

Judgment: 4 April 2018


JUDGMENT OF SCT JUDGE NATASHA BAKIRCI


UPON the Claim Form being filed on 10 January 2018;

AND UPON a Jurisdiction Hearing having been held before SCT Judge Nassir Al Nasser on 31 January 2018, and it being found that the DIFC Courts do have jurisdiction to hear and determine the claim;

AND UPON a Consultation having been held before SCT Judge Ayesha Bin Kalban on 26 February 2018, and the parties not reaching settlement;

AND UPON a Hearing being held before me, SCT Judge Natasha Bakirci on 21 March 2018, with the Claimant’s and the Defendant’s representative attending;

AND UPON the parties being given until 27 March 2018 to submit any additional supporting evidence;

AND UPON reviewing the documents and evidence submitted in the Court file;

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT:

1.The Defendant shall pay the Claimant the sum of AED 497,959.30.

2. The Defendant shall pay the Claimant’s court fee in the sum of AED 24,898.

 

Issued by:

Natasha Bakirci

SCT Judge

Date of issue: 4 April 2018

At: 10 am 

 

THE REASONS

The Parties

1.The Claimant is IzabelLLC, a company specialising in the sales and rental of Mobile Elevated Work Platforms (MEWPs) based in Abu Dhabi (herein “the Claimant”).

2. The Defendant is Ishmael Contracting LLC, a company of contractors based in Dubai.

The Claim

3. The Claimant claimed AED 497,959.30 from the Defendant in respect of unpaid invoices, as well as their court fee.

4. The Claimant asserted that it had supplied boom and scissor lifts to the Defendant in various sites in Dubai and remained unpaid for the period 30 September 2017 until 31 December 2017. They had worked with the Defendant since March 2017 but started encountering problems with payments in September 2017. In December 2017 the Claimant had decided to terminate all contracts with the Defendant due to non-payment.

5. The Claimant had tried to arrange payment with the Defendant on numerous occasions to no avail.

6. All invoices had been stamped by the Defendant at the plant hire department until October 2017 when the Defendant requested that they be sent to the respective sites. The Defendant had never challenged the legitimacy of these invoices.

The Defence

7. The Defendant had originally contested the jurisdiction of the DIFC Courts. However, SCT Judge Nassir Al Nasser found that the DIFC Courts did have jurisdiction based on the hire agreement which had been signed by both parties.

8. The Defendant subsequently asserted that the Claimant’s claim did not match their financial book.

The Hearing  

9. At the Hearing, the Defendant only accepted that AED 264,000 was owed to the Claimant. The Defendant challenged the validity of certain of the invoices claimed by the Claimant on the grounds that they were only signed at site but did not feature the company stamp.

10. The Defendant maintained that not all of the invoices claimed had been signed by an authorised person from the Defendant company. The Defendant’s representative denied knowledge of one of the signatories.

11. The Claimant queried why the Defendant had never challenged the invoices previously, despite some of them being dated as early as 31 October 2017. Moreover, the invoices clearly stated that the Defendant had seven days in which to contest the invoices, which they did not do.

12. I asked the Defendant’s representative whether they had ever raised this objection regarding the unstamped invoices before, he simply made reference to a statement to the DIFC Courts that the amount claimed did not match the Defendant’s financial book.

13. The Claimant further stressed that the signature on the stamped invoices from the DIFC site, matched the signature on the unstamped invoices. The Defendant’s representative replied that he was not in a position to comment.

14. The Defendant requested until close of business on Tuesday 27 March 2018 in order to submit evidence in support of its defence that certain of the invoices had been signed by an unauthorised signatory on the Defendant company’s behalf.

15. Despite my granting this additional time until 27 March 2018 for both parties to submit further evidence, no further submissions were received from the Defendant. The Claimant did send closing submissions to the SCT Registry on 27 March 2018.

Conclusion

16. Despite the Defendant having first articulated its objection as to the validity of certain of the invoices claimed by the Claimant on the grounds that they did not have a company stamp at the hearing held before me on 21 March 2018, I exceptionally granted them until 27 March 2018 to provide any post-hearing submissions in support of their defence. They failed to do so.

17. As clarified by the Claimant, thirty-five hire invoices were received by a Mr Irmina, DIFC site accountant for the Defendant company, out of which twenty were not stamped and 15 were stamped. However, his signature was the same on all the invoices. There was also significant email correspondence from Mr Irmina from the Defendant’s email server to show that he did in fact work for them. Nor was there any written agreement between the parties which required the Defendant’s company stamp in order for an invoice to be payable.

18. After having heard the parties’ arguments and examined the evidence in the case file, I have come to the conclusion that the Defendant has failed to substantiate its defence that certain of the invoices claimed by the Claimant are invalid or not payable.

19. It follows that the Defendant must pay the Claimant AED 497,959.30 for unpaid invoices from September to December 2017, as well as the Claimant’s court fee.

 

Issued by:

Natasha Bakirci

SCT Judge

Date of Issue: 4 April 2018

At: 10 am

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