Restaurant owners sue landlords over forced closure due to flooding

Rogano has been hit by flooding on three different occasions between December 9, 2020 and January 10, 2021.

Owners of Glasgow restaurant Rogano sue landlords over forced closure due to flooding Google Maps

The owners of a restaurant frequented by A-list celebrities have won a bid to have a compensation claim against their landlords heard in Scotland’s highest civil court.

The company responsible for the Rogano eatery in Glasgow City Centre instructed a top team of lawyers to go to the Court of Session.

Forthwell Ltd’s directors decided to take legal action over the circumstances surrounding the Rogano’s closure in late 2020.

The restaurant was favoured by celebs like Rod Stewart, Jude Law, Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Elizabeth Taylor and Harvey Keitel but hasn’t been open since the pandemic.

It raised proceedings against the firm who act as the Rogano’s landord – Pontegadea UK Ltd.

Forthwell’s lawyers argued that “substantial damage” was caused to the business due to flooding on three different occasions between December 9, 2020 and January 10, 2021.

They argued that the damage was caused by an “insured risk” and that Pontegadea breached its obligation to maintain the Rogano and allow it to trade.

Lawyers for Forthwell want a judge at the Court of Session to order Pontegadea to provide repairs at the premises to allow it to re-open.

They told judge Lord Braid that if they can’t obtain such an order, the firm would require damages of £789,000.

Lawyers for Pontegadea wanted the court to strike out Forthwell’s bid to recover £789,000. They told Lord Braid that it couldn’t seek damages in this respect as an insurance policy for the premises was in place.

They argued that this meant Forthwell couldn’t sue.

In a written judgment published by the court on Thursday, Lord Braid allowed the matter to proceed.

He concluded that the law permits Forthwell to come to court.

Lord Braid wrote: “The issue does not turn on insurance law, nor circuity of action based on rights of subrogation, but, more straightforwardly, turns on what the parties intended, which is a matter of construction of the lease.

“While it may well be that where the parties are joint insured, they will invariably be found to have intended to preclude…a claim by either of them for breach of the term of the contract which caused the loss, that need not inexorably follow and in any event does not preclude other terms of the contract from being enforced.

“I will find the pursuer entitled to a proof before answer on those averments, notwithstanding the reservations just expressed.”

The Rogano, which is located in Glasgow’s Royal Exchange Square, was opened in the 1930s.

Its art deco interior was inspired by the Queen Mary, the famous cross Atlantic cruise ship.

The restaurant became known as one of the most exclusive places in Glasgow to eat.

It was featured in an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown where he shared oysters and lobster thermidor with comedian Janey Godley.

Kylie Minogue is said to have ordered mussels when she visited the Rogano, and her starstruck waiter was so nervous he could only carry one starter at a time out of fear of dropping the plates.

Keira Knightley enjoyed eating at the Rogano so much that she visited every night for two weeks to eat their scrambled eggs and smoked salmon while filming in Glasgow.

Former Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson would always order the same meal when he ate there: grilled lemon sole with spinach and new potatoes.

In the judgement published on Thursday, Lord Braid describes the restaurant as being a “well-known Glasgow eating establishment.”

He said the restaurant was operated by Lynnet Leisure a “wholly owned subsidiary” of Forthwell.

The case will be heard in the Court of Session sometime in the near future.

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