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In The Style founder wins multimillion pound High Court case

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A judge has ruled in favour of Adam Frisby, the founder of In The Style in a £125m claim at Manchester High Court.

Frisby was falsely accused by Paul Clements of stealing his idea to form the online fashion brand in 2013.

Clements launched the claim in 2021, stating that he had both conceived and developed the business and had also come up with the In The Style name.

He also said that he had been introduced to Frisby and employed him at £200 per week to “test and activate” his alleged business plan.

In total he stated that he’d invested £10k on Frisby plus the acquisition of cheap fashion wear and the creation of a website.

Frisby argued that this itself was “fraudulent and dishonest claim based upon a false narrative that Mr Clements knows to be untrue.”

He stated that he’d “met Mr Clements only once” to ask if he would consider investing £10,000 in their venture, but he was not interested.

The judge, His Honour Judge Cawson KC stated:

“I remind myself that, ultimately, the burden is on Mr Clements to prove his case, and having duly weighed the witness evidence, the documentary evidence, and the inferences that I consider it appropriate to draw from the evidence, I have come to the firm view that the narrative advanced by Mr Frisby is the true narrative, and that the narrative advanced by Mr Clements is a false one.”

In dismissing the case, the judge said:

“I consider that the delay by Mr Clements in asserting a claim for some seven years until December 2020 is telling, as is the fact that the claim was only asserted after the floatation of the Company had been ventilated in the press.

“Although Mr Clements denies that he was aware of the potential floatation at the time that the 2020 LBA was sent, and although the 2020 LBA makes no reference to the potential floatation, I consider it likely that that formed the motivation for asserting a claim at that time.”

Clements asserted that Frisby should account to him for what was realised upon the flotation on the AIM market and he put that figure at £125m.

The judge concluded:

“Consequently, I find that the idea behind In The Style and its’ business concerning collaboration with celebrities involved in reality TV in the marketing, through a website and social media, of fast fashion to younger end women, was that of Mr Frisby and Mrs Devine [née Ward, a friend of Frisby], and that Mr Clements played no part therein. Further, I find that the only meeting between Mr Frisby and Mr Clements was the one meeting at the Crown and Anchor at which Mr Clements was sounded out as a potential investor, but which did not lead any further than that.

“In the circumstances, I consider that the basis for Mr Clements’ claim based upon the imparting of confidential information, and the engagement of Mr Frisby under a relationship giving rise to fiduciary duties as between Mr Frisby and Mr Clements must fail.

“[…] On this basis, I conclude by finding that the claim as advanced by Mr Clements should be dismissed.”

Frisby was represented by TLT, who spoke after the ruling:

“I am delighted with the judgment and this victory for Adam. His is a real success story; having started the business of In The Style in his bedroom and then working tirelessly to develop and grow it such that the business floated in 2021,” said Julien Luke, Partner at TLT.

“The judgment vindicates Adam and his stance that he would not be intimidated into making payment in the face of this false claim. I am proud to have led the TLT team in order to achieve this fantastic result for our client.”

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