Cairns Vs MJ Quinn IT case

Law firm saves ex military businessman with brain injury from £1million lawsuit
Steven Cairns wins “David and Goliath” court battle despite being unable to walk following severe stroke and brain hemorrhage

Merseyside law firm, Brown Turner Ross has won a High Court Case for Liverpool businessman and ex parachute regiment soldier, Steven Cairns. The married father of three and grandfather, age 50, was accused of exaggerating his illness after suffering a catastrophic brain injury whilst being sued for £1million, with his legal team saving him from potential financial ruin. 

Mr Cairns owns IT Excellence Limited and ITXL Software Limited and was contracted to provide IT infrastructure services, which included software solutions, for use by the telecoms arm of MJ Quinn Integrated Services Limited (laterly Quinn Infrastructure Services Limited), from 2013 to 2016. They parted ways and a dispute arose over the ownership of licenses for software products developed by Mr Cairns’ team, along with development costs incurred. Mr Cairns was also accused of wilfully overcharging MJ Quinn, being dishonest, a conspirator and of fraud, and was being sued to the sum of £1million, which was later reduced to £741,831.48 at the start of the trial due to errors by the claimant in the initial stages of their claim.

In December 2019, His Honour Judge Pelling QC at The High Court of Justice in Manchester, gave judgement in favour of Mr Cairns, who was represented by Christopher Mason of Brown Turner Ross, at the same time as he was recovering from a stroke and brain hemorrhage. For the first time in three years he is now able to focus on his health and business, and has decided to speak out about the traumatic legal battle he fought, having to defend himself against accusations of exaggerating his illness, while trying to recover from a life threatening injury.

After the initial correspondence from MJ Quinn, Mr Cairns did not hear anything for approximately six months, when he suffered a hemorrhagic stroke due to a medullary cavernoma on the brain stem (a rupture of abnormal blood vessels found in the brain) – a life-changing brain injury that required major surgery, resulting in the loss of all motor skills, rendering Mr Cairns unable to walk or even crawl. A short time after, MJ Quinn, represented by Hill Dickinson moved to intensify legal proceedings by issuing a claim in the High Court. 

Brown Turner Ross requested a stay (halt in proceedings), to allow Mr Cairns time to recover from his catastrophic brain injury, which was refused following aggressive opposition by MJ Quinn and their lawyers. MJ Quinn argued that Mr Cairns was exaggerating his illness. His Honour Judge Davies, who heard the application and despite not granting the stay, was critical of the overly aggressive stance of MJ Quinn and their legal team in opposing the request, despite Mr Cairns’ medical condition. While undergoing rehabilitation and learning how to walk again, Mr Cairns had no choice but to instruct Brown Turner Ross to prepare for court, he had to gather evidence and information for the defence to be drafted, which often meant long days and nights focussing on the legal case, in turn impacting upon his recovery.

Mr Cairns’ recovery has shocked his medical team. He has rehabilitated himself back to almost full health, declined traditional physiotherapy, signed himself out of hospital after seven days and managed his own recovery and was able to gently walk after two weeks, despite being told by doctors that it would take two years. After eight weeks, Mr Cairns was able to climb. Steve credits this incredible bounce back to the knowledge and skills he attained during his 14 years serving in the military prior to owning IT Excellence UK, where he developed physical training protocols and trained in trauma care to the level of advanced trauma life support. Steve served in the parachute regiment for two years before undertaking selection for a different regiment, where he served in Afghanistan.

His Honour Judge Pelling QC,sitting as a judge of the High Court, passed judgement in favour of Mr Cairns, he also commented that he should be cautious before accepting evidence provided by a witness to support MJ Quinn’s claim and remarked that the evidence given by the firm’s finance director should not be accepted unless corroborated by evidence.

Steven Cairns, managing director of IT Excellence UK and ITXL Software Limited, said:

“I was very unwell after the stroke. Afterwards I couldn’t walk, after the surgery I couldn’t even crawl, but I had no choice but to fight – I was faced with the prospect of complete ruin, losing my business and my home. I really want to thank Christopher Mason and the team at Brown Turner Ross for supporting me through this nightmare and using their legal expertise to secure a judgement in my favour. They really went above and beyond on this one, dedicating so much time to my case.”

Speaking about the case, Christopher Mason, director at Brown Turner Ross, said:

“This was a highly pressured and complex case which became very personal and at moments, often feeling like a battle akin to David and Goliath. There was lots of historical evidence to collate, which would be a challenge for anyone, never mind someone who had just suffered a stroke and from brain surgery. We were told to expect the worse when Steve became unwell, he has astonished everyone with his recovery. His own will to live has pushed him through.”

During the case, Mr Cairns quickly realised that he could improve on the way that traditional legal cases are run. As there was a huge amount of evidence and documentation to evaluate, Mr Cairns developed software to mind map everything. The software saved a lot of hard work, cutting down on time spent on the case and as a result saved on legal fees.

Chris continued:

“Another amazing aspect of this case is that Steve developed software that organised every piece of evidence. The mind map removed large portions of complexity, saved time and money and improved the efficiency of the management of the case. All while recovering from a brain injury. I was completely in awe.

“I am beyond thrilled that the judgement went in favour of our client, Steven Cairns, a man who demonstrated an inspirational level of bravery and determination in the face of extreme adversity.”

Mr Cairns added:

“Invention is born out of necessity, I quickly realised that I could use my skills to make the task easier and was able to develop my mind map software. It really made a huge difference to the case.

“The good thing to come from this period in my life is that I am now working with people all over the world, helping them to recover from brain injuries. I have helped one gentleman to stand and sit in a chair again, after spending six years bedridden, after suffering a brain injury. I also work with the charity, Cavernoma Alliance UK.

“A highlight for me was being invited to America to attend and present at a seminar in New York with Gray Cook, one of the world’s leading experts on physiotherapy and movement, where I gained further certification in functional movement. For the last 20 years I have trained myself, trained others and taught them how to regain authentic movement. I hope to use my method of physical rehabilitation to help more people and work with the NHS.”