case studies

Case Studies

Recovery actions

We recently acted for a northern based food manufacturing company whose premises were destroyed by fire. The fire was accelerated by the presence of expanded polystyrene filled panels in the walls and ceilings of the factory, which the designers and project managers of the building had allowed to be incorporated into the construction, without fire precautions, at points where hot flues and other services passed through the panels.

Our client's insurers repudiated on the grounds of non disclosure of a number of facts.

Initially a claim was brought against our client's insurance brokers, who had been aware of the facts which had not been disclosed to insurers but had not disclosed them to insurers. However, this claim only resulted in a partial recovery since the brokers had insufficient assets to meet the multimillion pound claim in full.

We then acted for our client in its claim against its two insurers.

    We successfully negotiated a settlement with one of the insurers prior to trial. The other insurer refused to make any offer of settlement and our client's claim was heard in the High Court in London.

How we helped cover our client for the worst

Our client was therefore able to pursue his own recovery action for his residual losses of many millions of pounds. A claim in professional negligence was brought against the professionals who were responsible for the defective design of the building.

This claim proceeded in the Technology and Construction Court in London. The quantification of the claim amounted to over £10 million.

    After a 3 week trial, the judge decided that the professionals had been negligent in not warning the company adequately about the fire risks present in the building, but that the company would not have paid for fire precautions if they had been recommended.

Therefore although negligence had been proved our client still lost his claim and the judge made a costs order in favour of the professionals.

Our client wished to appeal the judge's decision on the basis that the necessary fire protection measures around the hot flues would have had a minimal cost and therefore the correct advice would have been followed if it had been given.

  • The need to obtain insurance policies in litigation. However strong a case may appear to be there are always significant risks. If at any stage of these proceedings our client had faced an adverse costs order without the benefit of legal expenses insurance he would have been unable to meet his liabilities and any further claim would have been impossible.
  • Our commitment and ability to support our clients and enable them to bring their claims to a satisfactory conclusion in the face of fierce resistance by defendants with virtually unlimited financial resources.

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