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Clare Horwood & Others v Land of Leather Limited (in Administration), Zurich Insurance PLC & Others [2010] EWHC 546 (Comm)

Land of Leather were retailers who were liable for severe rashes caused by imported sofas from China that had been treated with chemicals. General Condition 3 of the Policy stated that: “The Insured shall not, except at his own cost, take any steps to compromise or settle any claim…” Land of Leather entered in to agreement with Manufacturer stating: Land of Leather also confirm they will make no further claim on Linkwise in respect of alleged allergic reactions to their products…”  Held that insurers were not liable under the policy -

Cornish Glennroy Blair-Ford v CRS Adventures Ltd [2012] EWHC 2360 (QB)

Teacher left paralysed from the neck down after an accident whilst “welly-wanging” during a school trip to Dartmoor in April 2007. Held: Tort law should not stamp out socially desirable activities just because they carried some risk. A dynamic risk assessment was acceptable and had been carried out. Risk of serious injury needed to be foreseen – not just the risk of any injury. The standard of care was an objective test of reasonableness which should take into account the circumstances and characteristics of the persons at risk. There was no foreseeable real risk. This was a tragic and freak accident for which no blame could be established. -

McManus Seddon Runhams and Others v European Risk Insurance Company [2013] EWHC 18(Ch)

McManus Seddon took over work and goodwill of Runhams in June 2011. Runhams had taken over Sekhon Firth in October 2010. MS were the successor practice as far as insuring risk of claims against Sekhon Firth. In April 2011 three former members of SF were subject to proceedings before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. ERIC were insurers from 1st October 2011. Between Nov 2011 and May 2012 17 claims were made relating to SF work. A review OF 110 files was carried out by an independent regulatory consultancy which revealed a consistent pattern of breaches by SF. The Insured notified all 5000 files of SF work. Notification declined by insurers. The judge followed the decisions in Rothschild and Kidsons. The “blanket” notification could not be declined by the Insurer, although the insured did not obtain the declaratory relief they sought. -

Rubenstein v HSBC Bank plc [2012] EWCA Civ 1184

Rubenstein had sold his house and instructed the bank that he required an investment that would not risk his capital. The bank recommended AIG’s ERVF – the only product recommended. In 2008 financial market turmoil led to a fall in value. Held that a fall in the value of the investment was foreseeable - it was mentioned in the product literature. The advice given by HSBC had caused Rubenstein’s loss The fact that because of market forces the loss was larger than might have been foreseen did not matter SAAMCo did not apply – HSBC had recommended the investment not just given information -

Synergy Health (UK) Ltd v CGU Insurance (t/a Norwich Union) & Others (2010) EWHC 2583 (Comm)

Synergy was insured for material damage and business interruption for the years 2005/06, and renewed for the years 2006/07. Following an insurers’ risk assessment in 2005, Synergy confirmed by letter that work to install an intruder alarm would be completed by the end of December but it was not installed by the time of a fire in February 2007. Insurers sought to avoid the policy on the grounds of misrepresentation. The court concluded that in this case, the insured was well aware of the need to provide full disclosure of all material matters and not make any misrepresentation, and that the failure to install the alarm was caused by internal miscommunications at the insured – a comedy of errors. However, the insured were successful in their action against insurers as the insurers could not show inducement. The judge went on to deal with the claim against the brokers in the event that the claim was pursued in a higher court. He found that in the circumstances there was not an immutable requirement to give oral advice regarding the failure to warn regarding non-disclosure as this was too inflexible. Also, any such breach would not have been causative of the loss. and that with the rather than any breach of duty on the part of the broker. As such, each of the allegations of negligence against the broker failed. - [2010] EWHC 2583 (Comm)

The Estate of Cyril Biddick (deceased) v Mark Morcom [2014] EWCA Civ 182

Insulation work being carried out by claimant. Defendant assisted by undertaking to ensure a hatch did not open. He went to answer a phone and the claimant fell through the hatch. Held that defendant had assumed responsibility The defendant put himself in a degree of proximity to the claimant. It was foreseeable that if he neglected his task, the hatch might open and cause injury. It was fair and reasonable to impose a duty. -

General Liability Faculty

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