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Law Bulletin - July 2005

Smoking case fails [Liability]

The claimant’s husband had died from lung cancer and she said that this was caused to a material extent by, from 1964 to 1992, smoking cigarettes manufactured by the defendants who were negligent in selling cigarettes, or in any event in selling them without appropriate warnings.

Public liability insurers liable for "accidental" mesothelioma from time of symptoms [Liability]

The local authority settled a mesothelioma claim and then claimed on its public liabilityinsurance against, first, M who insured when the tumour and illness first developed and, second, C who insured at the earlier period when the relevant fibres were inhaled.

Held: The inhalation of potentially harmful asbestos fibres was not "accidental bodily injur

Fall from ladder [Liability]

The claimant was a gardener / acting supervisor required to attend a local park to prune cherry trees. He had done this sort of work for 20 years. To do so the claimant was provided with a step ladder and chainsaw. The claimant was descending the ladder after pruning a tree when the ladder fell over causing the claimant to fall. The ladder fell over either as a result of a defect on the ladder (a missing rubber foot) and/or the windy weather conditions.

When beds collapse on holiday [Liability]

Mr Jones, a 53-year-old retired fireman, suffered injuries to his back as a result of an accident while on holiday in Costa Dorada, Spain. He was on holiday with his wife, his 17-year-old son and his daughter. Mr Jones arranged to share a room with his wife and son, and was assured that there would be three adult bed in the room when booking the holiday.

Resiling from admissions [Practice and Procedure]

In 2002, insurers wrote to the claimant’s solicitor: “We have now completed our preliminary investigations and can confirm we are prepared to concede primary liability, although we will be alleging a degree on contributory negligence. Your client was familiar with the correct procedure when closing the stable top door, and should have sought assistance. We would argue for a 25 per cent reduction in respect of contributory negligence.”

The role of a clinical case manager in litigation [Practice and Procedure]

This appeal to the Court of Appeal arose out of a Case Management Conference directed towards the assessment of damages.

Care costs [Damages]

The latest instalment of the struggle between defendants and local authorities was played out in the Court of Appeal recently in a case where Islington Borough Council appealed against a decision dismissing its action of negligence against a hospital trust on the basis that the trust did not owe a duty of care to the local authority.

Compensation bill [New Legislation]

Although Tony Blair has spoken out against the theory of a compensation culture, he has called for new laws to address the compensation culture myth and to replace it with a “common sense culture”.