Funding Litigation with Legal Expenses Insurance
13 November 2002 • Lloyd’s
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Developments in Professional Indemnity Law
28 November 2002 • Lovells, London
A new product from AIG, tailored for independent directors or corporations who lose their normal D&O cover in the course of a lawsuit. But only available to those who meet “best practices” standards.
AIG has also..
Moody’s has raised its loss forecasts for Lloyd’s 2000 and 2001 years of account to £2.4bn and £2.6bn respectively, together more than £1.3bn higher than Lloyd’s own estimates. These mainly stem from 11 September losses...
A report published by the European Parliament criticises Lloyd’s for failure to regulate in accordance with EU insurance directives. “The question must arise whether [names] are entitled to compensation for loss suffered as a result..
Conveyancing continues to feature more frequently than any other single matter in indemnity claims against solicitors. Figures compiled by insurance brokers Alexander Forbes for 2000–2001 show that 42% of all professional indemnity (PI) notifications related..
An increasing number of New York firms that suffered losses from 11 September events are filing suits against insurers. Some are losing patience, others ensuring they do not fall foul of limitation. Many of these..
New York Judge Martin has ruled that under policies written by three insurers, Royal & SunAlliance’s Royal Indemnity unit, Hartford Fire and St Paul Fire & Marine, the destruction of the World Trade Center was..
A class action suit filed in California seeks individual reparations for direct descendants of slaves. This differing from other claims for reparation to be paid into various welfare funds.
Unspecified damages are sought from corporations including..
The International Commission of Holocaust Era Insurance Claims (ICHEIC) has struck a US$275mn deal with the German foundation consisting of representatives of government and insurance companies.
This will provide compensation for survivors seeking to recover lost..
Punitive award of US$28bn damages
to be appealed by Philip Morris. This by a Californian jury to 64-year-old Betty Bullock suffering from lung cancer. Starting smoking when she was 17 she claimed she became addicted..
The European Union is proposing a directive which would require member states to provide common minimum standards of public compensation for the victims of crime. This to exclude non-intentional crimes such as road accidents and..
The Irish government is to launch a new Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) before year-end. Aiming for a substantial cut in legal costs in personal injury cases, it will include all 67 recommendations of the..
A letter sent to trade unions and companies in high risk industries requesting help in completing an impact assessment shows some movement on the “corporate killing” front.
However, this appears to be watered down from legislation..
A survey of 100 corporate executives and merger and acquisition (M&A) practitioners, sponsored by law firm Herbert Smith, showed that litigation involving mergers and acquisitions is on the increase. 70% of respondents said they would..
A report by the Lord Chancellor’s Department, ongoing evaluation of the civil procedure rules (CPR), shows a drop in claims, a rise in early settlements, a shortening of time between issue and hearing but a..
Government sponsored research carried through by Professor John Baldwin of Birmingham University found that court hearings facilitated by the expanded “small claims” limit from £3,000 to £5,000 have been “absorbed without serious disruption in county..
While English v Clipson
will not go to appeal, the vexed questions raised of whether the Law Society’s TAG (The Accident Group) arrangements are enforceable under the Conditional Fee Agreements Regulations 2000 and whether solicitors..
This a new claims management company, set up by Colin Poole (senior partner in Shropshire-based law firm Poole & Co and one of the co-founders of Claims Direct). Axcess Legal will operate from hired space..
A study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety claims that the cost of car crashes rose by 50% between 1996 to 2000 to US$230.6bn.
This is itemised in relation to lifetime economic loss from 41,821..
A Rhode Island jury has awarded US$28mn to a woman seriously injured in car accident. But the damages will be paid by the leasing company that owned the vehicle, not the driver.
In some states including..
The Supreme Court of India has ruled that general insurance companies cannot challenge the level of compensation awarded by Motor Accident Claims Tribunals where the insured has not appealed. This decision, in National Insurance v..
French prosecutors have, in the last week, brought criminal charges against bar owners as part of action of drink driving. This part of new efforts to improve road behaviour, with alcohol believed implicated in at..
Research by the motor insurers’ facility at Thatcham has found that more than a quarter of new cars give drivers and passengers inadequate protection from whiplash injury in low-speed collisions. More than 250 models were..
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has called on motor insurers to review systems used by fleet operators for managing the occupational risk of road accidents before setting fleet premiums. Accidents while..
The deluge of revelations of financial shenanigans points to an equal potential for liability claims, against corporations and their officers, auditors and accounts, regulators and more. Some have already been launched, others may never see..
Credit Lyonnais has been ordered to pay £307,000 in compensation to a French couple who, while living on state benefits, engaged in a £19mn stock-market binge leaving them with debts of around £300,000.
A financial adviser..
Not from the watered-down proposals of legislation on corporate killing (see Legal Moves) but from the effects of the Competition, Data Protection and Proceeds of Crime Acts and the enterprise bill.
The according to a survey..
The troubled MyTravel Group, having revealed a £50mn hole in its current accounts which it attributes to “aggressive” accounting methods during the current year, faces further allegations. Former internal audit manager, Iain Stewart, claims to..
The UK financial regulator, the Financial Reporting Review Panel, is to increase budget and staff so as to seek out bad practice rather than merely responding to complaints, modelling itself closer to the US Securities..
In a reversal of the usual trend, shareholders in leisure group, 10 Group, face suits by the company over postings to an online chatroom of defamatory comments about the chairman, following a drop in share..
Up to 70,000 former policyholders who bailed out before the compromise deal of January 2002 may be eligible for compensation according to study on behalf of actuaries B&W Deloitte. As a result Equitable is reported..
A survey by Mercer Human Resource Consulting suggests that more than one in five of employees claim to have been bullied during the past year. Based on a sample of 3,500 employees, bullying was found..
Warning issued by employment law experts Thomas Eggar of the need to protect against sex and race discrimination charges linked to job interviews. “Employers assessing candidates should have a contemporaneous written record of why the..
The annual report of the Disability Rights Commission (DRC) shows a rise in funded legal cases up by 56% from 41 to 64. Two-thirds of these were employment-related and the rest covered access to goods..
From 1 October 2002, these regulations bring in new rights for workers on fixed term contracts. Specifically, they may not be treated less favourably than permanent employees, “unless there is a genuine objective justification for..
In the run-up to the threatened strikes by firemen a number of other Unions are voicing fears for their members’ safety if reliant only on army-manned services. While, to some extent, this is clearly part..
Rail Regulator Tom Winsor has appointed a team of independent engineers to monitor the rail network under its new owner, Network Rail. These include Halcrow Group and Mouchel Consulting, the latter to advise on the..
Shortly before its replacement by Network Rail, Railtrack has made known its plans to improve maintenance, through cutting the use of subcontractors and establishing higher minimum skills requirements. It includes plans to recruit 200 additional..
The European Agency for Safety & Health at Work has produced a tool to assist businesses to assess the entire impact of workplace accidents. A new software-based system, on line, An inventory of socio-economic costs..
Genuine and fraudulent slip and trip accidents cost around £700mn in the UK alone, according to Health & Safety Executive figures. To help build a comprehensive understanding of the factors contributing to such accidents the..
A survey of risk management practice and approach in medium-sized businesses in Europe, with a special section on the UK, has been published by Marsh. Findings include lack of formal risk policy in half the..
Three UK risk management associations have joined together to produce a new risk management standard. The Assn of Insurance & Risk Managers, the Assn of Local Authority Risk Managers and the Institute of Risk Management..
The Health & Safety (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2002 came into force on 17 September 2002, the purpose to make the regulations “more accessible to employees, who have important rights and obligations” thereunder. Amendments include:
A congressional committee has agreed to renew liability limits for accidents at nuclear power plants, originally set under the Price-Anderson Act of 1957, and continue the federal programme covering nuclear plants for a further 15..
A useful overview of this matter, increasingly likely to lead to claims of discrimination against air carriers, appeals in the latest issue of BLG Aviation News (tel 020 7247 2277).
Noting that the long-established position on..
And that is just at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. Introduced in February 2001, they have now been used successfully for seven heart attack victims.
Good news for those who benefit but, now that their use is..
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has put forward proposals for improved aircraft seat safety. New seats, to be installed over the next 14 years at an estimated cost of US$519mn, would give improved head protection,..
In an article appearing in New Scientist of 5 October 2002, aeronautical engineer at the University of Michigan, William Kauffman, argues the need to implement the 1996 recommendations of the US National Transportation Safety Board...
In a rare decision of a European court on the applicability of Article 25 of the Warsaw Convention, the Tribunale Civile of Milan ruled for payment of compensation without limitation by Article 22 in respect..
The European Commission has proposed new legislation to bring in compulsory minimum insurance requirements for all air carriers and operators within, in or out of, or over all EU territories.
This will require that all carriers..
Despite the distress of airports and airlines, claiming that they are unable to obtain sufficient, or affordable, third-party war and terrorism cover, the European Commission has remained intransigent that national governments should stop providing state-backed..
Where a seaman was injured aboard a barge, incapable of navigating open seas but routinely towed to different ports, he would be eligible for benefits under the Jones Act. This the decision of the 9th..
The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law has launched a global questionnaire on container transport insurance. This a step towards the creation of a UN convention on liability for multi-modal transportation.
Farmers Daniel and Colleen Martins have been awarded US$700,000 damages against Interstate Power Co. This in the Iowa Supreme Court on their 1989 allegation that the company’s power lines caused a decrease in their cows’..
Research by a team led by Warren Porter of University of Wisconsin-Madison on off-the-shelf weedkillers widely used by farmers and gardeners found that very low chemical levels disrupted animal reproductive systems. This through drinking water..
An article in the October issue of US publication Risk Management Magazine (www.remag.com) focuses on changes in exposure tests. A new approach comes from a joint study by the Environmental Protection Agency and Stanford University..
A study by the Soil Association, Seeds of Doubt, claims that genetically modified (GM) crops have been an “economic disaster” in the US, costing US$8bn in lost profits and higher subsidies since 1999. Farmers have..
Shortly before the final date of registration for free air sampling and cleanup less than 4,000 of an eligible 20,000 households in the WTC area had registered.
Separately, air quality monitoring by the Centre for Disease..
Construction companies involved in the excavation of the World Trade Center site are negotiating the formation of a federally funded captive insurer to handle liability claims which may arise.
They were unable to obtain insurance cover..
The Catholic church in the US, struggling to clear the ever-growing claims of sexual abuse by clergy, has met with additional problems from the Vatican. The latest settlement, for abuse of 16 plaintiffs by eight..
A Florida federal court has clarified the exclusion rules in directors and officers (D&O) insured v insured cases. Coverage is barred for suits filed against a company by any former director or officer, even where..
A group of 27 federal judges has proposed changes in the rules for US class actions so as to protect the interests of individual plaintiffs. Following 10 years of study, these are the most far-reaching..
The controversial law of 1999 which shielded businesses from some claims and punitive damages is back in Yo-yo mode. Several recent cases and trial judges have held its terms as unconstitutional, but now the Florida..
Over 7,000 unpaid asbestos victims have joined the legal challenge to the “unbundling” of South African mining group, Gencor, along with former employees involved in the asbestos operations of Gencor’s former subsidiary Gefco. A main..
The US Supreme Court rejection of every challenge put forward by the 259 defendant companies to a trial of around 10,000 consolidated claims was followed by a sudden spate of settlements.
Honeywell led on undisclosed terms,..
The Food Standards Agency has confirmed
that between 1980 and 1995 some 5,000 tonnes of beef slurry was used in cheap food (fed to school children and hospital patients and maybe baby food). The Spongiform..
Another of the useful and detailed overviews of this area, this time in the Netherlands, appears in the September 2002 issue of Lovells “European Product Liability Review”.
For a copy, contact Lovells on 020 7296 2000.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Association (NHTSA) has put forward firm proposals for the long-awaited tests to measure roll-over risk in new vehicles. These will involve light trucks as well as cars, driven by computers..
Judge Catherine Blake of the Federal District Court in Baltimore has thrown out the suit brought by Dr Christopher Newman against Motorola, alleging that he developed brain cancer from mobile phone use and seeking damages..
The European Journal of Cancer Prevention has recently published a study concluding that extensive use of earlier models of mobile phones could increase risk of brain cancer by 80%. Swedish scientists examined diagnoses of 1,617..
EU Directive 2001/18/EC came into force on 17 October, updating and strengthening existing processes for the control of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and replacing the earlier Directive. The new regulations require:
the carrying through of..
US Federal Judge Frederico Moreno has granted class action status to a suit filed by 700,000 doctors against leading health management organisations, alleging widespread abuses. These include Aetna, United Healthcare, CIGNA, Humana Health Plan Inc..
Dow Corning’s US$9.8mn breast implant settlement has been approved by US District Court Judge Denise Page Hood of Detroit.
The terms prevent the government from seeking additional compensation from bankrupt Dow Corning while remaining free to..
Transmission-related acute lung injury (TRALI) is seen as an under-recognised and preventable hazard, possibly accounting for 500 fatalities a year in the US, according to researchers (details in New Scientist 28 September 2002). The condition,..
Marketed in the late 1960s as a treatment for possible miscarriage, UCB Pharma’s “Distilbene” was subsequently found likely to cause abnormalities or cancer in the child exposed in utero
It was established that the plaintiff ’s..
The Wall Street Journal reports that the White House, in considering distribution of smallpox vaccine if a bioterror attack is suspected, is also considering the possible side effects thereof. Specifically, consideration of a compensation scheme..
A cargo-carrying ship mysteriously disappeared during the voyage and claim made for loss of that cargo. However, as no destination had been stated, under section 44 of the Marine Insurance Act of 1906 the risk..
A contract for a vessel to escort a badly damaged ship remained valid, and payment due, despite both parties having erroneously believed that the vessels were in close proximity.
Great Peace Shipping Ltd v Tsavliris Salvage..
Echoing questions of whether the clergy are “employees”, the Employment Appeal Tribunal accepted – while holding the situation to be “highly unsatisfactory” – argument that, holding office “during the pleasure of the registrar-general”, a registrar..
Staff employed by a local authority who were seconded, and later transferred, to a City Technical College, were to be treated as having retained continuity of employment.
Astley and others v Celtec Ltd • Court of..
In an equal pay dispute, comparison between the pay received by female workers with that received by males doing work of equal value, but employed by the women’s previous employer, was invalid.
Lawrence and Others v..
Joined appeals against the Rossiter decision of 2001 found that the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE) were not intended to create a new right to claim for constructive dismissal. The EAT went..
Use of an office computer to access hard-core pornography during working hours constituted gross misconduct. Dismissal was a reasonable response by the employer.
Allowing the employer’s appeal against a tribunal finding of wrongful dismissal, the appeals..
An employee claimed that he had suffered discrimination because of disability but the tribunal (and two subsequent appeal forums) found no disability. Therefore the Disability Rights Commission was not entitled to make representations at a..
Comments by an employment tribunal, referring to undue sensitivity or hypersensitivity, were best avoided. This in dismissing an appeal by the plaintiff against dismissal of a complaint of sexual discrimination. In delivering its decision a..
Held that a common law claim for damages for psychiatric injury, based on alleged breach of implied term of trust and confidence by an employer, was precluded by the House of Lords decision in Johnson..
Where a defendant argued that refusal of medical treatment amounted to failure to mitigate damage, the onus was on the defendant to prove the matter, not on the plaintiff to justify their refusal.
Geest plc v..
A woman who developed cancer, after misreporting of cervical smear analysis by a pathologist, appealed against refusal to grant her a retrial of claim for exemplary damages after new evidence emerged showing the pathologists gross..
In assessing the satisfactory quality of goods a court must consider whether a “reasonable person” would regard them as satisfactory within the circumstances of the individual buyer and transaction. Domestic boilers were at issue and,..
This the decision in favour of the Mirror Group’s appeal against damages awarded to a fashion model in respect of the publication of information about her attendance at a drug treatment centre.
Justified, in the circumstances,..
Where the partner in a law firm is successfully defended by members of that firm, these costs can be reclaimed. Further, where partnership deeds provide that partners will not be charged for such services except..
A county court ruled in favour of the claimant and awarded damages against the unsuccessful party of £1,800 with costs of £5,500. The solicitors, however, claimed over £20,000 from their successful client although at the..
Where costs awarded, on application of one party, against the other party and subsequent sealed court order provided this was the case, including “such costs to be assessed if not agreed” this means that all,..
An attempt to claim against insurance brokers, after litigation between the parties concerned was disposed of without criticism of the broker, failed. The broker successfully defended on grounds of estoppel and abuse of process.
Dismissing the claimant’s appeal against judicial decision that a claim for undiagnosed dyslexia was out of time, the court held that any decision to allow the claim to proceed should be taken with caution where..
Where a party applied for disclosure of documents by a non-party to proceedings, to decide whether or not they supported its case, the court should consider whether the documents “might well” fulfil that requirement. The..
In an action seeking damages for the destruction of an experimental crop of genetically modified maize, as it was unclear whether the value thereof was more or less than £5,000, the defendants were entitled to..
In assigning a property case to a competent corporate lawyer who, from his speciality was unaware of the time-critical nature of a break-option clause leading to a missed deadline, the assigning solicitors failed in their..
Where a company carried out administrative duties in respect of a pension scheme, managed by others, this did not equate with being “concerned with the administration” of the scheme. This distinction was such as to..
In a case dealing with damages for professional negligence, three issues were scrutinised by the Court of Appeal.
After discussions with the defendant’s agent the plaintiff took out a £500,000 loan with the intention of clearing..
Multiple cases of pension mis-selling by an insurer could constitute a single claim for purposes of professional indemnity cover. This in a preliminary ruling which would, if all cases of mis-selling proved to rise from..
Details of the various rates of interest applicable to differing heads of damage in personal injury awards appear in the Law Society Gazette of 17 October 2002. Supplied by Rodney Nelson-Jones of Field Fisher Waterhouse,..
A man claimed compensation for catching a cold from a doctor when he went to hospital for a pre-operation check-up, and due to the technicality of late response by the hospital trust was awarded £200...
Crushed by obese passenger in adjoining seat
a woman, still suffering the effects of her injuries, has achieved compensation of £13,000 plus £4,000 for medical treatment. Although she complained to cabin crew at the time,..
As a result of the A-level furore, 360,000 papers from 90,000 students have been reassessed and 10,000 papers upgraded. This has led to the upgrade of almost 2,000 A-level grades, affecting just over 1,000 students,..
An offer of £5,500 compensation for the confiscation of car and tobacco by customs officials from cross channel shopper Paul Nevin has been rejected. This and similar cases arise from continued zeal by customs and..
Judicial sympathy from Mr Justice Scott Baker, but no governmental ex gratia payment for 700 British citizens held in Japanese prisoner of war camps in the 1940s. The High Court ruling held that the “birth..
An unnamed Arab-American, removed from a United Airlines plane because other passengers said his presence made them feel uncomfortable, has won permission to sue the airline (in Los Angeles) for discrimination.
The first court action on “economy class syndrome” or deep vein thrombosis (DVT), brought by 33 plaintiffs against 21 airlines including BA and Virgin Atlantic, will be heard in the High Court in November. The..
A couple seek damages from Essex County Council alleging negligence in respect of lack of prior information on a child placed with them for adoption. It appears that he suffered from severe and violent behavioral..
Victims of the Potters Bar rail crash have commenced action against Railtrack and Jarvis, having rejected their compensation offer partly because it omitted facing the issue of liability. They are also planning to sue the..
Research by the Consumer Association (CA) suggests that the number of customers mis-sold endowment mortgages and possibly in line for compensation could be as high as 5mn. Of their sample, 61% had been told the..
Bored with sending, and receiving, seasonal diaries? Something noticeably different is the small book, An Introduction to Early English Law.
We see an earthy commonsense approach to the vicissitudes of life, many of which can easily..
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