Insurance Law

Insurance Law

The decision from Delta Pty Ltd v Mechanical and Construction Insurance Pty Ltd [2019] QCA 62 highlights the subtle yet important difference between liability for causing harm and liability for defective performance of a contract resulting in economic loss. Also highlighted is that issues surrounding the formulation of a settlement are complex and caution must be exercised when parties are considering a Settlement Deed. Finally, the case is a reminder that a prudent step for a principal contractor is to undertake thorough due diligence to ensure that any sub-contractors have appropriate insurance cover for the nature and scope of the project being embarked upon.

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Authors: Rebecca Stevens, Partner & Allison Bailey, Senior Associate

Blood is not always thicker than water as the recent decision of the District Court of New South Wales in Manmi v Manmi [2019] NSWDC 96 showed earlier this month.

The plaintiff sued his brother in negligence and breach of contract for injuries allegedly sustained when he slipped on a bath mat in the bathroom of the defendant’s house, fell backwards and struck his head and neck on the edge of the bath tub.

Read more: Brother v Brother: Case of the Red Bath Mat

Authors: Katherine Hayes & Elise Turnbull, Senior Associate

On 21 December 2018, in Neville’s Bus Service Pty Ltd v Pitcher Partners Consulting Pty Ltd1, Justice O’Callaghan of the Federal Court of Australia entered judgment for Neville’s Bus Service Pty Ltd (NBS) against Pitcher Partners2 (PP) for approximately $5.5 million for deceit in relation to a simple amortisation error. Significantly, the error was incorrectly included by PP in financial modelling figures it prepared to assist NBS submit a tender bid. On 21 February 2019, it was further ordered that PP pay NBS’s legal costs of the proceeding on an indemnity basis, fixed at just over $3.3 million.

Read more: Admit to obvious errors, or risk a finding of deceit with indemnity costs

A recent decision of the New South Wales District Court has highlighted the importance of solicitors maintaining file notes of discussions with their clients and any oral advice or instructions communicated during those conversations.

Read more: Solicitor’s contemporaneous file notes found determinative in professional negligence action

In the recent case of McLennan v Clapham & Ors [2019] ACTSC 1, the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory considers a claim alleging solicitor’s negligence in the context of a residential conveyance, and the approach the court will take in assessing the damages.

Read more: Supreme Court of the ACT provides a useful reminder of the steps a solicitor should take when...