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A judgment of the English Court of Appeal which we called ‘bizarre’ and ‘peculiar’ has been predictably overturned by the UK Supreme Court. The Supreme Court found that the hospital run by the NHS Trust is liable to a patient with a head injury who had been given misinformation by the hospital receptionist that he would have to wait for four to five hours for a doctor, causing him to leave the hospital and go…
In August 2018, a US federal court ruled that an insurer did not have to cover a strip club for third party reimbursement costs arising from credit card fraud on its customers by the club’s employees because no direct loss was suffered by the club itself. The insured, a club owner, was the holder of a commercial crime policy which covered ‘loss of or damage to money, securities and other property resulting directly from theft…
A US appeals court in August 2018 found that an insurer does not have to indemnify its insured for damage to a warehouse by tenants who converted it into a marijuana growing operation, finding that an exclusion in the policy for losses resulting from criminal acts precluded cover. The claim arose under the building and personal property coverage section of a standard first-party commercial insurance contract in which the insurer agreed to pay for ‘direct…
Two US district courts in two separate cases held in July 2018 that the insurers of public bars do not have a duty to defend or indemnify the insured owners of the bars for violent deaths of patrons because of the policy exclusion for bodily injury arising from an assault, battery or physical altercation. The first case involved the death of a patron at a Philadelphia bar who was stabbed 11 times by a regular…
It is not only in South Africa that the cost of medical negligence lawsuits is draining the health service. There are calls in Britain for reform to help protect the National Health Service from pay-outs which hit GBP1.4 billion in the fiscal year ending March 2016 alone. The UK Centre for Policy Studies says that the per capita cost of medical claims in the UK is more than twice that in the US and is…
In a landmark judgment, the Constitutional Court has left the door open for the development of the common law to have future damages in personal injury claims paid periodically and by way of services. The Constitutional Court was faced with the question whether massive future medical expenses based on speculation can be paid by way of services rather than money and can be paid periodically rather than as a single amount at judgment stage.…
A UK court has found that an insurer is entitled to avoid a policy where the insured had misrepresented the state of repair of the insured property and failed to disclose malicious acts and vandalism which had the effect of increasing the risk of fire in the property. The insured, a mixed commercial and residential property owner, sought an indemnity under its property policy following a fire at the insured premises. Insurers avoided the policy…
In August 2017, the English Court of Appeal denied an appeal to a gynaecologist who was struck off the roll for practising without professional indemnity cover, which is compulsory in the UK. The doctor, who had a substantial private practice, was uninsured for a period of 5 years between 2007 and 2012. Until 2002, he had been insured by the Medical Defence Union but changed to the Medical Protection Society in 2002. He stopped paying…
The New South Wales Court of Appeal upheld the decision of a lower court, holding an insurer liable to indemnify its insured, a prison detention centre for failing to assess the risk of a chronic schizophrenic prison inmate. The inmate threw himself from a building and suffered serious brain and other physical injuries. The issue was the scope of the insuring clause in the policy covering the insured against civil liability for compensation and claimant’s…
In August 2017, a US federal court held that the indemnity for ‘activities’ on behalf of the insured under a liability policy of an insured and its members does not extend to cover arson or attempted suicide by two mentally ill patients who attempted to commit suicide by burning down their apartments owned and managed by Suburban Park Apartments. The fires, which were started in two separate incidents, could not be said to constitute ‘activities…