The Plaintiff’s original claim for damages against its insurance brokers arose following a fire which occurred in 1992 as a result of which a very substantial amount of stock owned by the Plaintiffs parent Company was destroyed. The Plaintiff Company, an Irish subsidiary of a large European manufacturing company, had a standard insurance policy which had been arranged through the Plaintiff Company’s brokers. The insurers declined indemnity, on the grounds that the policy did not extend cover to the Plaintiff parent Company, for stock losses suffered by the parent company, occurring following a fire on the subsidiary’s premises.
The Plaintiff Company instructed a firm of solicitors to act on their behalf and proceedings were belatedly instituted against the brokers almost 6 years following the date of the fire, shortly before the claim would have become statute barred. No expert Opinion was sought by the Plaintiff Company’s Solicitors in relation to the brokers potential liability, despite the fact that there is well settled authority for the proposition that solicitors and counsel should not be involved in the institution of proceedings for professional negligence without first obtaining expert advice which indicates that there is a substantial cause of action. There were significant delays in the progress of the Plaintiff Company’s claim (due to inaction on the part of the original firm of solicitors) and critically in 2004, some 6 years following the institution of the proceedings, the principal of the Defendant brokerage died. Ultimately in June 2006 the Defendants brought a Motion to dismiss the Plaintiff Company’s claim for want of prosecution on the grounds of inordinate and inexcusable delay leading to irretrievable prejudice to the defendants i.e. the death of principal of the brokerage. Ultimately Ms. Justice Dunne dismissed the claim for want of prosecution in June 2008 and an award of costs was made against the Plaintiff Company.
The Plaintiff Company recently contacted Augustus Cullen Law after their claim had been dismissed and we immediately investigated a claim against the Plaintiff Company’s former solicitors for damages as a result of their negligence in relation to their delay in prosecuting the original claim against the broker. Augustus Cullen Law, adopted an innovative approach to a solicitors negligence action by applying to have the proceedings entered in the Commercial List and fast tracked pursuant to Order 53A Rule 1(A) (ix) of the Rules of the Superior Courts and then immediately entering into mediation. Thus by adopting these two tactics the case was successfully settled ,with several hundred thousand euro of an award and costs, only some three months following the initiation of proceedings.
Should you have any queries regarding matters of a similar nature please contact Mr. Gus Cullen, Partner
06 September 2010