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No duty of care owed in respect of fire damage

Building Law Monthly

No duty of care owed in respect of fire damage

In John Innes Foundation and Others v Vertiv Infrastructure Ltd (formerly Emerson Network Power Ltd) [2020] EWHC 19 (TCC) Mr Roger ter Haar QC, sitting as a Deputy Judge of the High Court, held that the defendant did not owe a duty of care to the claimants in relation to property damage and economic loss suffered by the claimants as a result of damage caused by a fire. In concluding that no duty of care was owed, the Deputy Judge attached importance to the fact that this was a case in which, in his judgment, the parties had so structured their contractual relationships that it could not be said that the defendant had assumed responsibility towards the claimants (and there was no direct contractual relationship between the parties). He also relied on the fact that the claimants’ case was that the defendant had failed to honour its contractual obligations to a management company and the law of negligence is generally reluctant to impose liability in respect of failures to act.

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