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Tradebe Solvent Recycling Ltd v Coussens of Bexhill Ltd  EWHC 3786 (QB) is a recent example of the factual and hypothetical issues which can bedevil damages claims in the construction industry. John Denis-Smith sets out the position.
The Claimant (“SRM”) is one of Europe's largest solvent handling companies, specialising in the waste processing of chemicals used in the pharmaceutical and other industries. During a lifting operation being carried out by the Defendant at the Claimant’s premises in March 2010, the crane driver failed to extend the hydraulic feet from the mobile crane, causing the crane to topple over and to fall onto storage tanks and other equipment below.
Liability was admitted three months after the collapse. The Claimant sought damages for the cost of remedial works. Quantum remained in dispute.
At trial, recoverability turned on the issue of the Claimant’s intentions, applying classic legal principles:
Court: Queens Bench Division
Judge: Mrs Justice Andrews DBE
Date of judgment: 2 December 2013
John Denis-Smith is a barrister at 39 Essex Street specialising in commercial and construction work.
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