Presentation on theme: "Tortious duties of care and third party rights John Redmond."— Presentation transcript:
Tortious duties of care and third party rights John Redmond
osborneclarke.com 1 Tortious duties of care and third party rights Why do we worry about third party rights? Collateral warranties/ Rights of Third Parties Act Concurrent duties in contract and tort Complex structures
osborneclarke.com 2 Once upon a time not a very long time ago The broadening scope of tort claims in the 1970s Dutton v Bognor Regis UDC  3 BLR 11 Anns v Merton LBC  AC 728 Junior Books v The Veitchi Co Ltd  1 AC 520
osborneclarke.com 3 Back to orthodoxy – the invention of the collateral warranty D&F Estates v Church Commissioners  AC 177 Murphy v Brentwood District Council  1AC398
osborneclarke.com 4 Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 A person who is not a party to a contract can enforce a term of that contract where: the contract expressly provides that he may; or the contract "purports to confer a benefit on him" The third party can be identified by name or by class or description. He need not be in existence when the contract is entered into (eg all future tenants)
osborneclarke.com 5 Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 Are collateral warranties dead? If not, why not? Step in rights Copyright The comfort of a piece of paper Schedules of Third Party Rights
osborneclarke.com 6 Collateral warranties in practice Linklaters Business Services v Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd, How Engineering Services Ltd, Southern Insulation (Medway) Ltd and others EWHC 2931 (TCC)
osborneclarke.com 7 Linklaters v McAlpine Linklaters Business Services Sir Robert McAlpine How Engineering Services DS Property Developments Southern Insulation Main Contract Sub Contract Sub Sub Contract Lease Collateral Warranties
osborneclarke.com 8 Linklaters Business Services v Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd Chilled water pipework installed by How Insulation by Southern Practical completion September 1996 Leaks found in June 2006 Caused by defective insulation, allowing damp air to condense on the pipes, causing corrosion. Linklaters replaced all the pipework
osborneclarke.com 9 Linklaters Business Services v Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd Linklaters sued McAlpine & How under the warranties McAlpine sued How How sued Southern in tort (duty owed to How) and for contribution (duty owed to Linklaters) – contract claim time barred
osborneclarke.com 10 Linklaters Business Services v Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd Did Southern owe a duty in tort to How? Yes – concurrent with contractual duty But not in breach – not negligent Did Southern owe a duty in tort to Linklaters? Linklaters had sufficient interest because of obligation to keep in repair But there is no cause of action in respect of "the thing itself"
osborneclarke.com 11 Linklaters Business Services v Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd Complex Structures Structural steel contractor might be liable for damage caused to floor or walls (Murphy) But is paint manufacturer liable to car owner for damage caused by rust? Where is the dividing line?
osborneclarke.com 12 Economic Loss in the Washington Supreme Court Affiliated FM Insurance Company v LTK Consulting Services No Fire on the Seattle monorail due to negligent wiring by LTK Seattle Monorail Services lost $3million in maintenance costs (of the damaged train) and lost business - all "economic loss". Judge Mary Fairhurst: "LTK, by undertaking engineering services, assumed a duty of reasonable care. As we have defined it, with respect to risks of physical damage to the monorail. SMS enjoyed legally protected interests in the monorail, and LTK's duty encompassed those interests"
osborneclarke.com 13 Washington Supreme Court (2) Eastwood v Horse Harbor Foundation No Lessee of Double KK Farm, Poulsbo cited for unlawful burning of waste and improper management of horse manure. Judge Mary Fairhurst: "An injury is remediable in tort if it traces back to the breach of a tort duty arising independently of the terms of the contract……We hold the duty to not cause waste is an obligation that arises independently of the terms or a lease….."
osborneclarke.com 14 Concurrent claims in contract and tort Robinson v PE Jones (Contractors) Ltd  EWCA Civ 9 Contract December 1991, completion April 1992 Problems found in September 2004 – defective flues Proceedings issued December 2006 Claim for breach of contract and also for negligence Contract claim time barred
osborneclarke.com 15 Robinson v PE Jones (Contractors) Ltd Judge Davies, Manchester TCC If there is a contractual duty to take reasonable care, there was probably a similar duty in tort, unless contract term to the contrary. Jackson LJ, Court of Appeal Unless there is an assumption of responsibility there is no co-extensive duty of care. Contractual duties are negotiated and consensual. Tort duties are a matter of policy
osborneclarke.com 16 Robinson v PE Jones (Contractors) Ltd Professional people are likely to have assumed a duty to avoid economic loss They "give advice, prepare reports, draw up accounts, produce plans and so forth" A builder is not a professional person and will owe the duty of care not to cause physical damage or damage to property. A builder will not have assumed responsibility for economic loss unless there are special circumstances
osborneclarke.com 17 Robinson v PE Jones (Contractors) Ltd So – there will be a concurrent duty of care, but not necessarily a coextensive duty But what about specialist subcontractors? design-build contractors? complex structures?