Fosse Motor Engineers Ltd and others v Conde Nast and National Magazine Distributors Ltd and Another: TCC 20 Aug 2008

The claimant said that the defendant’s employees had negligently started a fire which burned down the claimant’s warehouse. There was limited evidence to establish the cause.
Held: The claim failed. The scientific evidence did not point to any particular conclusion, but on balance the judge considered that the fire was not caused by a burning cigarette discarded by an employee of the defendant, and ‘ Unlike Sherlock Holmes, in those cases in which there is an ‘either or’ pair of causes, I am drawn to the conclusion that, whilst the cause of the fire was not attributable to the Agency workers, it is not possible on the balance of probabilities to determine that the fire was caused by either of the two remaining feasible causes. The outcome or explanation is anything but ‘elementary’. However, I am in no doubt that Fosse has failed to prove its case on a balance of probabilities.’
Akenhead J
[2008] EWHC 2037 (TCC)
England and Wales
CitedRhesa Shipping Co SA v Edmonds (The Popi M) HL 16-May-1985
The Popi M sank in calm seas and fair weather as a result of a large and sudden entry of water into her engine room through her shell plating. The vessel’s owners claimed against her hull and machinery underwriters, contending that the loss was . .
CitedIde v ATB Sales Ltd and Another CA 28-Apr-2008
Each appellant challenged how the judge had decided between alternative proofs of causation of the respective loss. In Ide, the claimant asserted a fault in a cycle handlebar, and in Lexus, the claimant asserted that it caught fire whilst . .
CitedDatec Electronics Holdings Ltd and others v United Parcels Services Ltd HL 16-May-2007
The defendants had taken on the delivery of a quantity of the claimant’s computers. The equipment reached one depot, but then was lost or stolen. The parties disputed whether the Convention rules applied. UPS said that the claimant had agreed that . .
CitedLa Compania Martiartu v Royal Exchange Assurance Corporation CA 1923
The court found, on limited evidence, that the ship in respect of which her owners had claimed for a total loss of perils by sea, had in fact been scuttled with the connivance of those owners.
Scrutton LJ said: ‘This view renders it . .
CitedKiani v Land Rover Ltd Others CA 28-Jun-2006
Mr Kiani went to work at the Land Rover plant; his dead body was found in a tank in the area in which he worked. He had died of asphyxia. His personal representative sued on the basis that Mr. Kiani had accidentally fallen into the tank; Land Rover . .
CitedGravil v Carroll and Another CA 18-Jun-2008
The claimant was injured by an unlawful punch thrown by the first defendant when they played rugby. He sought damages also against the defendant’s club, and now appealed from a finding that they were not vicariously liable. The defendant player’s . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 10 February 2021; Ref: scu.272799