The claimant had leant money on a property fraudulently overvalued by an employee of the now insolvent first defendant. A contribution order had been agreed by the solicitors. The court heard applications by the claimants and the solicitors against the insolvent company.
Held: Given the nature and size of the fraud, it was inevitable and proper that the claimant would expend serious resources both to investigate this matter and in review of its procedures. Publicity about the case also led to a loss of confidence in the claimant and its need for rescue and merger, and substantial associated financial losses. The defendant solicitors had failed to note and report the indicia of fraud and were negligent, but the different basis of claim left them at risk of a wider liability than the principal in seeking a contribution. The Court should examine the nature and extent of the defendants’ common liability when determining whether two defendants are liable for the same damage, and ‘It seems to me neither just nor equitable that the amount of contribution which Cobbetts are to be ordered to make should be assessed by treating the damage for which both defendants are responsible as the totality of the claimant’s loss, ignoring contributory negligence, when the only reason for ignoring it is that the claim against DHL is in deceit. To do so would be to visit on Cobbetts the approach taken by the Court, partly for reasons of deterrence, against fraudsters, when Cobbetts are innocent of any fraud.’
Christopher Clarke J
 EWHC 254 (Comm)
Civil Liability (Contribution) Act 1978 1
England and Wales
Cited – R+V Versicherung Ag v Risk Insurance and Reinsurance Solutions Sa and others ComC 29-Jan-2007
A company may be able to claim for the wasted time spent by its staff investigating the matter at issue without having to show additional expenditure or loss of revenue or profit. . .
Cited – Fitzgerald v Lane HL 14-Jul-1988
The plaintiff crossed road at a pelican crossing. The lights were against him but one car had stopped. As he passed that car he was struck by another in the second lane and again by a car coming the other way. The judge had held the three equally . .
Cited – Royal Brompton Hospital National Health Service Trust v Hammond and others HL 25-Apr-2002
The claimants sought damages against the defendants for their late delivery of a building. The contractors sought to share the damages with the architects who had certified the delays, defeating their own claims.
Held: The Act sought to extend . .
Cited – Ball v Banner and Others; Neill Clark (A Firm) v Healey and Baker (A Firm) ChD 23-Mar-2000
A valuer had described expected values for an property proposed as an investment promoted by a co-defendant. The valuation and prediction as to how long it might take to have it let had contributed to the representations leading to the investments . .
Cited – Platform Home Loans Ltd v Oyston Shipways Ltd and others HL 18-Feb-1999
The plaintiffs had lent about 1 million pounds on the security of property negligently valued at 1.5 million pounds. The property was sold for much less than that and the plaintiffs suffered a loss of 680,000 pounds. The judge found that the . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Torts – Other, Insolvency, Damages
Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.293981