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Weekly Case Updates – Civil Litigation

Weekly case updates from our Civil Litigation team.

A Defendant rugby player has been found to be liable for injuries sustained by her opponent, the Claimant.

Dani Laura Chelsea Czernuszka (nee Watts) -and- Natasha Mercedes King [2023] EWHC 380 (KB)

 The Claimant brought a claim for damages in negligence against the Defendant, who carried out a rugby tackle which caused an injury. There is a general presumption that injuries are an accepted risk of the sport and do not sound in damages. However, such a claim for injuries can be actionable when the conduct of a player falls below the standard of care appropriate and to be expected in all the circumstances.

The Defendant, an amateur rugby player, was found to have been reckless and dangerous whilst playing a women’s league match to such an extent that her actions fell below an acceptable standard of fair play. The player’s actions were described as the very epitome of dangerous tackling. The Defendant had a duty of care towards the opposing player, and whilst it was not found that the Defendant had any intention to injure the Claimant, it was found that the “tackle” was executed with reckless disregard for the Claimant’s safety in a manner which was liable to cause injury. The Defendant ignored the clear and obvious risk to which she was subjecting the Claimant.

 When considering the test for negligence, the Judge considered the cases of Condon v Basi [1985] 1 WLR 866and Blake v Galloway [2004] 1 WLR 2844. It was submitted on behalf of the Claimant that the Defendant should be found liable if it were established that the defendant failed to exercise that degree of care which was appropriate in all the circumstances (Condon), and that it was not necessary to establish that the Defendant’s conduct amounted to recklessness or a very high degree of carelessness (Blake).

The Judge decided that there was not necessarily a conflict between the Condon test, and the decision and reasoning in Blake, but in any event found that the Defendant was reckless. By applying the test in Condon to the very unusual and exceptional context of the matter in question, the Defendant was found to be liable to the Claimant for the injuries which the Claimant sustained.

The full judgment can be accessed here.

Claimant ordered to pay the costs of Defendant after discontinuing against them.

Landlease Construction (Europe) Limited and (1) Aecom Limited (2) Aecom Holdings Ltd [2022] EWHC 2855 (TCC)

A Claimant pleaded a case premised upon a contract, however it was subsequently unable to find that contract. The Claimant was forced to discontinue as a result. It was ordered that it should pay the Second Defendant’s costs of the proceedings.

Prior to the discontinuance, the claimant applied for permission to amend its particulars of claim. The effect of the proposed amendments meant that the claim was discontinued against the second defendant. Previously, the claimant had asserted that there was a Parent Company Guarantee in force which would have tied in the Second Defendants to the action. However, no such contract was ever found.

The Claimant denied that the Second Defendant had incurred any specific costs by reason of the claim and the Claimant maintained that there should be no order for costs against it notwithstanding the effective discontinuance.

However, it was successfully argued by the Second Defendant, that the rules on discontinuance in CPR 38 plainly applied, and that the Claimant was liable for its costs, pursuant to CPR 38.6, up to the date of discontinuance.

The Judge did not require the service of a notice of discontinuance, but ruled that there was no reason to do anything other than apply CPR 38, and in particular CPR 38.6.

The full judgment can be accessed here.



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