Summary by Joseph Carr, Anthony Gold Solicitors
Court of Appeal
Arden, Jackson, Fulford LJJ
2 July 2014
The Judge at first instance had erred in identifying the correct starting point for limitation in a claim where the Claimant had developed hearing problems during the course of his employment.
The claimant was employed by the defendant from 1977 to 2004 where he was exposed to excessive noise for up to 8 hours a day. The claimant visited his GP in October 2000 in relation to hearing difficulties and in January 2001 he was seen by an ENT surgeon who provided him with a hearing aid. His employment ended in 2004. The defendant company went into liquidation on 29 February 2008 and the insurers were notified of the claim on 13 March 2009. Proceedings were issued January 2011.
It was accepted by the claimant that date of knowledge was end of January 2001. However, the trial Judge held that the claimant had suffered damage throughout the employment until 2004 and therefore found that limitation for the entire claim expired in 2007. She then considered whether it would be equitable to allow the claim to proceed, having regard to the expiry of the primary limitation period. The Judge concluded that prejudice to the defendant ceased in 2009 when notification was provided to the insurers and found that this delay from 2007 to 2009 had not materially compromised the defendant’s ability to defend the claim. She therefore exercised her discretion under s33 of the Limitation Act 1980 and disapplied limitation in favour of the claimant against which the defendant appealed.
Article continued ...
Article continues below...