The Leinemann Partner law firm is also well positioned to handle international projects. We were commissioned by the German group holding of a US-American conglomerate to assert claims in connection with industrial liability insurance. The mandate was of an international nature. An English group subsidiary of the client manufactured and delivered sorting machines for silicate sand for a customer from Saudi Arabia. The customer sued for compensation for a double-digit amount of euros in the Technology and Construction Court of the High Court of Justice of the United Kingdom on grounds of an alleged non-attainment of required performance values. As it turned out in the course of the legal dispute, although the machines were correctly specified and also able to meet the required performance values, incorrect sieves had been fitted. Though the defence against the legal action was successful, there remained a significant financial loss mainly due to the considerable costs of the defence which alone amounted to a mid-seven-figure amount. Our client made a claim on the company's liability insurance for this loss. The insurer refused to assume liability in principle.
Under extreme time pressure, we assessed the prospects of success for our client of legal action against the industrial insurance insurer and drew up a draft coverage claim and passed this on the insurer. It quickly became clear that a reference to a planning error in the specification of the machine would not have much chance of success. Although damages arising from planning errors were included in the insurance policy, this would not have come within the insurance period and, in addition, a decisive factor was that in the case of planning errors the insurance did not cover damages due to loss of production. We therefore abandoned the strategy pursued previously and on behalf of our client explained that there actually was a case for a claim on product liability (damages caused by defective products), whereby this single claim event lay within the insurance period.
Our draft claim opened the door to settlement discussions with the industrial insurance insurer which with regard to technical issues were carried out in English and with regard to the legal assessment were carried out in German. As a consequence, within a few weeks we were able to resolve the previous inflexible positions in the interests of our client with the result that the insurer made a reasonable payment and a legal dispute was avoided.
The Leinemann Partner law firm has extensive expertise in the area of German and international plant engineering and is frequently involved in legal disputes pertaining to the field of insurance. The Berlin office experts also offer insurance expertise with the lawyer Igor Zarva, LL.M., and Jasper Strehlow (lawyer for insurance law).