||All England Reporter
|| All ER (D) 262 (Feb)
|| EWCA Civ 130
||Court of Appeal, Civil Division
Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers CJ, May and Keene LJJ
||Colin Edelman QC (instructed by Barlow Lyde & Gilbert) for the claimant.
||Nicholas Dennys QC and Mark Chennells (instructed by Mills & Reeve) for the defendant.
||21 February 2007
Negligence - Duty to take care - Existence of duty - Architect designing drainage system for warehouse - Flood damaging stock in warehouse - Loss adjustors identifying defect in drainage system - Flood causing damage to stock on second occasion - Stock being owned by different occupier - Whether architect liable in respect of second flood.
Where the claimant's stock had been damaged by flooding, the architect was liable in negligence for a latent defect in the rainfall drainage system of the warehouse where the stock had been kept, even though the defect had been discovered after a previous flood but not disclosed to the previous occupier. There was no reason for the architect to expect that an inspection would be carried out that would reveal any error that it might make, and the claimant had neither known nor ought to have known of the flood, so that there was no reason why it should have carried out any investigation of the adequacy of the rainwater drainage system. If an architect who had the primary responsibility for producing a safe design produced a defective design, it was not obviously fair, just and reasonable that he should be absolved from any liability in tort in respect of its consequences on the ground that another professional could reasonably have been expected to discover his shortcoming. It was not obvious why a failure of a person, put at risk by a defective design, to take due care for his own safety or that of his property should break the chain of causation, rather than amount to contributory negligence.
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