(1) Daniel Greenway (2) Waynsworth Dryden (3) Dean White (4) Simon York (5) Tony Cipullo v Johnson Matthey Plc [2016] EWCA Civ 408

The Claimants appealed against a decision that their claims were claims for pure economic loss not personal injury. They were employed at the Defendant’s chemical factory, which produced chlorinated or halogenated platinum salts. Employees were required to undergo regular skin testing due to the risk of sensitisation (caused by exposure to the salts). The Claimants were found to have become sensitised and were removed from work involving contact with platinum. They claimed damages for loss of earnings in tort and contract. The Defendant accepted that it had failed in its relevant statutory health and safety duties. However, platinum sensitisation is symptomless and did not adversely affect the Claimant’s day-to-day life. As such, the judge held (inter alia) that they had not suffered any physical injury capable of giving rise to a cause of action in tort.

HELD: The judge had been right to find that the Claimants had not suffered an actionable injury (Cartledge v E Jopling & Sons Ltd [1962] 1 Q.B. 189 explained, Cartledge v E Jopling & Sons Ltd [1963] A.C. 758 and Grieves v FT Everard & Sons Ltd [2007] UKHL 39, [2008] 1 A.C. 281 applied). Cartledge involved pneumoconiosis, a condition which (though asymptomatic under ordinary circumstances) was characterised by scarring to the lung tissue. That scarring could have a significant impact on an individual’s life. Grieves concerned asbestos-induced pleural plaques, which were not harmful and did not constitute a physical change which would increase susceptibility to other diseases or reduce life expectancy. The judge below had been right to find that the reasoning in Grieves applied because platinum sensitisation was not harmful in itself in any relevant sense. It was not a “hidden impairment” (Cartledge) with the potential to cause detrimental physical effects affecting ordinary life.

May 15, 2016 В· Editorial Team В· Comments Closed
Posted in: Cases