Alex MacPhail, a motivational speaker who was ordered to pay his neighbours, Tom and Helen Gueterbock £237,000 in damages and to fund £12,000 worth of work, after his neighbours sued him when a cellar room “trespassed” 18 inches over their shared boundary, has lost a further case.
Mr MacPhail then sued the developers of the house, Henderson Court Ltd (“HCL”), and their insurer, Allianz Insurance Plc, in respect of his losses. He argued that HCL acted with a “high level of recklessness. ”
Mr MacPhail succeeded in his claim against HCL, making it liable for his losses, but Judge Parfitt, sitting at Central London County Court, rejected the claim that the insurer should pay his damages. An appeal followed in the High Court, where the ruling was upheld.
Mr MacPhail’s representative had argued the judge had misapplied the law in deciding whether or not what happened was an “accident” and so covered under HCL’s insurance policy. However, the High Court said a claim against the insurers cannot be made because the choice to build so close to the neighbours’ house was “not an accident.”
The decision means HCL remains liable to Mr MacPhail, but that its insurer, Allianz, does not have to pay up under the policy.
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