The Secret Insider's Guide to Insuring Your Car - click here to purchase our new book
The Secret Insider's Guide to Insuring Your Car - click here to purchase our new book

Dryden & Others -v- Johnson Matthey PLC [2018] UKSC 18)

The three claimants had worked in factories making catalytic converters. Platinum salts were used in the production process. The employer was  in breach of both common law and statute by failing to ensure that the factories were properly cleaned. As a result; the claimants were exposed to platinum salts, and in turn they developed platinum salt sensitisation.

They  were no longer permitted to work in areas where they might be further exposed and might  develop allergic symptoms.

As a result; two of the claimants had their employment terminated and the third had secured a different role at a greatly reduced rate of pay. 

They lost at first instance . They had  sustained no actionable personal injury and n truth their claim was for pure economic loss, for which they could not recover in tort.

The Court of Appeal agreed.

Negligence and breach of duty are not actionable alone- it was common ground that there must be some damage to constitute actionable injury. The two key cases were House of Lords cases of Cartledge v E Jopling & Sons Ltd (when is lung disease actionable)   and Rothwell v Chemical & Insulating Co Ltd. (pleural plaques are not an injury at comon law) There was agreement that if a platinum salt allergy had developed as opposed simply  to a sensitisation then there would be an actionable personal injury.

The Supreme Court judgment held that the pursuers’ bodily capacity for work had been impaired and they were  significantly worse off. They had suffered actionable bodily damage, which, given its impact on their lives was more that negligible.

It was important to focus on the actual physiological change and the significant employment  impact .

Act now — for a no-obligation chat call us on

0800 009 6953 or send us an email

You've nothing to lose and it will cost you nothing