Equipment failure and the collateral damage
Adrian Robbins who heads up the Dispute Resolution team, acted for the UK subsidiary of a large international company. Our client was involved in the design and installation of a key element of a multi-million pound manufacturing facility. In doing so, it purchased essential equipment from the UK supplier of a foreign manufacturer. Shortly after commissioning, that equipment failed, causing a major failure to part of our client’s system, with a drastic impact on the facility as a whole.
Our client instructed us after the remedial works had been carried out. We devised a strategy for the essential technical testing of the failed components, in the UK and abroad, carried out a detailed analysis of the test results and then advised on relevant UK and international legal issues, before commencing the legal proceedings in the UK.
In taking the case forward, we worked very closely with the client’s senior management team and its allocated project manager. This ensured that at all stages of the case our client was clear about the practical, and legal consequences, of each step which was taken in the case, was always abreast of developments and able to give key strategic instructions promptly when needed. This approach also assisted with our client’s internal reporting lines of communication, as there was always someone abreast of developments.
We recommended that attempts be made to settle the case by way of mediation prior to a potential four week trial in the High Court in London. We represented our client at the mediation, which was held in London. The mediation involved the three separate parties to the litigation, their management teams as well as legal and technical advisers (a total of 14 persons), together with the mediator.
After extensive negotiations, the case settled at that mediation to the benefit of our client.
We believe that the manner in which we advised and dealt with this case resulted in the very complex and technical issues being resolved more cost effectively without the necessity of a lengthy and inevitably costly trial.
Our approach to dealing with the case involved full participation by the senior management team of our client throughout. Senior management were at all times able to provide their input and assessment on key matters of fact, to understand the legal principles which governed critical stages of the case. They were also able to identify and assimilate any operational lessons which were learned about this project and its contract management procedures, so that they could be applied for the benefit of the client to future projects.