Judge finds Lloyd's agents negligent

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The Independent Online

Names on a loss-hit Lloyd's of London syndicate yesterday won a negligence case brought against their Lloyd's managing agents. But they failed in a claim against their members' agents, as the judge ruled the case was time-barred.

The names were on syndicate 334, managed by the Pulbrook agency. Mr Justice Potter found the managing agents negligent in handling emerging asbestosis liabilities in the early 1980s, ruling that they owed names a duty of care.

Even though the events happened more than12 years ago the judge ruled that the Latent Damages Act 1986 applies, allowing civil actions if the cause becomes apparent after the normal six-year time limit.

He ruled that the Act did not apply to the case involving the members' agents. Clive Francis, chairman of the Pulbrook names association, said an appeal was being considered against this decision.

Michael Payton, a solicitor for the managing agents' insurers said he thought the names could expect no more than £20m to £40m.

He said the time-bar ruling would set a precedent for forthcoming actions in which names are claiming damages for losses incurred in the early 1980s.