Patrick Bracher (ZA)

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Animals cannot commit vandalism and malicious mischief (US)

An insured sued under their Dwelling Policy for a substantial amount of damage that had been caused to their home by racoons which somehow entered the dwelling. They relied on the cover provided for ‘vandalism and malicious mischief’ which cannot be applied to animals, said the Pennsylvania court. Not surprisingly, the court found that ‘vandalism’ … Continue reading

Electronic signatures confirmed in UK

Everyone involved in agreements governed by English law will be pleased to hear that the UK Law Commission has confirmed that an electronic signature can be used to execute an English law document (including a deed) if: the person signing the document intends to authenticate the document; and any formalities relating to the execution of … Continue reading

Act of God defence fails

When Superstorm Sandy struck Staten Island off New York in October 2012, a dinner cruise boat docked in a marina sustained severe damage from the storm’s high winds and rain, ultimately sinking with a loss of $750 000. The operators of the marina were held liable to the insurer which had paid out more than $900 000 … Continue reading

Contracting with a trust

Where an agreement was purportedly entered into with a trust where one of two required trustees did not sign and in fact refused to do so, the agreement was void and there was no basis for an action compelling the sale to the trustee who did sign to buy the property. A signatory who warrants … Continue reading

Damages under insurance contract with reinstatement value conditions

Where an insurance policy included reinstatement value conditions and the insured had taken immediate steps to comply with the reinstatement conditions, the insured could rely on the clause as long as the insured was genuinely desirous of restarting the business but was unable to do so because of the insurer’s unjustifiable decision not to indemnify … Continue reading

Contribution between insurers (US)

When Empire Insurance Company paid the claim for losses sustained by a car hire company when the hirer crashed their Lamborghini, it sought to recover its outlay from Allstate Insurance who insured the driver who was responsible for damage to the vehicle under the rental contract. The court held that Allstate was not entitled to … Continue reading

War exclusion requires hostilities between sovereign states (US)

A Californian court of appeals found that war exclusions which exclude coverage for expenses resulting from “war” or “warlike action by a military force” require hostilities between de jure or de facto governments (governments or entities essentially like governments). The insured was a film company producing a television series in Jerusalem when Hamas fired rockets … Continue reading

POPI progress

At the end of June 2019 the Information Regulator announced that the process of putting the Protection of Personal Information Act into effect is “going very slowly” and that: A CEO started on 1 June 2019; A CFO started on 1 July 2019; Other executives are being appointed; They are now at a point where they are … Continue reading

Rationality of an administrative decision

A government administrator’s decision may be irrational because it does not take into account a vital material fact for making a rational decision in the light of the empowering legislation and its purpose. The relevant question for rationality is whether the means, including the process of making a decision, are linked to the purpose or … Continue reading

Cyber cover must be specifically provided or excluded (Lloyd’s)

Lloyd’s of London requires its insurers to exclude or provide affirmative cover for cyber risks. Insurers connected to Lloyd’s must make sure they do not have unintended exposure to cyber risk. From the beginning of 2020 underwriters are required to ensure that their property damage policies specifically affirm or exclude cyber cover. This applies to … Continue reading

Corporate joint venture not a partnership

Section 13(1)(d) of the Prescription Act 1969 delays prescription where there is a debt between partners arising out of the partnership relationship. The legal relationship of partnership arises from a contract between two or more persons who each agree to make a contribution (whether in money, property or service) to a venture to be carried on … Continue reading

Bin with wheels is not a ‘vehicle’ (US)

A New York Appeals Court unsurprisingly found that a recycling bin with wheels, which ruptured a gas line used by residents of an apartment building, is not a ‘vehicle’. An all risks policy exclusion did not apply if there was ‘direct loss causing physical damage to covered property from vehicles’. The court said that not … Continue reading
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