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Insurance Anxiety

At the risk of appearing neurotic I note the happy outcome in Analog Devices BV & ors -v- Zurich Insurance Company & anor [2005] IESC.

Rather than being a focus on insurance (a satisfying field) I think it is more akin to word gratification on my part. The case turned on the interpretation of the meaning of exemption clauses in the policy.

The Plaintiff was in the business of manufacturing silicon wafers. The value of the wafers was high, Due to the fitting of an incorrect filter on a machine during annual maintenance a loss extending to 10 day’s output was incurred

The Plaintiff sought indemnity from its Defendant insurer who pleaded the benefit of exemption clauses in the policy.

When the Supreme Court uttered these words

This, of course, begs the questions of what is an error and when was it made,

the Defendant was in trouble.

To get the benefit of the exemption clauses the Defendant argued that annual maintenance was a part of the manufacturing process. The Supreme Court and before it, the High Court, would have none of it.

The case was clearly of a type relished by lawyers as witnessed by this:

In the written submissions of the appellants before this court there is an attempt to rubbish the qualifications of the legal expert in relation to Massachusetts law called on behalf of the respondents and there is also a criticism that the learned trial judge, to some extent at least, interpreted the American case law himself and decided the issues arising on the global policy based on his own opinion rather than the opinion of Massachusetts legal experts. Both of these criticisms are ill-founded.

Trial lawyers in Ireland (barristers) generally wear black gowns; they sometimes enter a ninja-like state and confuse their words with ninja “starsâ€?.