James Todd

Year of call:
1990
Email:
james.todd@39essex.com

Clerks:
+44 (0)20 7832 1111

“first-class technical skills and a strong insight into what a court is likely to do and not do.”
Chambers & Partners

James Todd’s practice covers high value personal injury and clinical negligence claims, acting for claimants and defendants. He is on the NHS Litigation Authority panel and receives work from all of the major insurance companies and solicitors. He has expertise in disease claims, product liability claims, animal claims and claims involving the emergency services. In addition, his insurance expertise includes all aspects of motor insurance, including coverage and uninsured driver issues.

James appeared in the Supreme Court in the landmark 2012 case of Summers v. Fairclough Homes concerning fraudulent personal injury claims.

James is recommended by Chamber & Partners for Personal Injury and Industrial Disease, and by The Legal 500 for Personal Injury.

Clinical Negligence


James is approved to work on the NHSLA list to handle all types of high value/catastrophic clinical negligence claims. He is instructed by Capsticks, DAC Beachcroft and Weightmans on a regular basis.

  • CF v. Alder Hey (2014 ongoing, with Neil Block QC): claim arising out of negligent failure to diagnose symptoms in a child with congenital pulmonary stenosis
  • R v. Dept of Health (2014 ongoing, with Neil Block QC): claim for negligently caused cerebral palsy at birth
  • L v. Chesterfield Royal Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (2014 ongoing): claim for failure to diagnose cerebral haemorrhage
  • NE v. Chesterfield Royal Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (2014 ongoing): claim for failure to diagnose and treat eye problems arising out of juvenile idiopathic arthritis
  • Tucker v. Bucks Hospitals (2011): claim for negligent misdiagnosis of injury to child
  • Ali v. Pennine Acute NHS Trust (2011): claim for failure to identify bowel problem at birth

Personal Injury


“An excellent technical lawyer, who cross-examines to very good effect, and who has the ability to advise definitively on complex claims.” Chambers & Partners 2014

FRAUDULENT / DISHONEST / EXAGGERATED PERSONAL INJURY CLAIMS

Regularly instructed to deal with fraudulent/dishonest claims on behalf of defendant insurers in all types of PI claim; full knowledge of best tactical approaches in these claims. Cases include:

  • Charlesworth v. Wessex Water (Bristol CC, 2015): grossly exaggerated claim arising out of minor road traffic accident
  • Coward v. Zurich Insurance (Carlisle CC, 2013): fraudulent personal injury claim involving a fabricated version of an accident that took place at work
  • Summers v. Fairclough Homes (Supreme Court, 2012): landmark case on fraudulent PI claims
  • Hull v. G4S (Central London CC, 2011): claim brought by former of G4S alleging serious injury in workplace accident. Claimant awarded minimal sum in light of surveillance evidence
  • Heath v. Blackburn (Southend CC, 2008): claim brought by defendant’s neighbour alleging that she had tripped and broken her hip in defendant’s house. Claim dismissed after full trial on a finding that accident did not happen as alleged
  • Arthur v. Exel Supply Chain (Luton CC, 2008): EL claim fought to trial and dismissed on a finding that accident did not happen

INDUSTRIAL DISEASE CLAIMS

Deafness claims: regular instructions to defend claims for noise induced hearing loss; appeared for British Railways Board in a large group action deafness claim brought by guards and shunters which ultimately settled; regular instructions also received from the Metropolitan Police, most recently to defend deafness claims brought by police officers attending Notting Hill Carnival.

Stress/ Bullying at work claims: Acting for both claimants and defendants. Regularly instructed by Royal Mail to defend bullying/harassment claims.

Asbestos and mesothelioma claims: regular instructions from claimants and defendants in the public and private sectors.

Other disease claims: including VWF, HAVS and WBVS (whole body vibration syndrome); currently instructed to defend a cluster of WBVS claims brought by drivers of straddle carriers at dock premises.

  • Various v. South Coast Port Services (ongoing): whole body vibration claims brought by drivers of straddle carriers at Southampton Docks
  • Hendy v. Royal Mail (Oxford CC, 2010): occupational asthma claim brought by postal worker in Royal Mail sorting office
  • Cotton v. Wheal Jane Limited (Plymouth CC, 2011): successful defence of limitation application in noise induced hearing loss claim brought by geologist who formerly worked in tin mines in Cornwall
  • Wood v. London Strategic Health Authority (High Court, 2011): mesothelioma claim brought by relative of plumber who worked in government buildings in the 1950s
  • Atwal v. Royal Mail (2011, settled): workplace stress/bullying claim brought by postal worker

MOTOR INSURANCE

Uninsured driver claims (RTA insurer, Article 75 and MIB Agreements); successful recovery actions under s151(8).

Policy coverage issues in motor insurance claims, including avoidance for fraud and recovery claims.

Cases include:

  • Evans v. Clark (High Court, 2006) – meaning of ‘road’ in insurance policy.
  • Aviva v. Brown (Central London CC, 2006): successful recovery claim under s151(8) against person who caused or permitted uninsured driving

POLICE / EMERGENCY SERVICES CLAIMS

Particular expertise in claims arising out of emergency/999 calls where personnel or members of the public are injured in crisis situations.

Cases include:

  • Various v. London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (High Court, 2013-2014): acting for London Fire Brigade in defence of claims arising out of Lakanal House Fire
  • Lewell v. East of England Ambulance Services NHS Trust (Luton CC, 2010): successful defence of claim brought by ambulance personnel who alleged that they had contracted PTSD as a result of being sent to the scene of a murder without proper precautions being taken
  • Henry v. Thames Valley Police (Court of Appeal, 2009): claim brought by motorcyclist who was injured by a police car while fleeing
  • Burrow v. The Met [2004] EWHC 1435 successful defence of a High Court claim arising out of a riding accident on Wimbledon Common
  • Scutts v. The Met [2001] EWCA Civ 715 led by William Norris QC (very severe injuries suffered by young boy running into path of police car on emergency call, scope of driver’s duty and standard of care considered)

SPORTS & ANIMALS CLAIMS

James has particular interest in skiing, snowboarding and equine law claims having handled many cases in these areas.

  • Hannett v. Ashford Valley Hunt (Canterbury CC, 2008): acted for claimant in successful claim under Animals Act arising out of injury while hunting
  • Matthews v. New Forest Verderers (Southampton CC, 2007): successful defence of Animals Act claim brought by walker in the New Forest who was hit by a pony

Described in Chambers & Partners as “an expert on equine related cases”: particular knowledge of the law of strict liability for animals under the Animals Act 1971 following Mirvahedy.

HOLIDAY CLAIMS

Accidents in foreign countries and claims against tour operators.

  • Bell v. Kuoni (2009, settled): catastrophic motor accident in Dubai.
  • Nolan v. Club Cantabrica (2010, settled): multiple claims arising from coach accident in Germany.

HEALTH & SAFETY

James was formerly on the panel of HSE prosecuting counsel and he continues to act for companies and individuals in the criminal courts in proceedings arising out of accident and injuries on construction sites, in factories and in the workplace.

QUANTUM

James has extensive experience of very high value, catastrophic injury claims including periodical payment awards.

Largest claims have included:

  • Wooldridge v. Smith (2013): dependency claim arising out of fatal helicopter crash
  • £18M claim for a brain injured hedge fund manager (7 figure confidential settlement on day 1 of trial)
  • Burt v. London Fire Brigade: £12M claim before deduction for contrib., settled shortly before trial)
  • Handley v. Dudley: cerebral palsy £5M claim – settled; included major issues of principle including recovery of investment costs
  • Harden v. Chesters: catastrophic brain injury case involving issues of local authority funding of care, accommodation etc
  • Mazur v. Balfour: brain injury case involving young boy hit by car while doing his paper round;
  • Bell v. Kuoni: brain injury suffered in RTA abroad, complex issues surrounding periodical payments/reasonable security of non-UK insurer.

Regular experience of chronic pain, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue/ME type claims

GENERAL INSURANCE & CONTRACTUAL DISPUTES

Claims investigation and policy avoidance for fraud and misrepresentation.

Fire fraud cases include:

  • Hussain v. Allianz Cornhill (2006): claimant withdrew and paid costs of a £600K property damage claim; property in question was a tyre storage depot that made national news by being the first building to burn down on the first day of the firemen’s strike in November 2002; led by William Norris QC and instructed by Beachcroft.
  • Koreli v. Allianz Cornhill (2007): claim for fire damage to shop premises abandoned on proof that fire was set deliberately
  • Trafalgar Inns v. Allianz Cornhill (2007) – claim for fire damage at pub; abandoned.

James has frequently advised on the construction of policy wording in PHI and other insurance policies and claims in the general law of contract.

Recommendations


James is recommended in the Personal Injury and Personal Injury: Industrial Disease sections of Chambers & Partners and in the Leading Personal Injury Juniors section of the Legal 500.

Quotes

“A superb advocate who is thorough and efficient.” Legal 500 2015

“Very pragmatic, forensic and precise, and someone with his eye on the bigger picture as to what is important to insured and insurer clients.”Chambers & Partners

“An excellent technical lawyer, who cross-examines to very good effect, and who has the ability to advise definitively on complex claims.” Chambers & Partners

“He has good judgement and is robust enough to go up against silks.” Legal 500

“He’s good in court, and he has a particular strength in relation to causation and medical issues generally.” Chambers & Partners

“He does a great job – he engages well with the judge, and isn’t afraid to fight his corner when he has to.” Chambers & Partners

“first-class technical skills and a strong insight into what a court is likely to do and not do.” Chambers & Partners

“an expert on equine related cases” Chambers & Partners

Related Cases


Personal Injury

Francisquini v. London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority [2014] EWHC 1278 (QB)

Acted for the London Fire Brigade in the defence of several claims arising out of the fatal fire at Lakanal House in south London.

Summers v Fairclough Homes Limited (William Norris QC, James Todd, Sadie Crapper) 3 June 2013 [2012] UKSC 26

On 27 June 2012 judgment was handed down in the landmark personal injury case of Summers v Fairclough Homes Limited. William Norris QC acted for the appellant, Fairclough Homes, leading James Todd and Sadie Crapper, instructed by Berrymans Lace Mawer.

Evans v. Charles Wilson Engineers Ltd 2 June 2013 [2011] EWHC 2096 (QB)

This was a dispute between defendants over the share of blame for an accident in which the operator of a mobile elevated work platform was killed.

Michael H v Thames Valley Police 9 February 2010 [2010] EWCA Civ 5

A police officer had driven negligently by driving his car too close to a motorcycle to allow the motorcyclist to dismount safely.

James's Sectors


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