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Michael Kent KC and Peter Houghton in the Supreme Court

Michael Kent KC and Peter Houghton appear today for the Respondent in the Supreme Court appeal of Dryden & Ors v Johnson Matthey Plc. (The case was reported at first instance and in the Court of Appeal as Greenway and ors v. Johnson Matthey Plc [2016] EWCA Civ 408.)

The appeal concerns the claims by three employees of Johnson Matthey who developed platinum sensitisation (an asymptomatic molecular change which can, with further exposure, lead to symptomatic platinum allergy) following exposure to halogenated platinum salts. The employees allege that they have suffered financial losses as a result of this sensitisation even though it has had no impact on their health since they were promptly removed from work with platinum salts by their employer when their sensitisation was discovered.

The employees assert that (i) they have suffered actionable personal injury within the law of negligence or alternatively that (ii) they are entitled to recover pure economic losses pursuant either to an implied term of their employment contracts or to a duty of care in tort. The Court of Appeal held against them on all these points.

The case, which is to be heard by Lady Hale PSC, Lord Wilson JSC, Lord Reed JSC, Lady Black JSC and Lord Lloyd Jones JSC, raises interesting points on what qualifies as actionable personal injury and on the scope of an employer’s duty (whether contractual or tortious) to protect its employees from pure economic loss.

Michael Kent KC and Peter Houghton are instructed by Paul Debney, Weightmans LLP (Leicester office).

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