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Michele De Gregorio

Call 2003

"He is bright, immensely hardworking and inspires confidence in clients."
(Legal 500 2017)

Michele De Gregorio has a broad commercial and common law practice, with many of his cases arising out of insurance related disputes, in the fields of construction and engineering, professional negligence and product liability.

Michele welcomes public access clients.

Commercial

Michele has a broad experience of commercial and chancery litigation in proceedings in the Chancery and Queen’s Bench divisions (including the Admiralty, Commercial & Mercantile Courts). He has successfully obtained commercial injunctions including freezing orders, orders for delivery up of goods and charging orders. Michele understands the commercial interests of clients and is often instructed to advise from the earliest stages of disputes. He has a record of success in arbitration and mediation.

Selected Cases

  • Acting on behalf of the defendant company in parallel claims in the Companies Court and the Chancery Division in a £250k claim involving allegations of asset-stripping, false accounting and suppression of profits.
  • Acting on behalf of a former employee in a £150k Mercantile Court claim for breach of fiduciary duty (of a de-facto director) and conspiracy to defraud.
  • Acting for the defendant partnership in a dispute concerning the status of the claimant as equity / junior / salaried partner and partnership property.
  • Acting for a well-known firm of estate agents in a 4-day trial raising novel issues of consumer law (left unresolved following the Bank Charges litigation).
  • Acting for a renewable energy company in a £500k Mercantile Court claim arising out of damage to specialist equipment for use in off-shore wind farms.
  • Obtaining a favourable six-figure settlement at mediation in an intellectual property dispute concerning database rights and issues of unjust enrichment.
  • Acting for the production company in a contractual claim arising out of damage caused on the set of a feature film at a famous North London residence.
  • Advising a multinational technology company in a £2-3m claim for breach of a contract to provide telecommunications services.
  • Acting on behalf of a fitness club franchisee in an appeal on an argument as to the proper construction of a franchise purchase agreement.
  • Advising contractors in a £500k claim arising out of the construction of an installation at a renewable energy plant.
  • Acting for a specialist marine engineering company in a Mercantile Court claim arising out of a contract to rebuild the gearbox of a commercial vessel.

Construction & Engineering

Michele has extensive experience of construction litigation within a range of industry sectors, from energy and infrastructure to domestic property disputes. He is frequently instructed as sole counsel in claims proceeding in the TCC, and has acted as part of larger teams in complex, multi-million pound disputes in both domestic and foreign jurisdictions. He has experience of arbitration (domestic and international), mediation and expert determination. Michele is a TECBAR accredited adjudicator.

Selected Cases

  • Acting for the acoustics contractor in a delay / defects dispute concerning the construction of the Rolls Building. Michele is being led by Ben Quiney QC.
  • Obtaining an interim injunction to restrain payment under a performance bond in respect of an airport construction project in the Middle East.
  • Acting for the employer in adjudication enforcement proceedings – resisting enforcement on the grounds of the contractor’s inability to repay.
  • Acting for an EPC contractor in a c.US$200m ICC arbitration claim concerning the construction of a processing plant in the Middle East. Michele is being led by Andrew Rigney QC.
  • Acting for the developer of a prestigious development in Belgravia in connection with a nuisance and party wall dispute. Michele was led by Michael Curtis QC, and instructed together with Crispin Winser and Caroline McColgan.
  • Acting for the main (design and build) contractor in an adjudication relating to the alleged insufficiency of the electrical supply installed in a large mixed residential and commercial development. Michele was led by Ben Quiney QC.
  • Acting as adjudicator in a dispute concerning the value of variations under an M&E sub-contract.
  • Acting for the employer in an adjudication arising out of a dispute over payment due to the main contractor under an interim certificate.
  • Acting as adjudicator in a dispute over an interim certificate in respect of a hotel development with a contract value in excess of £4m.
  • Instructed, together with Ben Quiney QC, in connection with an adjudication arising out of a fire at a London hotel development.
  • Stannard t/a Wyvern Tyres [2012] EWCA Civ 1248: Court of Appeal decision on the application of strict liability under Rylands v Fletcher to cases involving the escape of fire. Michele and Jonathan Waite QC acted for the successful appellant. A PLC article on the case is available here.
  • Acting for a multinational joint venture in disputes arising out of the first urban DBFO (PPI/PFI) roads project in the UK, involving claims in excess of £100m.
  • Acting for property insurers in a £1m TCC claim arising out of a series of floods caused by defective valves at a prestigious London mansion block.
  • Acting for a leading UK interior design and property development company in a substantial arbitration against a foreign company on a key London building project.
  • Obtaining a freezing injunction and final charging order in TCC proceedings to enforce an arbitration award.
  • Advising the owner of a large public car park in a dispute against its concrete contractor.
  • Assisting in £1m arbitration proceedings in the DIAC on behalf of UK architects in relation to major construction projects in the Middle East.
  • Advising specialist contractors in a £500k claim arising out of the construction of an energy conversion installation at a renewable energy plant.
  • Acting for the roofing contractor in a claim relating to the supply and installation of allegedly defective roofing materials (Leeds TCC).
  • Acting for property insurers in a TCC claim involving the escape of water from a West-End restaurant into a neighbouring restaurant.
  • Acting for a specialist marine engineering company in a Mercantile Court claim arising out of a contract to rebuild the gearbox of a commercial vessel.
  • Acting for a renewable energy company in a £500k Mercantile Court claim arising out of damage to specialist equipment for use in offshore wind farms.

Insurance & Reinsurance

Michele is frequently instructed by and on behalf of insurers in relation to policy coverage and indemnity issues and in subrogated recovery actions arising out of fire, flood, tree root subsidence, other property damage and in the related fields of construction and product liability.

Michele appeared for the successful appellant in the Court of Appeal in the seminal case on strict liability for the escape of fire, Stannard v Gore [2014] QB 1, and he is often instructed in complex and technical cases in this field.

Selected Cases

  • Gunaratnam v Ageas [2014] EWHC 593 (QB) – Claim for an indemnity under a home insurance policy in respect of damage caused by escape of water.
  • Stannard t/a Wyvern Tyres v Gore [2014] QB 1; [2012] EWCA Civ 1248 – Court of Appeal decision on the application of strict liability under Rylands v Fletcher in cases involving the escape of fire. Michele appeared as sole counsel at first instance and was led by Jonathan Waite QC in the Court of Appeal.
  • Advising the defendant insurer on various technical coverage issues in respect of a public and product liability policy concerning a third party claim (c.£200k) against the insured arising out of the supply of allegedly defective adhesive products.
  • Acting for the claimant’s buildings insurers in two subrogated recovery actions (total value over £1m) against a specialist commercial flue cleaning company arising out of fires at two of the claimant’s restaurants. Settled at mediation.
  • Acting for defendant’s insurer in a claim arising out of the escape of kerosene from an oil storage tank, involving a claim based on strict liability under Rylands v Fletcher.
  • Acting for the defendant’s building insurer in a claim by neighbouring owners for trespass caused by the construction of an extension without consent or proper notice under the Party Wall (etc) Act 1996.
  • Acting for the claimant’s insurer in a subrogated recovery action arising out of an escape of water at the claimant’s premises caused by a blocked sink due to the negligence of the defendant-cleaning contractor.
  • Advising the defendant’s insurer in a claim (over £200k) arising out of a fire due to a bonfire in a steel bucket on the defendant’s land, raising potential strict liability under Rylands v Fletcher.
  • Advising the claimant’s insurers in a subrogated recovery action arising out of a fire caused by the defendant during installation of loft insulation.
  • Acting for the claimant’s insurers in a subrogated recovery action (over £600k) arising out of a fire at industrial premises caused by hot works in an adjoining unit, raising issues as to the liability of an occupier for the negligence of independent contractors in escape of fire cases.
  • Acting for the claimants’ insurers in numerous subrogated recovery actions against electricity distributors in cases involving fires caused by resistive heating faults in cut-out fuse assemblies – since Smith v UKPN.
  • Acting for claimant’s insurer in a subrogated recovery claim (TCC, over £250k) against the contractors that supplied and installed a refractory roof lining at the claimant’s sugar beet furnace, which collapsed.
  • Acting as sole counsel for the claimant at trial in a subrogated recovery action arising out of flooding to the claimant’s property caused by the defendant’s failure to maintain a nearby watercourse.
  • Acting for the defendant’s public liability insurer in a claim (c. £250k) arising out of the supply of a component product used for the manufacture of BMW and Mini door panels.
  • Acting for the claimant’s insurer in an action arising out of the destruction of concealed drainage during demolition works at the defendant’s neighbouring premises.
  • Acting for the claimant’s insurer in a claim arising out of flooding to the claimant’s premises caused by blocked or inadequate culverts on land occupied and controlled by the defendants.
  • Acting for the claimant’s insurer in a claim arising out of flood damage to the claimant’s property as a result of roof replacement works carried out to a culvert by the Environment Agency, pursuant to its powers under the Water Resources Act 1991.
  • Acting for the claimant’s insurer in an action against a security guard company arising out of malicious damage (over £250k) to commercial property caused by an unauthorised intruder.
  • Acting for the claimants’ buildings insurer in a subrogated recovery action arising out of a fire at the claimants’ premises caused by hot works carried out in adjacent commercial premises (over £300k).
  • Acting for the insurer of the defendant plumbing sub-contractor in a claim (over £200k) arising out of an escape of water at the claimant’s premises.
  • Acting for the claimants’ insurer in a claim against the supplier and manufacturer of a tractor that was destroyed by fire.
  • Acting for the claimant’s insurer in a subrogated recovery action arising out of a fire that started at the defendants’ unit and spread to the claimant’s unit in a light industrial premises (c. £300k).
  • Acting for the defendant insurer in a claim for an indemnity under a home insurance policy in respect of a fire (issues concerning refusal to cover for breach of condition; property to be insured’s main domestic residence; and valuation of reinstatement works / time of assessment etc).
  • Acting for the claimant’s buildings insurer in a subrogated recovery claim arising out of an escape of water caused by a defective water tank valve manufactured and supplied by the defendant.
  • Acting for the defendant’s public liability insurer in a tree root subsidence claim, involving issues as to reasonable foreseeability following Berent v Family Mosaic Housing.
  • Acting for the claimant’s insurer in claim (c. £200k) arising out of the escape of acid from a tanker due to defective rubber tank lining work carried out by the defendants.
  • Acting for the claimant’s insurer in a subrogated recovery action arising out of damage to the claimant’s clubhouse caused by the escape of kerosene from a tank negligently filled by the defendant fuel supplier.
  • Acting for the defendant’s insurer in a claim arising out of damage allegedly caused to the claimant’s telephone cables (beneath the defendant’s golf course) during construction works.
  • Acting for the insurer of a company specialising in industrial and marine heat exchangers in relation to a claim arising out of the escape of solution caused by corrosion of part of a heat exchanger (over £250k).
  • Acting for the claimant’s insurer in a claim arising out of flooding to premises caused by a defective float valve. Advising insurer on issues concerning the scope of business interruption cover.
  • Acting for the claimants’ insurer in a subrogated recovery action arising out of a fire at the claimants’ private care home caused by a resistive heating fault on the defendant electricity distributor’s cut-out fuse assembly equipment.
  • Acting for the defendant golf club in a claim for an injunction to require the club to relocate a hole on its golf course due to alleged nuisance by the escape of golf balls onto the claimant’s property.
  • Acting for the defendant’s insurers in a claim arising out of an escape of water at the claimant’s restaurant allegedly caused by the defendant’s failure to keep drains in good repair.
  • Acting for the claimant’s insurer in a subrogated recovery claim arising out of an escape of water at the claimant’s listed building caused by negligent plumbing works carried out by the defendant contractor and sub-contractor at the above hotel premises.
  • Represented the successful claimant at trial (TCC, Leeds) in a subrogated recovery action under the CPA arising out of a fire caused by a defective microwave oven.

Product Liability

Michele is frequently instructed in product liability claims and his cases often involve complex technical and scientific issues. Many of his cases arise from property damage caused by fire or flood and he is regularly instructed on behalf of manufacturers, those in the construction industry and insurers.

Selected Cases

  • Acting on behalf of the defendant manufacturer of prosthetic hips, DePuy International Ltd, together with Alex Antelme and Michael Spencer QC in the DePuy Hylamer Group Litigation.
  • Acting for property insurers in a £1m claim in the TCC against the Italian manufacturers of hot water valves to recover damage caused in a series of floods at a prestigious London mansion block.
  • Advising a well-known manufacturer of electrical components installed in numerous commercial properties as to potential liability in excess of £1.5m.
  • Acting for the defendant high-street retailer in a claim under the CPA 1987 for fire damage caused by an allegedly defective microwave oven.
  • Acting for the claimant in a £150k claim against the defendant manufacturer of fittings that were incorporated into the claimant’s shipping container liners. The claimant sought to recover sums paid in settlement of claims from its customers.
  • Acting for the defendant candle manufacturer in a claim arising out of a fire at a church.
  • Acting for the claimants in a subrogated water damage claim against the Italian manufacturers of hot water expansion tanks.
  • Acting for the claimant supplier of concrete in a claim to recover sums paid to third party customers in relation to contaminated concrete supplied by the defendant.
  • Acting for the defendant motor vehicle manufacturer in a claim under the CPA 1987 for personal injuries alleged to have been caused by an issue that was the subject of a product recall notice.
  • Acting for the defendant manufacturer of a television set allegedly responsible for a devastating fire at residential premises.

Professional Liability

Michele has particular experience of professional negligence actions against construction professionals, lawyers and accountants.

He edits the chapter in Emden’s Construction Law on Architects, Engineers and Surveyors.

Selected Cases

  • Roy Parker v Freeth Cartwright (2014) – Acting for the claimant in a claim against solicitors concerning the handling of a professional negligence action arising out of the unsuccessful takeover of Leicester City FC. Michele was led by Michael Curtis QC.
  • Acting for employers in a claim against a structural engineer arising out of the collapse of a property following the removal of part of a load-bearing wall.
  • Acting for a private company and its sole shareholder in an action against the company’s accountants and auditors concerning the negligent preparation of accounts.
  • Acting for the claimant in an action against his solicitors concerning the sale of shares in an Internet company.
  • Advising the claimant in an action against solicitors arising out of a failed attempt to extend the term of a lease.
  • Acting for the claimant employer in a claim against building contractors and the quantity surveyor, engaged as project manager and contract administrator.

News


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Qualifications


  • MA (Oxon)
  • LLM (Distinction), King’s College London

Memberships


  • COMBAR
  • PNBA
  • TECBAR

Recommendations


“Superbly responsive with a terrific eye for detail.”

Legal 500 2016

“Down to earth and very good at calming down heated situations.”

Legal 500, 2017

“His knowledge of case law and its application is up to the minute.”

Legal 500 2016

“A very strong, capable and down-to-earth barrister with a pragmatic approach.”

Legal 500 2015

“Technically very good.”

Legal 500 2014


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