Land of Leather customers disappointed on personal injury compensation claims
Customers of Land of Leather who were claiming compensation for personal injury have seen their hopes dashed by a ruling from a High Court judge.
The customers had bought sofas from Land of Leather and made personal injury compensation claims after suffering injuries such as burns and rashes, allegedly caused by a chemical agent - dimethyl fumerate – that was used on the sofas.
300 Land of Leather customers brought compensation claims and according to reports over 4,000 people may have been affected by the chemical used to protect the leather.
The case became complicated when Land of Leather sought compensation from the sofa manufacturers Linkwise. Initially, Land of Leathers Insurers, Zurich were advising on any such agreement, but when payment for an agreed sum of $900,000 was not paid, Land of Leather went back to Linkwise for further discussions. After slight changes were made to the agreement the $900,000 was paid, but this agreement was made without consulting the Insurers, Zurich, who then said this invalidated the insurance.
The High Court Judge upheld Zurich’s position which leaves many Customers without any hope of receiving compensation. Land of Leather is in administration and has no assets to pay compensation, so even though in theory customers could proceed with their claims and obtain a damages award, there is no money to meet such an award.
At this stage it is not known whether an appeal against the High Court ruling will be made.
Julie Dudson of Simpson Millar LLP said "it is extremely disappointing that so many potential claimants cannot pursue these personal injury claims and that the insurers obtain a windfall benefit over what is essentially a technicality".