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Financial Times: BP wins negligence case in London

By Andrea Felsted and Nikki Tait
Published: March 14 2006 02:00 | Last updated: March 14 2006 02:00
BP, the oil company, and a number of its joint venture partners yesterday won a long-running negligence case, potentially involving tens of millions of dollars, against its insurance brokers, Aon, in London's High Court.
BP had claimed that Aon's negligence left BP subsidiaries and partners such as Shell, Amerada Hess, Total, ENI and ConocoPhilips partially uninsured in respect of 12 offshore construction projects from the North Sea to Vietnam. The projects are said to have generated losses of more than US$200m, with BP claiming up to 42 per cent of that sum.
The case, heard last autumn, concerned liability only. Mr Justice Colman ruled yesterday that Aon had owed BP a duty of care over the insurance. He rejected arguments of contributory negligence on the part of BP. The parties will return to court next month to discuss a possible appeal. If the judgment stands and the parties cannot agree a settlement, a second trial to establish the precise level of Aon's liability will take place.
Aon said yesterday that it was “disappointed” with the judgment, and would attempt to appeal. “Aon does not believe this judgment will have a material effect on its consolidated financial position,” it added.Nikki Tait andAndrea Felsted, London

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