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8 Managerial L. 603 (1970)

handle is hein.journals/ijlm8 and id is 1 raw text is: LOWERY v. VICKERS ARMSTRONG (ENGINEERS) LTD. AND ANOTHER 603

Russell L.J., Salmon L.J. and Megaw L.J.
November 14, 1969
Contract - Construction - Supply of gas - Indemnity - Consumers to indemnify
gas board against claims for injury or damage caused by any action . .. of the
consumers, their servants or agents whether arising directly or indirectly out of
the supply of any gas or apparatus - Escape of gas from faulty main -
Explosion touched off by act of consumers' employee - Negligence - Board
mainly liable - Whether entitled to be indemnified for own negligence.
A contract for the supply of gas made between a gas board and V. Ltd., provided
by clause 14:
The consumers hereby undertake to be responsible for and release and
indemnify the Board, their servants and agents from and against all actions,
claims, losses, costs or expenses which may be brought or made against or
incurred by them by reason of any personal injury (whether fatal or otherwise)
or loss of or damage to property caused by any action or omission of the
consumers, their servants or agents whether arising directly or indirectly out of
the supply of any gas or apparatus under the terms of this agreement.
In March, 1964, the plaintiff, a maintenance man employed by V. Ltd., went
to attend to a possible leakage of gas on their premises. A gas fire and a gas ring
were buming there and the plaintiff lighted a spill and tested the gas pipes. As he
stamped out the spill there was an explosion and he was injured. The gas which
exploded had collected under the floor of the premises, having escaped via an
underground duct from a fracture in a worn out, 80 years old gas main which was
part of the general gas distribution system belonging to the gas board. The
plaintiff's claim for damages against V. Ltd. and the gas board was settled during
the trial by agreement with both defendants, the action continuing on the question
of liability between the defendants. The trial judge found the gas board wholly
On appeal by the gas board,
Held, allowing the appeal (Russell LJ. dissenting), (1) that on the facts V. Ltd.'s
servants had been negligent and that such negligence could not be regarded as
minimal but should be assessed at 25 per cent.
(2) (per Russell LJ. and Megaw L.J., Salmon LJ. dissenting) that the plaintiff's
injury did not arise either directly or indirectly out of the supply of any gas (or,

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