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15.05.2007

Hewden`s legal victory

Hewden`s legal victory Hewden`s legal victory.

Hewden Tower Cranes has won its court battle to have a claim against Wolffkran GMBH heard in Britain. The crane manufacturer had wanted the proceedings to be heard in Germany in accordance with its dispute procedure.



In a statement, Hewden confirmed it is taking legal proceedings against the manufacturer and said: "Since our claim was filed, proceedings were put on hold by the court until a jurisdiction dispute with the defendant, who requested the proceedings be transferred to German jurisdiction, was resolved."



The dispute relates to the collapse of a crane on 21 May 2000 at Canary Wharf that killed three Hewden staff and injured two others. The hirer has subsequently sold its tower crane business but retains liability for the accident.



Hewden claimed the accident, which occurred as the crane was being climbed, was caused by defective welds in the climbing frame, which subsequently failed, causing one or more of the guide wheels to disengage from the crane mast. It maintained that the faults were caused by negligence on the part of Wolffkran in the design and/or manufacture of the climbing frame.



In reaching his decision, Mr Justice Jackson said the harmful events happened in England, so the English courts had jurisdiction and Wolffkran couldn`t rely on any agreement requiring disputes to be litigated in Germany. Wolffkran has the right to appeal.



Hewden`s statement said: "The Court has found in our favour and the case will now be heard in the UK. The ruling is currently open to appeal - and notice of intention to appeal must be filed at court by 14 May - and only post-appeal will we have any indication when the proceedings will resume." Nobody from Wolffkran was available to comment.



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