Litigation Writs 23/06/98

A Dagenham widow whose husband died after exposure to asbestos at work is suing United Distillers of Edinburgh. Eva Smart, whose husband Cyril died on 30 April 1995 from an asbestos-related disease, accuses the company of negligence and breach of statutory duty.

Writ issued by Field Fisher Waterhouse, London EC3.

Potato crisp manufacturer Smiths Food Group is suing a group of insurance companies for damages after having to pay out prizes of more than £700,000 in a "spot-the-ball" promotion. Smiths carried out the scratch card promotion in the Netherlands between July and October 1996. In its writ it says it paid an insurance premium of £75,000 to cover against the risk of paying out cash prizes of more than £250,000. But it claims that in November 1996 it ended up paying out prizes which, with handling costs, ran up a total bill of £728,208. Smiths claimed £478,208 from its insurers. But the writ says that Reliance National Insurance Co (Europe), the Lexington Insurance Co, HIH (UK) and Deutscher Lloyd Versicherungen of Munich have refused to pay.

Writ issued by Freshfields, London EC4.

A Hove woman has launched a High Court action against the Chief Constable of Sussex. Linda Zurkouri claims that she was injured at Hove Police Station during an assault on April 8 1996, but does not specify the nature of the injuries. The writ accuses the chief constable of negligence and blames him for what happened.

Writ issued by Grimley Roberts Mulrooney, Brighton.

Marks & Spencer is suing property developer Burton Property Trust of London W1, seeking repayment of overpaid fees. The writ says that in March 1991 Marks & Spencer became the tenant of units 5, 6 and 7 West Orchard Shopping Centre, Coventry, and following requests by Burton's agents Hillier Parker, paid licence fees at the rate of £95,000 a year. But it claims that the payment requests failed to take account of clauses in the lease agreement, so that the units on which fees were based included other premises, including a property to be occupied by Debenhams. The writ says that Marks & Spencer has overpaid fees of £48,509 plus VAT, and is now seeking repayment of this.

Writ issued by Denton Hall, Milton Keynes.