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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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There, In 2010 I suffered an escape of water at my home,

Resolved Question:

Hi There,
In 2010 I suffered an escape of water at my home, and settlement was made for the items damaged. However it took my Insurance company over two years to install drying equipment which caused all of my other possessions to become damaged due to being left in a damp environment for such a prolonged period of time. When they finally arranged for the (now) damaged items to be removed, they assured me they would count and list them, and then offer settlement. They didn't do this. Instead they destroyed everything without my permission, and before they were itemised. This included 9,867 original Film Posters, all of my furniture, film memorabilia and more.
I have a Financial Ombudsman Service final decision in my favour stating they are required to indemnify me for my losses caused due to negligence on their part, it is not an insurance claim, it's a claim for negligence so their terms, conditions and policy limits are not applicable. They do not deny what they have done, and I have paperwork confirming the quantity of items removed and destroyed. They were given sales data sheets I provided at the request of the FOS which gave the average price per poster as £129. - This equates to over one million pounds for the posters they destroyed alone. The decision was issued November 2013, but the Insurance company will not comply with it. How do I enforce the final decision? Their non-compliance is in their own best interests as they don't dispute what they've done, but unless I enforce the decision I will never see a penny for the items they've destroyed. There is a far more serious issue which is one of theft. They removed items from my home, they will not return them, nor will they pay me for them.
It's now well into the fifth year since the escape of water, and I'm still not back in my home as they've now refused to carry out the building repairs, even though I have a million pounds building insurance.
I've tried to be brief and I apologise for failing miserably. Any advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated.
All The Very Best.
With Regards,
Mr G A Gittings
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Alex Watts :

Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.

Alex Watts :

How much did the FOS uphold for please?

Customer:

Hello Alex,

Customer:

The FOS did not uphold a specific amount they stated the insurance company were required to indemnify me for my losses due to negligence on their part.

Alex Watts : Ok. How much were the losses ?
Customer:

Hi There,

Customer:

The losses are -

Customer:

£1,302,950.70 - One Million, Three Hundred And Two Thousand, Nine Hundred And Fifty Pounds And Seventy Pence

Customer:

Regards,

Customer:

Gary

Alex Watts :

Thanks Gary. What you can do is apply to the Court to enforce it

Alex Watts :

You need to write and set out your losses and request they comply with the FOS decision within 14 days or say you will go to Court within 14 days. You should make sure you send this signed delivery and keep a copy.

Alex Watts :

If they do not then you can issue proceedings in the County Court. You can either do this online at: www.moneyclaim.gov.uk or by completing form N1 http://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/n001-eng.pdf and take it to your local County Court.

Alex Watts :

The Court will then issue a claim which a copy will be sent to the Defendant who will have a limited time to defend it, if not you can enter Judgment and enforce.

Alex Watts :

If the matter is contested then it will be set down for a final hearing and a Judge will decide.

Alex Watts :

Given the value you would need representation. However if you win you can ask the Judge for costs.

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer:

Hello Alex,

Customer:

I've written to them in precisely the manner you advise. They did not respond to my letter and breakdown of losses and the 14 day time limit has come and gone. I told them I would begin court proceedings if they had not responded within 14 days. I have a print-out of the Post Office track and trace receipt verifying they received my letter on 25 March 2015.

Customer:

Regarding the issuing of a claim via the county court, if they fail to defend it within the specified time period you advise I can enter judgement and enforce, could you explain this further to me, please? I have paperwork from them including their letter to me verifying the quantity of all the items they destroyed, so in that respect they verify, not contest their actions. I believe they will however contest the value of the items they destroyed. However the FOS ruled it was not an Insurance claim and their terms, conditions, and policy limits do not apply would this aspect still stand? If it is contested do I get to see their reasons for so doing and any supporting evidence they may be relying on?

Customer:

Thank You

Customer:

With Regards,

Customer:

Gary

Alex Watts : After. 14 days if not defended you can enter judgment
Alex Watts : if it goes to court you can sue for breach of contract and to enforce the FOS decision
Alex Watts : Does that help?
Customer:

Sorry but this has muddied the waters for me somewhat. The FOS decision ruled it was not an insurance claim but a claim for negligence on their part. The FOS instructed them to calculate a value for the items they destroyed, which they have refused to do. With them refusing to calculate anything the FOS decision stops dead-in-it's-tracks, because without calculations a value will never be reached and they walk away scott-free after destroying everything I own without permission, refusing to return my possessions to me and refusing to pay me for their value, effectively, theft! How would suing for breach of contract get them to indemnify me? Also the FOS decision relies on them calculating a total for my items outside of an insurance claim, the FOS decision cannot be changed so reliance would be on them to do the calculations that lead to my indemnification, which they won't do.

Customer:

Your previous E-Mail stated after completing form N1, the court will issue a claim, and if it's not defended within a limited time, I could enter judgement, and enforce. I may have misinterpreted what this entails; However I took it as a follow-on from the FOS decision perfectly fitting my immediate requirements. Because in the N1 claim there is a specified value, which I've already informed them of in my letter. They do not dispute the quantity of the items they have destroyed and I have paperwork from them verifying this, and they initially offered to indemnify me to-the-penny for everything, except the vast quantity of original film posters. They disputed my average-price-per-poster value (which had been accepted by the FOS) and insisted on having an independent report compiled to ascertain the value of the posters. The report was compiled using sales figures I'd submitted to the FOS at their request. The average price per poster was calculated by dividing the total sales value of the posters by the quantity submitted to the FOS. I reluctantly agreed for the report to go ahead, but my main objection was the case had been closed, with an FOS final decision issued six months previously. I agreed on one provision. They send me a copy of the report when they received it. They agreed to do this. They didn't comply with that agreement and at the time of writing have denied ever receiving it. I called the 'Antiques Attache' who compiled the report and simply asked if it had been sent, she confirmed it had! I informed the FOS of this latest deceit and they demanded a copy be sent to them. However Direct Line have refused to share any of the information contained in the report with me, including the average price per poster, and have stated they will not be using any of the information contained in the report. I received a letter from Direct Line telling me I would be paid £10 per poster, and that was their full and final settlement. They provided no information or any evidence of how they'd arrived at an average price of £10 per poster. I immediately telephoned them to stop the cheque being processed for payment as I did not accept their offer under any circumstances. However a cheque arrived a few days later which remains un-cashed. A further complaint was opened with the FOS, the adjudication was in my favour, they objected (surprise, surprise), and seven months ago it was passed to an ombudsman for a final decision which is still pending. This decision deals with their failure to comply with an FOS final decision. I mention all of the above because I do not want to give them any opportunity to further ignore the FOS, and refuse to pay what they owe me. The value of the claim is huge and I'm aware there is a court fee to pay. On my claim of over one million pounds is the court fee £10,000? Is this the reason why I would need representation? Do I have to have legal representation for the completion of the N1 form? To prove the value of my posters I sent them a list of approximately 5,000 posters all with their current value and where possible a print out of the poster, its value, and the web site selling / sold the poster. The total value of the 5,000 posters was then divided by it's quantity of 5,000 giving the average. Multiply this by the 9,867 posters they destroyed and there's your poster claim value. If they were to contest my figures, do they have to provide evidence to prove their side of the dispute? Thank You, Gary

Alex Watts :

The form N1 you dont need representation. However given your claim would be for in excess of £1m so you should.

Alex Watts :

The Court fees are listed here:

Alex Watts :

https://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/fees

Alex Watts :

The claim needs to be properly and legally set out.

Alex Watts :

But based on what you have said you can enforce and claim what is owed for their negligence/breach of contract

Alex Watts :

Does that help?

Alex Watts :

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