Court hears M&S suffered more than €2 million in losses due to Cork fire

Mr Justice Denis McDonald has entered the M&S case to the commercial list



1 March 2022

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In a case at the Commercial Court, Marks and Spencer Ireland has claimed that it experienced more than €2 million in losses as a result of a fire which occurred at Douglas Village Shopping Centre in Cork in 2019.

The Irish Times reports M&S’s case is the third action that has been taken following the incident on 31 August 2019. The fire started when an allegedly defective Opel Zafira B car went on fire in the shopping centre car park. This subsequently spread to the centre itself and caused approximately €30 million in damages, including interruption to business.

The owners and operators of the shopping centre, Avoncore Ltd and Canmont Ltd brought the first case. This was against Leeson Motors Ltd, which allegedly distributed and sold the Opel Zafira, and the car manufacturers, Adam Opel GmbH, and Opel Automobile GmbH.

Vauxhall Motors Ltd, incorporated in the UK, was also included in their case as the party allegedly responsible for the conduct and management of recalls of the Zafira B vehicles in the UK, which liaised with Leeson Motors about recalls in Ireland.

Retailers in the shopping centre, Callistoy Ltd, Amari Shoes Ltd, Sheehan Brothers Family Butchers Ltd, Layered Approach Ltd and Neville Jewellers Ltd, also previously brought a second separate case. Both cases were initiated in 2020 and case managed through the Commercial Court.

M&A asked the court to admit similar proceedings on Monday, claiming that damage to its store and business interruption cost more than €2 million. However, lawyers for some of the defendants argued M&S did not need to be admitted to the fast-track list, considering the other proceedings are so far advanced.

Nevertheless, all parties agreed that if the M & S case was admitted to the Commercial Court, that case should be stayed pending the outcome of one of the first cases.     

Mr Justice Denis McDonald entered the M&S case to the commercial list and agreed to adjourn it generally with liberty to re-enter the at some future date. He said that this would ensure everyone’s position is preserved.



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