The contractors who worked on the construction of the hotel have been accused of failing to implement fire safety measures and thus contributing to its spread
An insurance company trying to recover the 1.25 billion dirhams it paid in an insurance claim in the 2015 New Year’s Eve fire at the Address Downtown hotel, lost his trial in Dubai Civil Court.
Following a fire that broke out at the hotel owned by Emaar Properties, its UAE-based insurer, Orient Insurance, paid the developer 1.25 billion dirhams to cover losses resulting from the fire.
After the settlement, Orient Insurance filed a civil suit in the Dubai courts accusing the contractors who worked on the construction of the hotel – including ALEC Engineering and Construction, Mirage and GAJ, Atkins and Arabtec – of failing to implement fire safety requirements and thus contribute to the spread of fire.
The company demanded reimbursement of the insurance amounts they had paid to Emaar.
The case, however, was thrown out and a ruling in favor of the contractors was upheld by the Dubai Court of Appeal on Wednesday last week.
“Our client’s position was correctly formulated from day one, and three years later the honorable courts in Dubai upheld it,” said Sherif Hikal, founding partner at OGH Legal, acting on behalf of ALEC Engineering. and Construction.
“It was a very complex case with very complicated technical issues.”
Documents presented to the court included reports from a committee of experts which stated that the contractors had not been found at fault in any way and that the fire had been caused by an electrical short circuit.
“The technical findings of the seven-member committee concluded that there were no errors in the way the building was constructed,” said Mohamed ElGhatit of OGH Legal.
ElGhatit said complex cases similar to this would be referred to other platforms such as foreign courts or arbitration. “But recently such cases are being considered and determined by the courts of the United Arab Emirates,” he said, “which reflects a confidence in the country’s legal system.”
The decision can be appealed within 60 days.
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