In Quadra Commodities S.A. v Ergo Versicherung AG & Ors  EWHC 2687 (Comm) the Commercial Court refused the defendant cargo insurers leave to amend their Defence and submit a Counterclaim in respect of alleged non-disclosure on the claimants’ part.
The cargo insurance claim, due to be heard in January 2013, concerned a shipment of soybeans that suffered heat damage during storage in warehouses in Indonesia.
The defendants alleged that the claimants failed to make several disclosures including their knowledge that the warehouses were owned by the buyers of the cargo and were in a dirty condition.
The judge found the defendants’ submissions concerning non-disclosure to be untenable and accordingly rejected the defendants’ application.
This decision should serve as a warning to insurers that they should consider all possible defences at the outset as the courts may not entertain subsequent applications to amend their pleadings.