James Fielding

Senior Associate

Qualifications: LLB (hons)

Practices

With over 14 years’ experience, James has acted for insurers and self-insured clients in large complex claims involving public liability, professional indemnity, home insurance, travel insurance, and workers’ compensation insurance.

James has also assisted clients with a number of multi-million dollar workplace accident claims acting for engineers, architects, property managers, project managers, builders and owners in the defence of these claims.

James works in the liability and workers compensation areas.

James is assisting the Law Society by acting as a Judge in its mock trial competition for school students.

Experience

  • Manitowoq v WFI: Multi-million dollar property damage claim relating to poor plumbing work done by the insured’s contractor at the Tony Roma’s restaurant in Perth. Indemnity for the claim was refused in reliance upon a failure to comply with an Australian Standards exclusion. The insurer’s reliance upon the exclusion was upheld on appeal with special leave to the High Court refused. [2018] WASCA 89
  • Gors v Tomlinson & Anor: Plaintiff fell through the insured’s veranda roof while working on the roof. Multi-million dollar claim against the insured home owner for a serious head injury. The insured was successful at trial on all three grounds of the defence including obvious risk, not foreseeable and the accident would have occurred in any event even with a warning. Plaintiff’s appeal challenging the interpretation of s 5O of the CLA (obvious risk) was dismissed. [2020] WASCA 164
  • Suspicious claim involving a fall at the insured’s premises followed by a further unwitnessed fall at the plaintiff’s home that allegedly caused a greater injury. Extensive past medical history review and surveillance of the plaintiff reduced the claim to just the first minor accident (confirmed by CCTV footage) and $45,000 compensation down from the plaintiff’s claim of over $700,000.
  • Balcony collapse claim against a builder that failed to identify a defect while doing maintenance work just prior to the accident. The builder had a limited retainer on what works he was engaged to do but there was an argument that the defect was obvious and the retainer consisted of a one page handwritten note. Negotiated a walk away dismissal of the claim against the builder after obtaining supporting engineering and building expert evidence.
  • McLoughlin v John Holland & Ors: Claim dismissed in reliance upon a statutory limitation period with leave refused for the plaintiff to obtain an extension of the limitation period due to its failure to identify the right defendant. [2018] WADC 75
  • A worker assisting with rounding up sheep for pregnancy scans alleging a back injury. Extensive past medical history review in circumstances where the plaintiff may have injured herself outside of work while riding a horse. Significant reduction in the worker’s claim for risks of litigation identified from the medical reports obtained regarding the potential cause of the injury and whether it was a workplace accident.
  • A worker injured his back at home when lifting a heavy rubbish bin. Allegedly injured his back at work a few weeks later. After extensive medical examination and review of the past medical records, it was established that despite the worker’s claim that he had been pain-free before the alleged workplace accident the cause of his current symptoms were not accident related.

Latest thinking

Insurance | 17 Jun 2021

Principal’s duty of care considered: subcontracting work, subcontracting duty of care to workers on site?

The District Court of Western Australia recently delivered its decision in favour of Principal Contractor Schneider Electric in the case of Clark v Schneider Electric (Australia) Pty Ltd [2021] WADC 11.