Case details

Dryden and others (Appellants) v Johnson Matthey PLC (Respondent)

Case ID: UKSC 2016/0140

Case summary

  1. Whether the appellants have suffered actionable damage in the form of losses flowing from the physiological changes to their bodies caused by the respondent’s negligence;
  2. if not, whether the respondent is liable for the losses by reason of a breach of an implied term in the employment contract to keep the appellants safe at work; and/or
  3. whether the respondents owed a duty of care to hold the appellants harmless from the purely economic losses sustained

The appellants were employed by the respondent in its chemical production plants where they were negligently exposed to excessive quantities of platinum salts. They became sensitised to platinum salts and unable to continue working in an environment in which there was a risk of developing platinum allergy from further exposure. They suffered loss of earnings and/or loss of earning capacity as a result. Platinum sensitisation in itself had no discernible effects. At trial the judge held that the appellants did not have a completed cause of action in tort for personal injury, or a claim for damages in contract or a valid claim in tort for pure economic loss.

Judgment appealed

[2016] EWCA Civ 408


  1. Waynsworth Dryden
  2. Simon York
  3. Yony Cipullo

Johnson Matthey



Lady Hale, Lord Wilson, Lord Reed, Lady Black, Lord Lloyd-Jones

Hearing start date

27 Nov 2017

Hearing finish date

28 Nov 2017