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David Pliener
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Very capable advocate, offering great strategic and commercial advice and excellent knowledge of the law.

Legal 500

He is a superb advocate who is extremely likeable and very able

Chambers UK

Clearly a silk in the making

Legal 500

Incredibly bright, client-friendly and excellent across the board

Chambers UK

David is an expert in Construction and Engineering, Insurance and Commercial work.  He also specialises in Property Damage and Professional Negligence work.

Well versed in complex and high value disputes representing clients in litigation, arbitration, adjudication and mediation, his expertise covers the international as well as the domestic and he has worked across a number of jurisdictions including the Bahamas and the Cayman Islands. Recent work has included disputes concerning construction projects in Peru and Georgia.

Clearly a silk in the making” (Legal 500), he is known as “very insightful, a good advocate” (Chambers UK).  Recognised by clients and legal directories alike for the fact that he is “a very commercial problem solver, who is brilliant with lay clients and an active part of the legal team” (Chambers Global), David is someone who “is very incisive and picks out the important issues from a significant number of documents” (Legal 500).

David is a regular and popular speaker both internally and for external conference providers.  He also writes for Practical Law, LexisNexis and other publications.

Outside of the law, David divides his time between family, friends and football; not always in that order.

Construction Litigation

David is a well-respected construction barrister, recommended by both Chambers UK, Chambers Global and Legal 500 as a leading junior for not only Construction and Insurance but also Property Damage.  “He is calm, incisive, won’t be bullied and stands his ground.  He is a sharp and quick-witted advocate” (Chambers UK).  “A very commercial problem solver who is brilliant with lay clients” (Chambers Global).

His wide experience of high value litigation, arbitration, adjudication as well as pay and delay disputes covers the full range of construction and engineering work including problems with design, defective work, joint venture disputes, property damage, professional indemnity claims, fraud and conspiracy, business interruption and contractual interpretation.  He has been involved in some of the largest recent cases such as Accolade v VolkerFitzpatrick and is frequently involved in landmark decisions such as VolkerFitzpatrick v Twintec.

He represents contractors, sub-contractors, construction and engineering professionals, property owners and insurance companies in the UK and internationally.

The Property Damage and Insurance tabs on his profile shows his experience in handling property damage claims and construction insurance disputes including CAR, professional indemnity, product liability and public liability policies.  He regularly advises on coverage and avoidance issues.

He has considerable experience of adjudications (see his Adjudication tab) and is a TECBAR accredited adjudicator (see his Adjudicator profile).

Recent Work:

  • Ashe/Elim v DGT & HTS [2017] TCC: multi-million pound four party TCC dispute arising out of the collapse of the City Gates Christian Centre in Ilford.
  • Lancaster Gate Development [2018] TCC: multi-million pound multi-party dispute concerning defects and damage to a prestigious central London development.
  • C v C [2017]: multi-million pound dispute over cladding and window defects in two London high rise blocks.
  • Accolade v VolkerFitzpatrick et al [2015] (TCC): One of The Lawyer’s top 20 cases concerning a £150m dispute about the defective piling and floor slab in Europe’s largest wine warehouse.
  • K v T: Multi-million pound dispute concerning the installation of a prototype tidal energy device in Ramsey Sound.
  • Cohen & Cohen v VolkerFitzpatrick: David acted for design and build contractors in relation to a claim arising out of the refurbishment of a hotel and basement function suite in London.
  • Multi-million pound dispute concerning the design and installation of a marine meteorological mast to accompany 140 wind turbines off the UK coast.
  • RC v Insurers: US$150m international arbitration concerning rebuilding works after a hurricane in Grand Cayman.
  • AMEC/Carillion v Atkins [2010] (TCC): £15m professional indemnity dispute arising out of the construction of a new runway at Manchester Airport.

Construction - Insurance

The detail of David’s construction insurance practice can be found in his Insurance profile.

Property Damage

A substantial part of David’s practice involves handling large and complex property damage disputes where his expertise in construction and insurance are greatly valued.

He has wide experience of very high value domestic and international litigation, arbitration and mediation in this area.

He is a very popular barrister whose strategic thinking, persuasive written work, effective advocacy and ability to connect with clients means that he is regularly used by top firms for property damage claims.

Recent Work:

  • St Pancras v Galliford Try & Legrend: claim following escape of water at Marriott Hotel.
  • S v H: fire claim in London tower block.
  • Accolade/VolkerFitzpatrick v Stewart & Harris: £200m dispute relating to defects and damage to the largest warehouse in Europe. Complicated issues relating to structural piling and ground damage.
  • Ashe/Elim v DGT & HTS: dispute following the collapse of a six-storey church. Complicated insurance issues related to the property damage.
  • N v W: acting for a utilities company in relation to cable damage. David is also advising on related insurance and statutory claims.
  • Crown House v CCL, Emmerson & ESL: damage to chiller units caused by water being retained over the winter period.
  • R v K: claim arising out of an oil leak at a hospital from pipework alleged to have been carried out as part of a redevelopment project.

Adjudication

David is regularly involved in all manner of adjudications, including payment disputes, delay claims and substantial professional negligence claims. He works closely with the legal team and client to make the best use of the limited time available so as to maximise the impact of the case and achieve the best result for the client.

David is also a TECBAR accredited adjudicator and is happy to accept instructions as an adjudicator on an ad hoc agreed basis (see his Adjudicator profile).

Recent Work:

  • VolkerFitzpatrick v Twintec [2014] BLR 150: decision on when adjudications are oppressive and on the importance of following the contractual appointment mechanism.
  • H v S: £6m M+E claim concerning a landmark city development.
  • C v R: defects and LAD claim arising out of the redevelopment of a military base in respect of a £20m contract.
  • S v M: multi-million pound dispute concerning the contractual interpretation of a long-term maintenance contract and issues of good faith.
  • B v N: Part 8 claim seeking to resolve issues raised in adjudication as part of the enforcement process.

Construction Arbitration

A significant proportion of David’s construction work involves arbitration claims, both domestic and international.

Recent Work:

  • RC v Insurers: US$150m international arbitration concerning rebuilding works after a hurricane in Grand Cayman.
  • P v D: £4m international arbitration concerning the dismantling and relocation of a chemical plant from France to India.
  • L v W: domestic arbitration over the meaning and application of a construction development contract.
  • V v A: insurance arbitration concerning coverage dispute over damage caused to a central London development.
  • C v CS: dispute involving applicability and effect of an arbitration clause in a framework agreement.

Construction Insurance

David regularly acts and advises on coverage and policy issues, especially in the construction insurance field, including policies of professional indemnity and all risks. He has acted for many of the leading insurers and continues to act in numerous high value and significant insurance disputes on both coverage and subrogated claims.

David acts for insurers and utility suppliers in fire and flood property damage disputes, including coverage and avoidance issues and for insurance companies and professionals in professional indemnity disputes, often in construction related areas but also in other areas of professional negligence, especially that of solicitors.

Seen by the legal directories as “a real star for construction-related coverage matters” (Legal 500), he is recommended by both Chambers UK and Legal 500 for Insurance/Reinsurance and Professional Negligence as well as for Property Damage in Chambers UK.  He has been shortlisted for Insurance Junior of the Year at the Chambers Bar Awards 2018.

Recent Work:

  • AGL: US$100m claim for remedial works and delay in start-up cover relating to a massive hydro-electric tunnel complex constructed to funnel water to a turbine in Georgia.
  • I v M: £20m claim arising out of damage to a thermal power plant in South America. The insurance coverage claim relates to both local and international policies.
  • Lancasters v Z: multi-million pound coverage dispute under dicennial policies.
  • Advising PL insurers in relation to a very large number of claims arising out cavity wall insulation.
  • Advising on the insurance aspects to defects which have arisen post completion of construction of a major port.
  • Accolade/VolkerFitzpatrick v Stewart & Harris: £200m dispute relating to defects and damage to the largest warehouse in Europe. Complicated issues relating to structural piling and ground damage.
  • Ashe/Elim v DGT & HTS: dispute following the collapse of a six-storey church. Complicated insurance issues related to the property damage.
  • V v A: “Defect or damage” coverage dispute over multi-million losses on a major construction project.
  • Vaughan v Zurich: Coverage dispute over professional indemnity policy in relation to a £5m claim arising out of the £23m redevelopment of the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.

Professional Indemnity Insurance

David acts and advises on numerous professional indemnity policy issues. For details of his construction related PI insurance work, please see his Construction Insurance tab. David’s experience of non-construction PI claims is set out below.

Recent Work:

  • Advising reinsurers on coverage in relation to a £20m medical malpractice policy issue.
  • Dispute over solicitor’s PI policy concerning defence costs for SRA and SDT actions.
  • Advising on the aggregation of claims against a solicitor’s firm following the AIG case in the Supreme Court.

He has been shortlisted for Insurance Junior of the Year at the Chambers Bar Awards 2018.

Insurance Coverage

David handles a wide variety of insurance coverage disputes. Those relating to construction projects are covered in that tab. His general experience is set out below.

Recent work

  • Port of Tilbury v Stema: A £2m claim arising out of a ground failure at Tilbury docks which occurred when Stema were unloading material onto their site, leased from the Port.
  • David is advising re-insurers on coverage in relation to a £20m medical malpractice policy issue.
  • RGA v Towergate: Multi-million £ dispute commission dispute between underwriter and insurance intermediary in the property markets.
  • RJW v Chartis: Coverage dispute as to whether solicitor’s PI policy responded in relation to defence costs incurred in defending SRA and SDT actions.
  • Yeates v Aviva [2012] EWCA Civ 634: Appearing in Court of Appeal for insured seeking to set aside summary judgment entered on basis of fraudulent claim. Issues also concerned principles to be applied on extension of time to appeal.

He has been shortlisted for Insurance Junior of the Year at the Chambers Bar Awards 2018.

Construction Professionals

David is recommended by both Chambers UK and Legal 500 as a leading junior for Professional Negligence work.

His practice encompasses substantial construction and construction-related professional negligence disputes and he has wide experience of very high value domestic and international litigation, arbitration and adjudication.

He regularly represents contractors, construction professionals, property owners and insurance companies and has particular expertise in construction insurance issues.

A very large proportion of David’s construction cases concern the alleged negligence of construction professionals and he also has wide experience of claims against legal and financial advisers.

Recent work

  • Claim against project managers/contract administrators for failing to advise as to the best method of procurement and for allowing costs to run out of hand.
  • Ashe/Elim v DGT & HTS [2017] TCC: multi-million pound four party TCC dispute arising out of the collapse of the City Gates Christian Centre in Ilford.
  • Lancaster Gate Development [2018] TCC: multi-million pound multi-party dispute concerning defects and damage to a prestigious central London development.
  • C v C [2017]: multi-million pound dispute over cladding and window defects in two London high rise blocks.
  • Accolade v VolkerFitzpatrick et al [2015] (TCC): One of The Lawyer’s top 20 cases concerning a £150m dispute about the defective piling and floor slab in Europe’s largest wine warehouse.
  • K v T: Multi-million pound dispute concerning the installation of a prototype tidal energy device in Ramsey Sound.
  • Cohen & Cohen v VolkerFitzpatrick: David acted for design and build contractors in relation to a claim arising out of the refurbishment of a hotel and basement function suite in London.
  • Multi-million £ dispute concerning the design and installation of a marine meteorological mast to accompany 140 wind turbines off the UK coast.
  • AMEC/Carillion v Atkins [2010] (TCC): £15m professional indemnity dispute arising out of the construction of a new runway at Manchester Airport.

Commercial Litigation

David has extensive experience of domestic and international commercial disputes including substantial trade/contractual disputes, professional negligence, civil fraud and utilities disputes.  His work involves him not only in commercial litigation before the English courts but also arbitration and mediation.

David acts for a variety of businesses in relation to the commercial disputes they encounter, from investment bankers to leading UK car dealerships, significant PLCs to cutting edge IT ventures. The disputes typically derive from commercial deals which have gone wrong and, more recently, fallout from the credit crunch.

He has particular experience in obtaining emergency interim remedies and a strong track record in obtaining favourable results through mediation where his skills as a “commercial problem solver” (Chambers UK) are put to good use.

Recent work

  • Iceberg v Megmax: claim concerning diversion of business opportunity in relation to supply of fireboard from China.
  • STA v Millward: Multi-million pound claim by national charity against their former CEO for fraud and other breaches.
  • M v G: Claim for commission payable on introduction of multi-million £ business venture to a multi-national investment firm.
  • Limitless Mobile v Murphy et al: emergency injunctive relief obtained against an ex-manager who diverted the company’s domain name and email account.
  • 20:20 London v Riley [2012] EWHC 1912 (Ch): the leading case on the question of rectification and mistake arising out of a SPA.
  • R v Insurers: £m dispute arising out of the enforcement of an arbitration decision.
  • G v W: Multi-million £ construction company fraud.
  • Singh v Anglian [2012] (TCC): claim arising out of the design and construction of a first time sewage system in Norfolk.

Directory recommendations

David is recommended by both Chambers UK and Legal 500 for Construction, Insurance and Professional Negligence.  Chambers UK also recognises him for Property Damage.  He is recommended for Construction in Chambers Global.

The directories state:

  • “Very impressive. He’s extremely personable and sharp as a tack.” “Very bright.” (Chambers UK)
  • “The written material is very on point; he strips it down to the bare essentials and grasps the key issues very quickly.” (Chambers UK)
  • “Very knowledgeable, very thorough and bright.” (Chambers UK)
  • “He’s very good with clients and excellent at boiling matters down to the key issues. He’s a details man but he isn’t too verbose about things.” (Chambers UK)
  • “His performance was legally sound, commercially practical and tactically excellent.” (Chambers UK)
  • “David’s mix of intellect and pragmatism is valued by clients, and his enthusiasm for cases shines through. A very commercial problem solver who is brilliant with lay clients and an active part of the legal team.” (Chambers UK)
  •  “A pleasure to work with, he’s very approachable and highly responsive. He is on top of the detail and knows the insurance and construction markets inside out.” (Chambers UK)
  • “Very capable advocate, offering great strategic and commercial advice and excellent knowledge of the law.” (Legal 500)
  • “Approachable, accessible and impressively marshals the case details.” (Legal 500)
  • “Very clear and concise, and his written work is exceptional.” (Legal 500)
  • “He is unflappable, with deep knowledge and a light touch.” (Legal 500)

He has been shortlisted for Insurance Junior of the Year at the Chambers Bar Awards 2018.

Professional associations

  • TECBAR (Committee Member)
  • Society of Construction Lawyers
  • Professional Negligence Bar Association
  • British Insurance Law Association
  • Adjudication Society
  • COMBAR
  • London Common Law and Commercial Bar Association
  • London Court of International Arbitration

Publications

  • Contributor to Construction All Risks Insurance (Sweet & Maxwell)
  • Contributor to Construction Professional Indemnity Insurance (Sweet & Maxwell)
  • Contributor to Insurance Broking Practice and the Law edited by CMS Cameron McKenna (Informa looseleaf)

Qualifications

  • BSc (Hons) First Class
  • Dip Law
  • Tecbar Adjudicator
  • ADR ODR Accredited Mediator
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