Specialty Magnetics Ltd v Agilent Technologies LDA UK Ltd [2020] 6 WLUK 398

21st Jul 2020

Jennifer Jones successfully obtained an order that multiple allegations of breach against her client should be struck out of the proceedings as statute barred.

She acted for a Defendant magnet manufacturer (Specialty Magnetics Ltd ) in a £26 million dispute concerning the development of a magnetic resonance scanner that was intended to be used to detect and monitor cancer inter-operatively as well as diagnostically.

Jennifer’s client was retained to manufacture the superconducting electromagnet for the scanner under a 2003 contract.  It delivered the magnet in 2005.  Proceedings were issued in May 2018 alleging that the magnet was defective by reason of an excessive helium boil-off rate.

The Claimant (Agilent Technologies LDA UK Ltd) claimed under three types of warranty, each of which was alleged to be a continuing warranty that had to be complied with either up until the present date, or alternatively until 2014, when the project was mothballed.

  1. The first type was a warranty of compliance with the manufacturing specifications that were contained within the contract between the parties.
  2. The second type was an alleged warranty to take steps to correct the situation if the magnet did not operate with zero boil off.  That warranty was said to have been given during the testing phase.
  3. The third type was a warranty as to performance that was said to have been contained in each of numerous remedial contracts entered into from time to time from 2005 – 2012 (the claim under 23 of 25 remedial works contracts was statute barred on the Defendant’s analysis).

The first and third categories of warranty were struck out as statute barred on the basis that it was not realistically arguable that those warranties were continuing warranties as alleged.  The court held that it was arguable that the second category of warranty may be a continuing warranty and ordered that issue to be determined at trial.

Jennifer Jones (instructed by Hill Dickinson) for the Defendant

26 June 2020



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