Area of expertise

Insurance Law

  • Property & Industrial Special Risk Claims
  • Public & Product Liability
  • Sports Liability
  • Recoveries
  • Policy Interpretation
  • Life, Disability & Travel Insurance

James McLean

Partner Dip Law

office Sydney
phone +61 2 9234 4566

James has more than 20 years’ experience acting for Australian and international insurers and risk carrying corporations in respect to a range of insurance disputes.

Relevant experience

  • Shaw v Thomas [2010] NSWCA 169 – acted for homeowners in a public liability claim who were sued by a 10 year old boy who suffered significant head injuries while staying overnight at their house. The plaintiff fell while descending from a bunk bed with no ladder or guard rail. The clients initially lost at trial, with the plaintiff being awarded damages in excess of $1 million, but were successful on appeal. The plaintiff’s application for special leave to the High Court of Australia was refused. This case is often cited and applied in negligence cases.
  • Erwin v Iveco Trucks Australia Limited [2010] NSWCA113 – acted for an international truck manufacturer in a product liability claim worth in excess of $4 million. The plaintiff was injured when a truck manufactured by the client lost its steering and crashed into him. He sued the driver of the truck for failing to maintain it and the client for negligent design. After extensive and complex expert evidence was tendered, the Court found that the plaintiff’s injuries were suffered as a result of the driver’s failure to maintain its vehicle, rather than any negligent design and/or manufacture of the truck. The Court of Appeal confirmed the trial judge’s findings. James was successful in recovering $200,000 in costs from the plaintiff and the unsuccessful driver.
  • McCracken v Melbourne Storm Rugby League Football Club Limited and 2 others [2007] NSWCA 353 – acted for an NRL club and two rugby league players in a claim brought by Jarred McCracken, an ex-international player. The plaintiff sustained significant spinal injuries in a tackle while playing in the NRL competition. There was a 10 day trial followed by an appeal. The plaintiff established negligence but failed to prove his claim for damages. He was seeking in excess of $4 million but was only awarded $97,500, significantly less than an offer of compromise that had been served by the clients some two years earlier. The net result was that the plaintiff was required to pay $450,000 to the clients.
  • Hobona Pty Limited & Anor v Richard Gremmo [2006] NSWCA 261 – acted for a liquor licensee in a claim brought by a plaintiff who was assaulted with a broken bottle when an altercation broke out at a pub. The trial judge found that the client was negligent for not using plastic bottles and glasses. The Court of Appeal did not agree and overturned the decision. A verdict was ultimately entered on behalf of the licensee. James was successful in recovering $175,000 in costs from the plaintiff
  • Carroll v Hawkins and Golsby [2004] NSWCA [unreported] – acted for a PGA golf professional and his apprentice sued by a golfer who sustained significant head injuries after being struck by a golf ball. The apprentice, teeing off on the first hole, hit a poor shot and struck the plaintiff – who was standing on the green of the 9th hole – in the head. The plaintiff sued in negligence. The case was successfully defended at trial. The plaintiff appealed but the Court of Appeal found the decision to be correct.

Professional Membership

  • Australian Insurance Law Association