An insurance company that was ordered to pay over a billion dirhams in damages for the 2015 New Year’s Eve fire in Dubai has lost a civil lawsuit it filed to try to get the money back.
Two years after the massive fire at the Address Downtown hotel, Orient Insurance was ordered to pay AED1.25 billion (more than $340 million) in damages to state-backed Dubai property developer Emaar. Emaar is behind projects such as the world’s tallest skyscraper, the Burj Khalifa.
Orient then filed a civil lawsuit in 2018 against the contractors who worked on the design, construction and maintenance of the hotel. It stated that they did not comply with fire safety requirements, which contributed to the spread of fire.
Orient Insurance asked the contractors to pay the insurance claim paid by Emaar. The case involved leading contractors including Belhasa JV, Arabtec, Mirage and ALEC Engineering and Construction.
Court documents show that a seven-member panel of experts concluded that the fire was caused by a short circuit in a searchlight. He also stated that there was no conclusive evidence that the defendants had technical errors or irregularities, and that the cladding of the building may have contributed to the spread of the fire, but was not the cause.
“The report confirmed our client’s position that he correctly built the facility he was tasked with building,” said Mohamed El-Ghatit, a lawyer representing state-owned ALEC Engineering and Construction.
In recent years, large-scale fires have occurred in the skyscrapers of Dubai and other cities in the United Arab Emirates. Building and safety experts have named a popular type of building cladding that can be highly flammable. Authorities say they have changed the emirate’s fire safety regulations to eliminate the danger.
The court decision against Orient was made last week.
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