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Frustration at Toxic Sofa Payout Delay for Express Solicitors Personal Injury Lawyer


Hundreds of people who suffered burns and rashes from faulty leather sofas will now have to wait longer to find out if they are to be paid injury compensation, frustrating North West personal injury lawyer Daniel Slade, from Express Solicitors in Northenden, who expected his claims to be settled in just a few months.

Barristers in a hearing at the High Court on Friday 27 March 2009 said Argos and Walmsleys admitted selling faulty leather sofas and wanted injury compensation claims for proven injuries agreed as quickly as possible.

However, insurers of Land Leather have made the decision to contest its liability. The company went into administration in January and its insurer, Zurich, is contesting whether it is liable to provide compensation.

One of the cases Daniel had brought was against Unibrook, trading as Walmsleys, for Jean Brearley from Moston, Salford, who suffered inflammation of the skin on her legs and behind her knees having sat on a faulty leather sofa.

Associate lawyer, Daniel said: “Until we get a medical report we’re unable to say how much Jean will receive in compensation, but we expect it to be a substantial amount for the injuries she has sustained. It is likely to be several months until we win compensation for her proven injuries, particularly as the third store is contesting its liability.

“There are 11 other stores that might have to pay more than Ł10m in compensation and legal costs. It is thought to be the largest group compensation claim ever seen in British Courts.”

Lawyers are to meet in June to try to settle the claims out of court, and if not, the next hearing will be scheduled for July.

“Jean came to us after we successfully represented her following a road traffic accident, so hopefully we can win her compensation again as soon as possible,” continues Daniel.

Some leather sofas have been causing injury to consumers after allegedly being contaminated with chemicals applied to their surface.

Manufactured in China, the sofas were packed with sachets of an anti-mould chemical to stop them from going mouldy during storage in humid conditions.

Commonly known as DMF, the toxic, fine white powder has been used by some manufacturers to protect leather goods like furniture and shoes from mould, but even very small amounts can be harmful.

The stores issued a recall notice about certain batches of furniture on sale, following complaints from customers of an allergic skin reaction causing blistering, burns, rashes and itching.

James Maxey, managing partner at Express Solicitors said: “We have fielded calls from many customers who wish to claim compensation for the discomfort they’ve been through. Anybody who does have a reaction should, if possible, take photographic evidence to back their case.

“A personal injury specialist could even pursue a claim for you if you have been to visit somebody and been affected by their sofa.

“Obviously the compensation will be dependent on the severity of the symptoms, which reportedly vary from mild to very painful and severe.”

For more information and free initial advice about personal injury compensation claims contact Express Solicitors on 0800 294 6254 or visit


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