A multi-millionaire motivational speaker who was sued after his £4m house was built too close to his neighbours has lost a High Court fight over insurance.
Alex MacPhail, 56, was dragged to court by web entrepreneur neighbour Tom Gueterbock and his wife Helen, who claimed he had staged a “land grab”.
The offending development was a cellar room extending under the boundary separating the two Wandsworth, southwest London, homes.
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The couple demanded that Alex fill the basement, which was dug underneath the walls of their home, and demolish part of his house in order to move it a few inches away from them.
The toxic spat ended between the neighbours last year, with the motivational speaker paying £530,000 to the couple.
Following this defeat, litigious Alex then took the property’s developers, Henderson Court Ltd (HCL), and their insurer, Allianz Insurance Plc, to court over his losses.
A High Court ruling following five days of hearings cemented a previous decision in Central London County Court, which rejected Alex’s claim that the insurer had to pay out for the developer’s mistake.
Judge Nicholas Parfitt ruled that HCL was liable for Alex’s massive losses, but rejected his claim that the insurer had to pay out for the colossal mistake.
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Justice Marcus Smith said a claim against the insurers cannot be made because the disastrous choice to build so close to the Gueterbocks' house was "not an accident,”.
This means that while HCL is still liable to Alex, its insurer does not have to pay up under the policy.
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While the local council allowed HCL to build a basement directly underneath the house and no further, builders instead extended the basement underneath the alleyway.
Developers HCL were found to have acted with a "high level of recklessness" which while not done "intentionally" was considered "non-accidental".
The Daily Star has contacted Alex MacPhail’s lawyer and Allianz for comment. We were unable to contact HCL for comment.
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