De Minims in Noise Induced Hearing Loss Claims

March 10, 2016

The County Court in Birmingham has provided its judgment on the controversial issue of de minimis in noise induced hearing loss claims in the case of Childs v Brass & Alloy Pressings (Deritend) Ltd (DJ Kelly 21st December 2015 Birmingham County Court)Henry Vanderpump represented the Claimant instructed by Roberts Jackson solicitors.

Mr Childs suffered only 2.02 dB of hearing loss over 1, 2 and 3 kHz as a result of noise exposure. The Defendant argued that this did not leave the Claimant appreciably worse off applying the judgment of HHJ Freeman in Holloway v Tyne Thames Ltd (HHJ Freeman 7th May 2015 Newcastle County Court).   In that case HHJ Freeman did not even accept a 3dB loss would justify an award of damages.

The Court in Birmingham did not accept that the principle of de minimis applied to the case of Mr Childs despite his low level of noise induced hearing loss. The Judge found references to the previous cases of Briggs v RHM Frozen Foods Ltd (HHJ Coe QC 30th July 2015 Sheffield County Court) and Hinchliffe v Cadbury Ltd (HHJ Gosnell 12th May 2015 Leeds County Court) decisive.  Mr Childs would require hearing aids five years sooner than would otherwise have been the case and therefore his injury was not de minimis and valued general damages at £4,000.

The judgment in each case can be downloaded below:

Childs Judgment

Briggs Judgment 

Hinchliffe Judgment 

Karen Jackson, CEO and Co-Founder of Roberts Jackson, has reported the case on LinkedIn.