Sony fire losses were due to a riot

October 2013

Recorded music


CMU Daily reports that The High Court on London has ruled that the London Mayor’s Office For Policing And Crime should be liable for the losses caused by the fire at the Sony DADC centre in North London, which was destroyed during the riots of August 2011. Amongst the materials lost in the fire was the physical stock of numerous independent labels, because distributor [PIAS] used the storage centre. The liability stems from the Riot Damages Act: Insurers for Sony had sought £49.5m for property, customer stock and business interruption while the insurers for the owners of the warehouse had wanted £9.35m for property damage and loss of rent. Counsel for the police argued that the attack on the warehouse was a “planned criminal enterprise” and a “planned raid” rather than a riot. He said the group “coordinated their activities by mobile phone or blackberry messaging” to break in to the building in a “quiet industrial area”. The Court noted that the Sony centre had been raided by “25 youths” who had earlier congregated on a nearby housing estate and that police had been warned by numerous people about a local gang causing problems the previous day, but that they had failed to act ruling that the attackers had acted “riotously” because the fire involved a large group of people behaving in an “excited, volatile manner” meaning the insurers can expect police authorities to cover many of the losses incurred as a result of the destruction of the centre. Police funds must meet the cost of damage caused by riot. In his ruling, Mr Justice Flaux said consequential losses, such as loss of rent, were not recoverable. The Mayor’s Office have sought leave to appeal”.

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