Company loses bid to recover payment from Dubai hotel fire

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – An insurance company that was ordered to pay more than 1 billion dirhams in damages for a 2015 New Year’s Eve fire in Dubai has lost a lawsuit it filed to try to recover the money.

Two years after the massive fire that rocked the Address Downtown hotel, Orient Insurance has been ordered to pay Dubai state-backed developer Emaar 1.25 billion dirhams (more than $340 million) in within the framework of a settlement. Emaar is behind projects like the tallest skyscraper in the world, 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. He said they failed to implement fire safety requirements, contributing to the spread of the fire.

Orient Insurance asked the contractors to reimburse the insurance claim it had paid to Emaar. The case involved leading contractors including Belhasa JV, Arabtec, Mirage and ALEC Engineering and Construction.

Court documents show a seven-member panel of experts concluded the fire was caused by an electrical short to a projector. He also said there was no conclusive evidence to show that there were any technical errors or breaches by the defendants, and that the building’s cladding could have contributed to the spread of the fire but did not was not the cause.

“The report confirmed our client’s position that he had properly constructed the work he was commissioned to build,” said Mohamed ElGhatit, a lawyer representing state-owned company ALEC Engineering and Construction.

Dramatic fires have hit skyscrapers in Dubai and other cities in the United Arab Emirates in recent years. Construction and safety experts have cited a popular type of coating covering buildings that can be highly flammable. Authorities say they have changed fire safety rules in the emirate to deal with the danger.

The court’s decision against Orient came last week.

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