Category Archives: Damages

Sharp v Stephen Guinery t/as Port Kembla Hotel and Port Kembla RSL Club [2001] NSWSC 336 | 23 April 2001

ON THIS DAY in 2001, Justice Peter McClellan of the Supreme Court of NSW delivered Sharp v Stephen Guinery t/as Port Kembla Hotel and Port Kembla Rsl Club [2001] NSWSC 336 (23 April 2001).

“Judgment on application for verdict by direction

negligence action

whether plaintiff precluded from putting a case in negligence to jury

whether evidence of breach of duty

whether evidence which could establish that the taking of any step would have eliminated risk of plaintiff’s injury

whether evidence before the jury that the risk of injury from tobacco smoke was reasonably foreseeable

whether rule in Browne v Dunn has application

s 23(4), s 42(1) Factories, Shops & Industries Act 1962″

Sharp had sought damages from her employer alleging that her exposure to tobacco smoke as a barmaid resulted in her suffering from laryngeal cancer.  The case was heard before a jury.

The judgment led to jury directions which resulted in a finding that the cancer was caused, or materially contributed to, by the employer’s negligence.

On 2 May 2001, the jury awarded Sharp damages of $466,000 plus costs.

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/nsw/NSWSC/2001/336.html

Lawyers

1300 00 2088

Tabet v Gett [2010] HCA 12 | 21 April 2010

ON 21 APRIL 2010, the High Court of Australia delivered Tabet v Gett [2010] HCA 12 (21 April 2010).

“NEGLIGENCE – Medical negligence – Damage – Loss of chance – Appellant suffered irreversible brain damage – Respondent’s delay in providing proper treatment breached duty of care owed to appellant – Where not established on balance of probabilities that breach caused any part of brain damage – Where breach at most caused loss of less than 50% chance of better outcome – Whether law of tort recognises or should recognise loss of chance of better outcome as damage giving rise to liability in negligence – Relevance of policy considerations concerning extension of liability in medical negligence cases.

NEGLIGENCE – Medical negligence – Damage – Loss of chance – Trial judge assessed as 40% the lost chance of better outcome – Court of Appeal found evidence supported no more than 15% chance of better outcome – Whether evidence sufficient to establish loss of chance of better outcome – Whether inference could properly be drawn from evidence as to loss of chance.

WORDS AND PHRASES – “balance of probabilities”, “damage”, “gist of the action”, “loss of a chance of a better outcome”, “standard of proof”.”

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/HCA/2010/12.html

The law of negligence does not allow for damages to be awarded when the breach of duty of care causes less than a 50% chance of a better outcome.

Lawyers

Sydney, Australia

1300 00 2088

Nagle v Rottnest Island Authority [1993] HCA 76 | 21 April 1993

ON 21 APRIL 1993, the High Court of Australia delivered Nagle v Rottnest Island Authority [1993] HCA 76; 177 CLR 423; (1993) Aust Torts Reporter 81-211; (1993) 112 ALR 393; (1993) 67 ALJR 426 (21 April 1993).

Nagle became a quadriplegic after diving into a swimming hole and striking his head on a submerged rock.  It was known to Rottnest that visitors engaged in this activity.

Rottnest was liable to pay Nagle damages as it had breached its duty of care to Nagle to warn him of the risk of submerged rocks.

The risk was foreseeable: “Whether small or not, the risk was certainly not far-fetched or fanciful.”

The accident was cased by a failure on the part of Rottnest to erect a sign.

The Civil Liability Acts have since altered the obligations and responsibilities of public authorities and occupiers in such situations.

Lawyers

Sydney, Australia

1300 00 2088

Hawkins v Clayton [1988] HCA 15 | 8 April 1988

ON 8 APRIL 1988, the High Court of Australia delivered Hawkins v Clayton [1988] HCA 15; (1988) 164 CLR 539 (8 April 1988).

A firm of solicitors was held to be negligent by failing to take reasonable steps to locate an executor (a non-client) following the death of a testatrix (a client whose will they prepared and retained for safe keeping) for some six years after the testatrix’s death.  The solicitors were held to be liable to pay damages for the loss suffered by the executor (who was also a residuary beneficiary) in not being able to manage the estate during the period of delay.

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/HCA/1988/15.html

Lawyers

Sydney, Australia

1300 00 2088

Miller v Jackson [1977] EWCA Civ 6 | 6 April 1977

ON THIS DAY in 1977, the England and Wales Court of Appeal delivered Miller v Jackson [1977] EWCA Civ 6 (06 April 1977).  A cricket club was sued in negligence and nuisance caused by cricket balls landing on a neighbour’s property.  Whilst ordering damages, the court refused to grant an injunction to cease the action or further action as the game of cricket itself was considered to be in the public interest.

Lord Denning began with the following:

“In summertime village cricket is the delight of everyone. Nearly every village has its own cricket field where the young men play and the old men watch. In the village of Lintz in County Durham they have their own ground, where they have played these last seventy years. They tend it well. The wicket area is well rolled and mown. The outfield is kept short. It has a good club-house for the players and seats for the onlookers. The village team play there on Saturdays and Sundays. They belong to a league, competing with the neighbouring villages. On other evenings after work they practice while the light lasts. Yet now after these 70 years a Judge of the High Court has ordered that they must not play there anymore, lie has issued an injunction to stop them. He has done it at the instance of a newcomer who is no lover of cricket. This newcomer has built, or has had built for him, a house on the edge of the cricket ground which four years ago was a field where cattle grazed. The animals did not mind the cricket. But now this adjoining field has been turned into a housing estate. The newcomer bought one of the houses on the edge of the cricket ground. No doubt the open space was a selling point. Now he complains that, when a batsman hits a six, the ball has been known to land in his garden or on or near his house. His wife has got so upset about it that they always go out at weekends. They do not go into the garden when cricket is being played. They say that this is intolerable. So they asked the Judge to stop the cricket being played. And the Judge, I am sorry to say, feels that the cricket must be stopped: with the consequences, I suppose, that the Lintz cricket-club will disappear. The cricket ground will be turned to some other use. I expect for more houses or a factory. The young men will turn to other things instead of cricket. The whole village will be much the poorer. And all this because of a newcomer who has just bought a house there next to the cricket ground.”

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/1977/6.html

Lawyers

1300 00 2088

Hadley v Baxendale [1854] EWHC Exch J70 | 23 February 1854

ON THIS DAY IN 1854, the Court of Exchequer Chamber delivered Hadley v Baxendale [1854] EWHC Exch J70
(1854) 9 Ex Ch 341; 156 ER 145 (23 February 1854).

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Exch/1854/J70.html

The decision lays down the rule for assessing damages for breach of contract. There are two limbs: (1) losses which “may fairly and reasonably be considered either arising naturally, i.e., according to the usual course of things, from such breach of contract itself”; or (2) losses which “may reasonably be supposed to have been in the contemplation of the parties, at the time they made the contract, as the probable result of the breach of it”.

Per Alderson B:

“Now we think the proper rule is such as the present is this: Where two parties have made a contract which one of them has broken, the damages which the other party ought to receive in respect of such breach of contract should be such as may fairly and reasonably be considered either arising naturally, i.e., according to the usual course of things, from such breach of contract itself, or such as may reasonably be supposed to have been in the contemplation of both parties, at the time they made the contract, as the probable result of the breach of it. Now, if the special circumstances under which the contract was actually made where communicated by the plaintiffs to the defendants, and thus known to both parties, the damages resulting from the breach of such a contract, which they would reasonably contemplate, would be the amount of injury which would ordinarily follow from a breach of contract under these special circumstances so known and communicated. But, on the other hand, if these special circumstances were wholly unknown to the party breaking the contract, he, at the most, could only be supposed to have had in his contemplation the amount of injury which would arise generally, and in the great multitude of cases not affected by any special circumstances, from such a breach of contract. For such loss would neither have flowed naturally from the breach of this contract in the great multitude of such cases occurring under ordinary circumstances, nor were the special circumstances, which, perhaps, would have made it a reasonable and natural consequence of such breach of contract, communicated to or known by the defendants. The Judge ought, therefore, to have told the jury, that, upon the fats then before them, they ought not to take the loss of profits into consideration at all in estimating the damages. There must therefore be a new trial in this case.”

Lawyers

Sydney, Australia

1300 00 2088

Baltic Shipping Company v Dillon [1993] HCA 4 | 10 February 1993

ON THIS DAY IN 1993, the High Court of Australia delivered Baltic Shipping Company v Dillon [1993] HCA 4; (1993) 176 CLR 344; (1993) 111 ALR 289; (1993) 67 ALJR 228 (10 February 1993).

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/HCA/1993/4.html

As an exception to the rule that damages are not available for mental distress and disappointment arising from a breach of contract, such damages may be awarded if the contract in question contemplated the delivery of enjoyment, relaxation or peace of mind.

Lawyers 1300 00 2088

Nader v General Motors Corporation 25 NY2d 560, 255 NE2d 647, 307 NYS2d 647, 1970 NY | 8 January 1970

ON THIS DAY IN 1970, the Court of Appeals of New York delivered Nader v General Motors Corporation 25 NY2d 560, 255 NE2d 647, 307 NYS2d 647, 1970 NY.

http://h2o.law.harvard.edu/cases/109

Lawyers

Sydney, Australia

1300 00 2088

Silverbrook Research Pty Ltd v Lindley [2010] NSWCA 357 | 17 December 2010

ON THIS DAY in 2010, the NSW Court of Appeal delivered Silverbrook Research Pty Ltd v Lindley [2010] NSWCA 357 (17 December 2010).

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/nsw/NSWCA/2010/357.html

Lawyers

Sydney, Australia

1300 00 2088

Todorovic v Waller [1981] HCA 72 | 16 December 1981

ON 16 DECEMBER 1981, the High Court of Australia delivered Todorovic v Waller [1981] HCA 72; (1981) 150 CLR 402 (16 December 1981).

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/HCA/1981/72.html

The High Court ruled that a discount rate be applied to the assessment of lump sum damages for personal injuries so that the present value of future economic loss be discounted by 3% to allow for inflation, tax and changes in wages.

Subsequent legislation has increased the rate to 5% in most Australian jurisdictions.

 

Lawyers

1300 00 2088