07/08/2019 - 15:23

Western Power seeking millions in class action court costs

07/08/2019 - 15:23

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Western Power is seeking an order in the Supreme Court of Western Australia to recover its costs from a class action following the Parkerville bushfire in 2014.

Slater & Gordon said Western Power delegated responsibility to Thiess.

Western Power is seeking an order in the Supreme Court of Western Australia to recover its costs from a class action following the Parkerville bushfire in 2014.

Slater & Gordon, which conducted the class action, said this action comes despite the state-owned power company having the option to claim those same costs back from the insurer of its subcontractor Thiess, under the terms of its service contract.

"The company narrowly escaped liability by delegating responsibility to Thiess, which was subsequently found liable for causing the 2014 Parkerville bushfire which razed 57 homes," Slater & Gordon said in a statement.

"Thiess, and the owner of the land on which the rotten pole that started the fire was located, were found liable in a Supreme Court trial in March this year.

"They will now have to compensate the 189 affected residents and property owners who are part of the Slater & Gordon action.

"While Western Power acknowledges it has the right to recover its costs from its negligent subcontractor, it has now chosen to first recover its legal costs directly from the victims of the Parkeville fire."

Parkerville is located in the Perth Hills, and the bushfire caused an estimated $13 million of damages.

Slater & Gordon practice group leader Rory Walsh said Western Power was acting against the best interests of the Western Australian public.

"Our clients, who are continuing to suffer the devastating financial impacts of this fire, had the courage to take on Western Power and its negligent subcontractor, and in doing so raised significant issues of safety within the Western Australian electricity networks,” Mr Walsh said.

Western Power was very, very lucky to escape liability in this case and it is now seeking its legal costs from a community already devastated by the bushfire caused by Western Power’s negligent contractor.” 

 

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