Sparton sued and won other growers and processors

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Sparton sued and won. Other growers and processors appealed because they suffered harm in not being able to sell to WA because they had been within 20km of the infected potatoes (statute enforced 5 year quarantine). HELD: Unanimously in favour of the plaintiffs. Affirmed Caltex as precedent. RULES: Reasonable foreseeability + salient features (Gleeson, Gummo, Hayne, Callanan)/policy considerations (Kirby). SALIENT FEATURES: McHugh: Vulnerable plaintiff – just as important as indeterminate liability. McHugh and Hayne: Could have found out who was in the radius (no problem of indeterminate liability) . Gross negligence . McHugh: Already owed duty to Sparton – no interference with legitimate business activities – Kirby: activities weren’t legitimate (illegal). Better suited to another law ? Physical proximity – appellants were in physical proximity to Spartan. Be careful to oppose a duty – there are also second line/ripple affect victims e.g. shops – courts must recognise. SUMMARY: (McHugh) Reasonable foreseeability, indeterminate liability, unreasonable burden on autonomy, vulnerability, knowledge of specific plaintiffs, no other factors relevant.
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Johnson Tiles Pty Ltd v Esso (2003) FACTS: Gas crisis due to the Lonford plant exploding which was under Esso’s management. Many people were inconvenienced for a 1-2 week period. There was a class action brought on behalf of consumers – commercial (loss of profits)/domestic (purchase of electric goods/take away). Also workers suffered. Johnson Tiles was part way through production of tiles – they had a slurry ready for moulding. They had to keep stirring until gas came back to prevent property damage – cost money = pure economic loss. HELD: All cases for pure economic loss failed. No DOC. Claims for property damage succeeded. DOC. RULES: (Gillard) Property damage presumes a duty of care. Do not presume DOC for PEL by act. Reasonable foreseeability + salient features. SALIENT FEATURES: Indeterminate liability (not an issue for consumers but is for employees – unknown what each plant would do.) Floodgates – not an issue. Interference with economic freedom (already owed a duty to employees – no conflict). Vulnerable plaintiffs – plaintiffs had the benefit of knowing of the risk and could take precautions. Regime of contracts – better suited to contract law . Statutory regime (courts won’t make D go against statute). Reliance by plaintiff and undertaking of responsibility by defendant . Consistency with community standards of legitimate pursuit of personal advantage. CRUCIAL TO PUBLIC INTEREST: IF ESSO WENT BUST WE COULDN’T GET GAS
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3 rd Party Breach of Contract and Undertaking Hill v Van Erp FACTS: Solicitor was writing up will for testator who wanted to leave everything to her friend. Solicitor negligently got future beneficiaries husband to witness the will making it void under QLD law.
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