June has been a busy month for the judiciary

Seems it’s not just lawyers who are pedalling hard to get to the end of the financial year – June has seen several decisions handed down in the NSW  Supreme Court which will be of interest to litigators, particularly those practising in personal injury and medical negligence. Below is an overview of some of those key decisions, over the next few weeks I will unpack each of them.

Mace v Justice and Forensic Health Network; The Geo Group Australia v Vero [2016] NSWSC 803. Mace settled a claim against Geo Group for injuries sustained whilst he was in inmate at Parklea Correctional Centre. Geo Group sought indemnity from its Medical Malpractice Civil Liability Insurance policy after Vero denied indemnity. An interesting decision on what amounts to “healthcare services” and the interpretation of insurance policies.

Stefanyszyn v Brown; Brown v Newcastle Private Hospital [2016] NSWSC 826Mrs Brown’s husband and daughters commenced proceedings against Dr Stefanyszyn under the Compensation to Relatives Act and for nervous shock following Mrs Brown’s death as a result of post operative complications. The doctor settled the claim, however the doctors cross claim against Newcastle Private Hospital proceeded to trial. The case contains a useful discussion of the scope of duty of a private hospital, causation and apportionment of liability between the hospital and treating doctor.

Porter v Le [2016] NSWSC 849   An interlocutory decision discussing the practicalities of expert conclaves. It is well known that expert conclaves, particularly of medical experts, can be useful in defining the issues in dispute. However that is not always the case; if there are too many experts, or the questions are not framed correctly, it may simply result in an increase in costs. Such issues are discussed in this case where orders were sought relating to an expert conclave of up to potentially 20 medical experts.

Sorbello v South Western Sydney Local Area Health Service; Sultan v South Western Sydney Local Area Health Service [2016] NSWSC849.  South Western Sydney Local Area Health Service admitted that it breached its duty of care to the parents of a child who suffered a brain injury during child birth. The issue before the Court was whether that breach caused the the parents a compensable mental harm. The case includes a detailed discussion of the relevant provisions of the Civil Liability Act, damages and the availability of a Jones v Dunkel inference.

If you wish to keep up to date with issues and developments relevant to professionals follow Julie Somerville, Principal at Meridian Lawyers on LinkedIn.

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