Powercor settlement approved with Weerite and Pomborneit fire victims

THE Supreme Court has approved a settlement with Powercor agreeing to pay full damages to those who suffered as a result of the Weerite and Pomborneit Black Saturday fire. 

Estimated to be worth more than $10 million, Maddens Lawyers commercial litigation principal Brendan Pendergast is hopeful a roll out of compensation will be completed by December.

The settlement was approved in the Warrnambool Supreme Court today by Justice David Beach.

In his deliberations Justice Beach said the case was hard fought, particularly on the question of the cause of the fire, and on examining the evidence it was a strong plaintiff's case.

"That said, no case is ever a certainty," he said.

"Having considered all the evidence led and tendered in this proceeding, I accept that there was only a relatively small risk of the plaintiff failing to establish a cause of action against the defendant."

Under the settlement, Powercor is required to pay victims 100 per cent of the losses to lead plaintiff Terry Place, and about 30 other Weerite and Pomborneit residents and groups, which they incurred as a result of the fire.

Mr Pendergast said he was very pleased that the court had approved the settlement terms.

"Now we can get on with rolling out the claims for every person affected by the Black Saturday fire at Weerite and Pomborneit," he said.

"We regard this as a resounding victory for Mr Place and the people of Weerite whose properties were substantially damaged in the Black Saturday fire," he said.

He said Maddens Lawyers were now in negotiations with Powercor to work out a formula and methodology for assessing losses.

He said if losses could not be outlined there was a mediation process and if that failed the assessment of losses would go back before the court.

People wishing to claim compensation for the losses and damages suffered as a result of the fire have until April 30 to register.

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