Supreme Court OKs Weerite fire damages

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

Estimated to be worth more than $10 million, Maddens Lawyers commercial litigation principal Brendan Pendergast said a rollout of compensation should be complete by December.

The settlement was approved in the Warrnambool Supreme Court yesterday 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 100 per cent of the losses incurred by lead plaintiff Terry Place, and about 30 other Weerite and Pomborneit claimants.

Mr Pendergast said he was very pleased 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 Maddens Lawyers were now in negotiations with Powercor to work out a formula  for assessing losses.

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