Building structures that contain hazardous materials in open spaces may cause nearby residents to file complaints. Brought before the Supreme Court of New South Wales this month was a case against the Liverpool City Council from a man who claimed that he suffered significant loss from the Council's decision to build asbestos-containing earth mounds near his and other concerned home owners' residences.
In October of 2014, the Council built 12 earth mounds along Rickard Road in the Chipping Norton area. The mounds were comprised of stockpile fill material that the Council managed via one of its depots.
The Council received a report in early 2015 from a contractor who showed that small amounts of amosite asbestos had been found in the earth mound that was near the plaintiff's house. In June of 2015, the Council then removed the mounds and informed city residents that the mounds contained fragments of asbestos.
After the mounds had been removed and the community learned of the contamination, the property of the plaintiff was tested by outside specialists. The results identified traces of asbestos fibre on the plaintiff's property, outside of his house. That was the only reported asbestos contamination finding on his property as well as the properties of nearby home owners.
The plaintiff claimed that he and the other home owners nearby had experience economic loss in addition to anxiety and distress because of the mounds.
The Council identified that the source of the asbestos fibre found on the plaintiff's property could have been a roof on a building nearby that was identified as a weathered corrugated asbestos roof. One of the experts hired by the Council stated that they found no evidence that the asbestos found was at all related to the mounds formerly near the property.
The Council claimed that it had not been negligent in the material sourcing used when constructing the mounds. The Council also denied that the mounds caused any sort of nuisance in the area.
A settlement was proposed by the parties that the Council pay the plaintiff $200,000 for costs and disbursements.
While the court found that it was not likely to be proven that the Council had been negligent or that there was even any amount of asbestos contained in the mounds, the settlement was approved.
If you are a victim of a personal injury, you may be entitled to public liability compensation. We offer free phone and face-to-face consultations, so contact us at Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers today.