Public Risk Insurance

Our experience allows us to mix judgment, knowledge and extensive litigation expertise. The result? We have the ability to manage the full range of all public and products liability matters.

No detail is left uncovered. The dedication of our team of public and products liability lawyers is second to none. Their extensive experience includes managing personal injury claims, products liability claims, and coronial inquests and inquiries.

We act for major insurers, third party administrators, underwriters and brokers in varied jurisdictions.  Our claims experience covers small to extremely complex catastrophic claims. Some of the recent matters in which our public and product liability team has successfully represented their clients include:

Public Liability

  • A $16 million claim against a Thai restaurant where the plaintiff suffered anaphylaxis after being exposed to a minute particle of peanut.  The plaintiff suffered a cardiovascular collapse which resulted in severe brain damage requiring 24 hour nursing care.
  • A claim against the manufacturer of a bungee jumping harness clip which failed while tandem jumping in Bali, resulting in the death of 2 people. The matter involved complex international law and jurisdictional issues.
  • Defending the insurer of a strata plan where a child tragically drowned after being trapped in a spa.  Following the coronial inquiry, the coroner made recommendations to the Minister for Fair Trading calling for the ban of active main drain filters on the bottom of spas.
  • A claim in excess of $100 million representing the largest claim arising out of nervous shock in Australian legal history for corporate losses suffered by the parents of a deceased child.
  • A claim against the insurer of the “Merinda” involving a collision in the vicinity of the Harbour Bridge with the “Pam Burridge”, a Sydney Ferries vessel. Numerous personal injury claims are now being mediated or determined by the court.
  • A multi-party claim where the plaintiff sustained severe injuries on a building site after being run over by an elevated work platform.  The primary issue before the court was whether the plaintiff was a contractor, employee or deemed worker under the Workers Compensation Act 1987.

Product Liability

  • Representing the insurer on a claim against a tyre importer by a father and son where brain damage was caused to the son when a tyre came off the rim during inflation.  It was alleged the tyre was defective.  The importer and distributor of the tyre was joined to the proceedings.
  • A claim against a local fibreglass boat manufacturer following the loss of a keel which led to the loss of 2 lives at sea.  Complex expert evidence was considered at a lengthy Coronial Inquiry.
  • Acting for the insurers of the manufacturer of a metal insert used in the construction of tension bridges in Korea.  Catastrophic failure was noted in a number of bridges.
  • Representing a ski resort in relation to skiing accidents involving chair lifts where their design and maintenance was at issue.

Our senior team members include:

Yasmin Bell

Senior Associate
B Science (Forensic) (University of Newcastle) 2001, LLB (University of Newcastle) 2004

Kate Blue

Senior Associate
BA (Australian National University) 1994 / LLB (Australian National University) 1995

Julie Bowker

Senior Associate
Practical Legal Training (College of Law, Sydney) 2014 / Diploma in Law (University of Sydney) 2014 / Diploma in Law (College of Law, Chester, UK) 1990 / BSc (Hons) (Marine Biology and Applied Zoology) (Bangor University, North Wales, UK) 1988

David Chong

Senior Associate
Bachelor of Laws, University of New England 2008

Peter Ford

Dip Law (LPAB) 1981

Paul Garnon

B.Com (Finance) (University of NSW) 1991 / LLB (University of NSW) 1991

Kiley Hodges

BA (University of New England) 1998 / LLB (Hons) (University of New England) 1998

Andrew Howard

Senior Associate
Bachelor of Laws (Macquarie University), 2006 / Bachelor of Business Administration (Macquarie University), 2006 / Bachelor of European Business (École de Management de Normandie, France), 2006

Craig Hyde

Special Counsel
LLB (Hons) (University of Otago) 1990

Scott Kennedy

Managing Partner
Dip Law (LPAB) 1995

Matthew McDonald

Dip Law (LPAB) 1994

Heidi Nolan

Senior Associate
Bachelor of Laws (Macquarie University) 2007 / Bachelor of Arts (Macquarie University) 2007 / Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice, College of Law 2008

Matthew Seisun

Bachelor of Science (Chiro), RMIT, 1993 / Bachelor of Laws, University of Technology Sydney, 2004

Andrew Spearritt

LLB (University of Sydney) 1983 / BA (Hons) (University of Sydney) 1984

Brian Trist

Special Counsel
Dip Law (LPAB) 1998

Gerry Tzortzatos

Senior Associate
B.Bus/LLB (University of Technology) 2005

Bharat Vekria

Senior Associate
Bachelor of Laws, Anglia Ruskin University, 1997


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