New South Wales power company Endeavour Energy has become the subject of a class action by residents and business owners whose properties were burnt out by the devastating Blue Mountains bushfires in October 2013.
The class action was filed by Maddens Lawyers in the NSW Supreme Court over a claim that has been estimated will exceed $200 million in property loss and damage, with as many as 600 affected property owners.
The case is a major headache for the energy industry because it could sheet back the massive costs of damage and loss of life from fires to power infrastructure providers.
Maddens’ senior partner Brendan Pendergast said that the proceedings allege that the Springwood/Winmalee fire started when poorly-maintained trees fell on electrical conductors in Linksview Road, Springwood on the afternoon of October 17.
The resulting blaze inflicted significant devastation to properties across the Blue Mountains, including the destruction of 200 houses and severe damage to another 200 properties.
The impact of the fire didn’t end at just property destruction, local businesses continued to feel the heat in the following months, as the regular tourist trade avoided the blacked region and surrounding townships.
Mr Pendergast said the class action was a secure and low-risk means for the residents and businesses marred by the fire to claim losses insurance policies did not cover.
“Quite simply, the residents of this area have suffered losses that are not their fault. They are losses that would not have occurred had the right procedures been followed,” Mr Pendergast said.
He said there is no reason these residents should sit back and just accept that this fire occurred, and accept the damage that it did whilst incurring the substantial expense associated with re-establishing their properties.
“There is every reason for them to ask the question of what they are due, because it is what they deserve,” he said.
Maddens Lawyers is a firm with a history of successfully tackling cases involving some of Australia’s worst bushfire tragedies.
The firm managed to secure more than $50 million in compensation for hundreds of victims of the so-called ‘Black Saturday’ fires that burnt out communities across Victoria on 7th February, 2009.
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