The action

Maurice Blackburn Lawyers are instructed in a class action on behalf of those who have suffered injury, loss or damage as a result of the Murrindindi Black Saturday bushfire of 7 February 2009.

The action alleges that the fire started at the rear of the Murrindindi Saw Mill, Wilhelmina Falls Road, Murrindindi. It is alleged that the most probable cause of the fire was a break in an electrical conductor resulting from deficiencies in the construction and configuration of a power pole. The fire spread rapidly, killing 40 people, destroying over 500 homes, and causing millions of dollars of damage. It is alleged that the power utility company was negligent in, amongst other things, the construction and configuration of the power pole.

The Murrindindi Class Action is set down for a trial commencing on 4 February 2015. The trial will be heard by the Honourable Justice Dixon of the Supreme Court of Victoria.

Who is part of the Class?

The group members to whom this proceeding relates are:

(a) The persons identified in the confidential exhibit filed pursuant to Order 2 made on 4 March 2014 (as varied by orders of 4 April 2014, 30 May 2014 and 8 December 2014) and known as the “List of Registered Personal Injury and Dependency Claimants”

(b) The estates of or dependants of any person who died in or as a result of the Murrindindi bushfire (including, without limitation, a death resulting from attempts to escape the Murrindindi bushfire or other emergency action in response to the Murrindindi bushfire); and

(c) All those persons who suffered loss of or damage to property as a result of the Murrindindi bushfire (including, without limitation, loss or damage resulting from emergency action taken by any person in response to the Murrindindi bushfire); and

(d) All those persons who at the time of the Murrindindi bushfire resided in, or had real or personal property in, the Murrindindi bushfire area and who suffered economic loss, which loss was not consequent upon injury to that person or loss of or damage to their property;

but provided that:

(i) persons in (c) or (d) shall not be treated as making a claim in this proceeding for personal injury or pursuant to Part III of the Wrongs Act 1958 (Vic) in relation to a person who died as a result of the fire unless such claim is also identified in the List of Registered Personal Injury and Dependency Claimants referred to in (a) above; and

(ii) the group members do not include departments, agencies, authorities, instrumentalities or persons established by or holding offices or authorities of the Commonwealth or a State or Territory which are, or if established or authorised by the State of Victoria would be, public authorities within the meaning of paragraphs (a) to (c) or (e) to (i) inclusive in section 79 of the Wrongs Act 1958 (Vic) (“Wrongs Act”).

Pursuant to orders made by the Court on 4 March 2014 (as subsequently varied):

The group members who may, in any settlement of the proceeding, claim compensation for property loss or damage or economic loss, which was uninsured or not fully insured, have been confined to those who completed a Claimant Registration Form by the Registration Date (6 June 2014); and

the subrogated claimants on whose behalf insurers may, in any settlement of the proceeding, claim compensation in respect of indemnity provided in respect of property loss or damage or economic loss have been confined to those for whom a completed Claimant Registration Form was lodged by 6 June 2014.

n 8 December 2014, the Court made orders to allow certain late registrants to be included as Personal Injury & Dependency Claimants, or as Above-insurance Loss Claimants for the purposes of any settlement, as the case may be.

If you are unsure whether you are a group member, or are entitled to particular in any settlement of the proceeding, you should contact Maurice Blackburn or obtain your own legal advice as soon as possible.

If you have any questions in relation to the Murrindindi class action, please telephone Maurice Blackburn on 1800 18 26 45.