Legionnaires' Disease class action

More than 144 persons suffered Legionnaires' Disease as a result of their exposure to Legionella while attending the Melbourne Aquarium between 8 and 27 April 2000. This disease is serious and caused the death of several people and severe injuries to many others.

The action

On 4 May 2000 Maurice Blackburn issued a class action in the Supreme Court of Victoria which made allegations of negligence against the Melbourne Aquarium, the construction company, mechanical engineers, an air conditioning company and the water treatment company in relation to the maintenance, cleaning, testing, and/or repair of the cooling towers and/or the pumps serving the cooling towers at the Melbourne Aquarium.

The class action was issued on behalf of the Lead Plaintiff, Phyllis Patterson, and other affected persons who suffered loss and damage as a result of their attendance at the Melbourne Aquarium. Following the death of Mrs Patterson in September 2001, the action continued with Hilda Hilton as the Lead Plaintiff.

The trial of the class action was set to commence on 2 February 2004.

Settlement

The Plaintiff and the Defendants agreed to settle the Class Action on 2 February 2004. On 11 February 2004, the Supreme Court made orders approving the Settlement Agreement.

The Settlement Agreement provides for an assessment of damages for each claimant, subject only to the issue of causation and whether the Claimant is a Group Member. The Defendants admitted that where a Group Member suffered Legionnaires Disease or Legionellosis, the source of the disease was from the cooling towers at the Aquarium.

Most group members received their compensation in June and July 2004.

Supporting information