Nursery seeks $2.5m from TasNetworks
A LEADING wholesale nursery based in Tasmania is continuing a legal fight for $2.5 million in compensation from the state’s electricity distributor.
Brocklands, a wholesale nursery northwest of Launceston, has claimed that through TasNetworks’ negligence, a high-voltage power surge in December 2010 damaged its potting machine.
The case was heard over 14 days between March and June last year in the Supreme Court in Hobart and Justice Gregory Geason subsequently dismissed the case Brocklands brought against TasNetworks.
Justice Geason said Brocklands had not established that there was a high-voltage surge event that damaged the potting machine, or that the configuration of the pole was a necessary element of harm to the machine.
Brocklands has appealed against that decision and the Full Court yesterday began hearing the appeal.
Brocklands’ barrister Ken Read, SC, said the damage to the potting machine – which was able to automatically transfer small plants into pots – would not have occurred if a power pole that brought electricity to the property had been installed correctly.
Mr Read said the pole, installed by the Hydro Electric Commission in 1987, did not meet the relevant Australian standard at the time.
He said that because of the pole’s configuration, it was “not as able to direct the current where it ought to have gone”.
Mr Read said a Cable PI device, which detects electrical faults, and a set of scales were also damaged in the house at the property at the same time the potting machine was damaged.
TasNetworks’ barrister Bruce McTaggart said Justice Geason, in his decision, “preferred the expert, scientific evidence over what is in effect anecdotal evidence”.
The appeal hearing, before Chief Justice Alan Blow, Justice Stephen Estcourt and Justice Robert Pearce, continues today.
Brocklands produces roses, ornamental plants and berries, and supplies them to commercial markets.