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Judgment handed down in Di Paolo v Salta Constructions Pty Ltd (No. 2)

06 December 2016

The Court has ruled on two summary judgment applications brought by two defendants in respect of contribution notices issued against them in a worker’s compensation proceeding.

The plaintiff had been injured on a worksite in Perth, where he fell from some scaffolding and suffered head, spinal and other injuries. The plaintiff sought damages from each of the employer (the first defendant), the company that erected the scaffolding (the second defendant) and the company that supplied the scaffolding (the third defendant).

A previous ruling made by the Court in the proceeding held that the plaintiff’s claims against the second and third defendants were statute barred. In that ruling, the Court determined that the plaintiff’s claim should be determined in accordance with Western Australian law, and that the relevant limitations period under that law had expired. Accordingly, the plaintiff’s claim remained active only as against the first defendant, the employer.

The employer had issued contribution notices against each of the second and third defendants. Those defendants sought summary dismissal of those notices. The main issue to be determined by the Court was whether the issue of the dismissal of the contribution notices was to be decided in accordance with Western Australian or Victorian law.

The second and third defendants submitted that the effect of the findings in the previous ruling were that the first defendant could not recover any contribution because the relevant Western Australian limitation laws statutorily barred the contribution claims. One of the arguments raised by the first defendant was that it had an application for particular discovery on foot against the second defendant, and that the outcome of that application may result in an amendment to the contribution notice to include a claim which was not statute barred.

The Court was satisfied that the issue was to be determined in accordance with Western Australian law and ultimately granted the third defendant’s application for summary judgment. The second defendant’s application for summary judgment was refused.

Read the Court's full judgment on Austlii(External link)

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