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Judgment summary - Hand v Morris and Anor [2017] VSC 437

The Court has awarded a plaintiff damages in the sum of $717,000 in respect of a negligence claim brought against his former teacher and the employer of the teacher.

The plaintiff alleged that he was sexually abused on several occasions during 1974, when the plaintiff was 8 years old. The plaintiff was in Grade 4 at Eastwood Primary School when the abuse occurred by the first defendant, Mr Morris (the plaintiff’s teacher). The State of Victoria, the second defendant, operated the school and employed Mr Morris.

The plaintiff claimed that as a consequence of the abuse, he sustained psychiatric injury, depression and anxiety. The plaintiff made a claim for damages for those injuries, including a claim for economic loss.  The plaintiff also claimed that the second defendant was liable for the acts committed by the first defendant.

The key issue in this case was how much the plaintiff should be awarded in damages. The Court ultimately ordered that the plaintiff receive $717,000 in damages, comprising of:

  1. General damages totalling $260,000
  2. Past economic loss totalling $100,000
  3. Future economic loss totalling $320,000
  4. Future medical expenses totalling $36,400

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Note: This summary is necessarily incomplete. The only authoritative pronouncement of the Court’s reasons and conclusions is that contained in the published reasons for judgment.

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Author: Supreme Court of Victoria
Publisher: Supreme Court of Victoria
Date of Publication: August 2017
Copyright: Supreme Court of Victoria, 2017

 

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