Case Analysis : Perre V. Apand Pty Ltd

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Facts of the case In Perre v. Apand Pty Ltd. (1999), a South Australian (SA) farm was contaminated by a potato disease following the respondent’s illegal supply of infected seed potatoes. The disease caused physical damage to the recipients’ potatoes for which they were compensated. They had suffered property damage because the disease damaged their tangible property, the potatoes. Consequential economic loss such as lost profits they would otherwise have received upon the sale of vegetables grown on the property and the costs of eliminating the disease from their land was also suffered. The respondent was liable in negligence for all such damage. The Perres were a group of potato producers on properties between roughly 2-3.5 kms around…show more content…
Although the decision was unanimous there was no majority view. Perre v. Apand involved a claim for negligently caused pure economic loss. The Honourable Chief Justice Gleeson summarised the facts and issue in the case as follows: “In a rural locality in South Australia, a number of farmers grew potatoes, some for export to Western Australia. The respondent negligently introduced a form of disease, known as bacterial wilt, onto the land of one farmer. The Western Australian regulations imposed a prohibition on the importation into Western Australia, not only to potatoes grown on land known to be affected by the disease but also of potatoes grown on land within a certain distance [20 km] of affected land. The appellants were involved, in various ways, in potato growing on such land, and claimed to suffer financial loss. The issue is whether the respondent, whose conduct is for the purposes of argument, assumed to have caused harm to each of the appellants owed a duty of care to all or any of them.” “Whether a duty of care exists is a question of law for the judges to determine. In some circumstances, where the relationship between two parties is not covered by precedent, it is often not easy to discern the factors considered by a court to be relevant in deciding where a duty of care exists. In cases where there is no established category (novel fact situations), “the court

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