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Perth developer dragged into class action

Perth developer dragged into class action

Law firm Slater & Gordon is bolstering a class action claim against the Environmental Protection Authority, adding a Perth property developer to the claim.

LAW firm Slater & Gordon is bolstering a class action claim against the environmental Protection Authority, adding Perth property developer Peet & Co as a defendant in the Supreme Court last week.

Slater & Gordon is acting on behalf of property owners affected by gas leaks at the Brookland Greens estate.

The law firm also expanded its claim against the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) during a directions hearing in the Supreme Court last week.

Slater & Gordon senior associate Manisha Blencowe said an amended statement of claim, to include Peet & Co and increase the claim against the EPA, was necessary given that the matter was now going to trial.

In a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange, Peet & Co company director Brendan Gore said it was very disappointing the parties had not to date been able to resolve the matter in mediation. He said the subsequent claims brought by the plaintiffs would be “vigorously defended”.

The company said it believes the claim is “misdirected and should not draw attention away from the critical issues which are the migration of gas and management of the landfill site, which has been disused for some year”.

“On behalf of the syndicate, we remain hopeful that this matter can yet be sensibly resolved,” said Gore.

Blencowe, at Slater & Gordon, said the claim against Peet & Co related to the buffer zone that had been created around the landfill site at Brookland Greens.

“The buffer zone was in place to prevent new housing being adversely affected by environmental problems that may have been caused by the closed landfill,” she said.

“However, despite the existence of the buffer zone, Peet & Co took steps and sold land, which resulted in houses being built within the buffer zone. But for the breach of duty by Peet & Co, houses would not have been built, and those owners would not have suffered any loss.”

Additional claims against the EPA relate to a string of “failures by the EPA in exercising its powers to regulate the landfill”, Slater & Gordon said.

The claims include that the EPA did not comply with its own Best Practice Environmental Management protocols and failed to take action to enforce continuing serious breaches by Casey of the licence requirements and remediation notices imposed by the EPA.

At the hearing on 15 October 2010, Slater & Gordon succeeded in winning the judge’s support for a split trial so that the determination of the Plaintiffs claims is not held up by disputes between the Defendants. The parties will return to the Supreme Court on December 17 this year, at which time the court will decide the issues to be dealt with at the first trial.

“The court has indicated that a trial is likely to be held in July next year and all parties should prepare for it as quickly as possible,” she said.

“For our clients, the day when this matter is resolved can not come soon enough. “Given that the mediation has failed to reach a resolution we are pleased that the court has demonstrated its ability to force parties to deal with the real issues in dispute rather than dragging out the litigation unnecessarily,” said Blencowe.

Slater & Gordon is seeking compensation on behalf of about 600 property owners for diminished property values, and interference with the use and enjoyment of their homes, it said.

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