EPA & Technology Litigation
The Client is a successful hospitality business run by an established family in North Queensland. The business enjoyed an exceptionally successful reputation because of its quality of service, product and position The business was frequented by politicians including the Prime Minister, media personnel and CEOs of large corporations. The client acquired the latest in technology in exhaust fume extraction for its commercial kitchen. The technology consisted of using ultraviolet light to destroy odours expelled during the cooking process and the use of this technology obviated the necessity for the construction of long exhaust canopy flutes seen otherwise in traditional extraction processes. The technology promised over 98% extraction and the elimination of the majority of odours.
However shortly after installation (and following approval by the local authority), neighbours complained of cooking odours entering their premises. Those neighbours caused the EPA to act and issue a nuisance abatement notice against the client. The business supported three families and employed some 20 staff. The threat of closure by the EPA would have a devastating effect on those families. The supplier and manufacturer denied liability.
Proceedings in the Supreme Court were commenced claiming breach of contract and negligence including damages for loss of business including the total loss of the business in the event that the EPA would take the next step and shut the business down. Claims for breaches of the Trade Practices and Fair Trading Act were also made.
It was only after the commencement of legal proceedings that the supplier and manufacturer were brought to heel and paid out significant compensation including rectification costs and legal costs. Expert engineering evidence was obtained that questioned the veracity of the manufacturer’s representations as to the effectiveness of the system. The EPA proceedings were also successfully defended on the basis that that the notice given was an abuse of process having not applied the principles of natural justice. The giving of the notice was based on irrational or nonsensical considerations.