Christian specialises in public and product liability with a focus on personal injury and complex property damage issues. He has extensive experience acting for numerous insurers, their insureds and large corporate insureds in all phases of a disputes including the provision of indemnity advice.
Christian has acted in a class action arising out of the spread of abalone herpes virus in the coastal waters of western Victorian between 2004 and 2006 and in defence of an insured who was alleged to have caused the Harkaway fire on “Black Saturday” 7 February 2009.
He has acted for insurers both in subrogated recovery actions and in claims directly against brokers and claims handling agencies in circumstances where there have been breaches of contract and duty of care.
Christian has extensive experience managing litigation in all jurisdictions in Victoria, including at appellate level. He appears at mediations and in directions hearings and some contested applications.
Areas of Expertise
- General Liability
- Personal Injury
- Property Damage
- Product Liability
- Indemnity Advice
- Subrogated Recoveries
- Construction & Infrastructure
- Defence of public and products liability claims against engineers, plumbers, builders, electricians and other contractors, manufacturers, farming and agricultural enterprises, MYOB software service providers, owners of retail premises and shopping centres in state courts and in VCAT (including claims under the Water Act 1989 and Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995).
- Defence of actions brought by the Victorian WorkCover Authority for recovery of compensation paid to workers pursuant to the Accident Compensation Act 1985 and the Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013.
- Acting for manufactures and/or their insurers in relation to personal injuries claims by individuals with historical exposure to asbestos, including contribution claims against and recovery actions by the manufacturers.
- Acting direct for large corporate insureds as follows:
– a multi-national manufacturer of industrial chemicals and fertilizers in public liability claims arising out of injuries occurring at manufacturing plants; and
– a provider of security services in public liability claims arising out of injuries caused by employee security guard.
In addition to the usual gamete of issues which arise out of personal injuries matters acting for these clients raise unique reputational and commercial considerations which influence the way in which defences are conducted.
- Acting for an insurer in a litigated coverage dispute in a matter used as a test case by the Transport Accident Commission (TAC). TAC brought proceedings against an insured despite having already indemnified that insured as it was trying to subvert the operation of an exclusion in her policy relating to the use of registered road vehicles. The insurer was joined to the proceeding as a third party and judgement was ultimately made in its favour.
- Acting for an abalone farm, located in Western Victoria, and its insurer in defence to a class action brought against the farm and the State of Victoria. The action related to the spread of a herpes virus through coastal waters in western and central Victoria between 2004 and 2006 which decimated wild abalone populations. The case involved technical expert evidence and complex legal issues.
- Acting for a manufacturer of laminated board products in response to a recovery by an Australian manufacturer in respect of the loss of tens of millions of beverage cans exported to New Zealand and said to have been tainted by the manufacturer’s products.
- Acting for an Australian based underwriter in an action against a broker for breach of the terms of a delegated authority in circumstances where the broker wrote a bad risk which cost the insurer in-excess of $2m.
- Acting for an Australian based underwriter against Sportscover following the mismanagement of a claim arising out of a catastrophic injury. The mismanagement resulted in the loss of an earlier opportunity to settle and cost underwriters and re-insurers an additional loss of about $5m, resulting in an dispute between the underwriter and re-insurers.
- Acting for an insurer in a subrogated recovery against an accountant and a “big 4” Australian bank in an action in which in excess of $5m was stolen from a religious institution by an employee in the finance department. The commercial dispute involved a number of complex legal issues in circumstances in which the institution’s contributory negligence was one of the most significant factors causing the loss.
- Australian Insurance Law Association
- Law Institute of Victoria