Posted: June 26th, 2022

PACC6009 Business Law

Question:

Eagle Farm Racing Pty Ltd is liable for Adair’s injuries.

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Southern University is Black Midnight’s vicariously responsible for potential race winnings losses?

Please use the ILAC method to answer the questions above, referring to the case law and pertinent sections of the Civil Liability Act 2003.

Answer:

Law

In the present situation, tort of negligence is the applicable law. Relevance to Civil Liability Act 2003 is essential.

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The plaintiff must prove the following conditions in order to establish the existence of negligence tort.

Because of their neighbor relationship, the defendant is obligated to take care of the plaintiff (Donoghue [1932] AC 562) (Latimer 2016,).

If there is a duty to care, the defendant must breach it by taking actions that a reasonable person would take in that situation to protect plaintiff (Harvey 2009).

It is crucial that the plaintiff has suffered damages if there was a breach of duty.

In addition, the Civil Liability Act 2003 s. 16 states that a defendant cannot be held negligent if an inherent risk materializes which causes harm to the plaintiff.

Inherent risk can be defined as the possibility of an event occurring that cannot be prevented, even if reasonable care is taken (Lindgren 2011, Lindgren).

Intoxication and injury are examples of contributory negligence. However, it is not possible to prove that it led to breach of duty or that the alcohol consumption was self-induced (s. 47, Civil Liability Act, 2003).

Further, s.13 outlines what an obvious risk is in a given situation and would be known by a reasonable person (Davenport & Parker 2014).

If the plaintiff sustains damages due to obvious risk, it is possible to conclude that the defendant has voluntary assumed risk. This may be a defense (s. 14, Civil Liability Act 2002).

Moreover, s. 15 states that the defendant is not required to inform the plaintiff of obvious risks (Gibson & Fraser 2014).

Application

According to the facts, Adair Devil was clearly intoxicated when she decided that the race perimeter fence of 1.5m high was her best option.

After walking for several kilometres, she lost her balance and fell on the race track.

She broke her leg in the fall and is now suing Eagle Farm Racing Pty Ltd for not having any warnings against climbing on the fence.

Adair’s claim would not be granted due to the following reasons.

The plaintiff is not required to inform the defendant that climbing the 1.5m high fence poses an obvious risk.

Adair can also assume risk by taking on an obvious risk.

The defendant could also claim contributory negligence under s. 47 because she was heavily drunk. She should not have climbed the fence, as alcohol can cause the body to become less stable, increasing the obvious risk.

Adair and her coworkers are unlikely to have seen any warning signs, so s. 16 could also apply in this instance.

The owners of Black Midnight, a horse owned by Adair, suffered damage due to Adair’s fall on the racetrack. Due to the shock, the horse could not race again.

Eagle Farm Racing Pty Ltd had clearly erected the fence and taken the necessary precautions to avoid such damage. Therefore, they cannot be held responsible for any loss suffered by Black Midnight’s owners.

The vicarious liability covers an employer’s responsibility for an employee’s actions. However, an exception to this rule is where the employee isn’t performing their official duties.

Adair is clearly not on her professional duties in this case. She is instead on a leisure trip. The employer can therefore not be held responsible for any vicarious liability that may arise from Adair’s negligent actions (Adair).

Conclusion

The above discussion suggests that Adair can’t hold farm owners responsible for her injuries, and Black Midnight owners cannot impose vicarious responsibility on the Southern University because of Adair’s negligence.

Refer to

Business and Law in Australia (2nd edition).

Business Law (8th edition).

Sydney: Pearson Publications.

Foundations of Australian Law (2nd Ed.).

Tilde University Press.

Australian Business Law CC (1st ed.

Sydney: LexisNexis Study Guide.

(2011). Vermeesch and Lindgren’s Business Law of Australia (12th edition).

Sydney: LexisNexis Publications.

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