Assessment of damages – Farmers – Economic loss

Agricultural Enterprises

 

See Clement v Backo & Suncorp Metway Insurance 16/3/07 [2007] QCA 81at [32] McMurdo P (Full Court) and Clement v Backo & Anor 26/4/06 [2006] QSC 129 at [54] where the need to take into account the vagaries of an agricultural enterprise in assessing damages for loss of income from such enterprises is recognised.

 

See Kay v Murray Irrigation Limited 11/12/09 [2009] NSWSC 1411 where likely yields from rice cropping were considered in determining economic loss. Fullerton J also considered damages for replacement labour as P could no longer do the physical aspects of rice farming. The impact of likely water allocations was also considered.

 

In Meakes v Nominal Defendant 15/3/11 [2011] NSWDC 9 Levy SC DCJ assessed past damages for the cost of employing a fencing contractor and the future costs of employing rural labour in a case where a lawyer suffered a minor shoulder injury which affected his ability to contribute to a farm which he acquired as a co-owner subsequent to his injury. Plans for the acquisition of the farm had been firmly in place before his injury. Relevance of co-ownership discussed. Appeal allowed in Nominal Defendant v Meakes 4/4/12 [2012] NSWCA 66 [60 MVR 380].

 

In Kerney v Mead & Anor 3/6/11 [2011] achaten-suisse.com NSWSC 518 Garling J was not prepared to make an award for loss of farm earnings where a part-time farmer who’d never made a profit from his cattle was seriously injured, and where there was limited evidence to justify claim. See from paragraph 234. On an appeal limited to the issue of economic loss in Mead v Kerney 23/7/12 [2012] NSWCA 215 it was contended “that the primary judge erred in concluding that, although the respondent had a theoretical earning capacity of forty per cent, that capacity was of no value because there was no prospect of him obtaining work to utilise it” @4. Appeal dismissed.

 

In Schimke v Clements & Suncorp Metway Insurance Ltd 22/6/11 [2011] QSC 182 Applegarth J assessed damages in a dependency claim where farmer was killed in road accident. P and her deceased husband both worked hard on the farm, but they had been experiencing drought years.