Perre v Apand (1999) 198 CLR 180

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Facts
  • A farmer imported potato seeds infected with bacteria
  • Bacteria spread and damaged crops, damaging reputation
  • This meant the farmers were unable to sell their potatoes
  • They brought an action against the farmer
Issue
  • Did the farmer owe a duty of care?
Held
  • There was a duty of care
  • He was liable for the losses
  • Where a D knows, or is likely to know, that his conduct is likely to cause harm to person or property, he must take reasonable care
  • Where economic loss is suffered, courts are hesitant to impose but, there were significant factors;

The vulnerability of the P, the control of the D, the D’s knowledge of the P and their circumstances and the physical proximity between the parties.

  • Vulnerability was significant; farmers couldn’t protect themselves.
  • There was a high level of control by the D.

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