Marcus is a senior investment banker at the prominent Australian bank, Eastpac. He drives a very expensive car to work and parks it in ‘Park Safe’, a secured parking bay in Sydney’s CBD. Upon entering the car park an attendant hands Marcus a ticket. The ticket indicates which parking space he has for the day, along with the date and time the ticket expires. As Marcus occasionally works until the early hours of the morning, he always purchases the full-day ticket, knowing that Park Safe has an attendant on duty 24 hours a day.
However, Marcus does not check the back of the ticket which lists, in substantially smaller print, a number of items, including the following:
3. Park Safe takes no responsibility for any damage caused to any vehicle, parked or otherwise on Park Safe premises, however such damage may be caused. Occupants use Park Safe at their own risk.
Marcus parks his car in the designated spot, locks it and walks to his office. Upon his return from work later that day, Marcus goes to retrieve his vehicle and notices both back lights have been smashed. He then approaches the driver’s door and notices scratch marks along the paintwork and a smashed window. When Marcus opens his car he finds that the glovebox has been forced open and that several items are missing.
Outraged and upset, Marcus leaves his keys inside the car and goes to the attendant’s desk to inquire about the damage. He is there for 20 minutes and in that time his car is stolen. Marcus wishes to claim full compensation for the value of his vehicle from Park Safe. His car insurance had expired a few days prior to this incident and he had not had time to reinsure the vehicle.
Andrea, a primary school teacher, has just discovered a popular online retailer by the name of ‘QuickBuyListen.com’. The website requires her to create an account where she can download music for $1 per track and upload the song to her mp3 player or smart phone. Eager to get started, Andrea types in her details and fills in the form relatively quickly. There is a lot of small text on the screen. She is required to scroll to the bottom of the page and click “next” several times before her account is created and linked to her email address.
Andrea has used the service regularly over the past few months. However, she has recently received an email stating that she has been undercharged for each track and that an additional fee of $200 will be withdrawn from her account at the end of the month. Andrea replies by email to QuickBuyListen.com, stating that she had done nothing wrong and that she paid the price on the screen for each track. She does not receive a reply. Andrea withdraws all of the funds in the bank account linked to her QuickBuyListen.com account and has been informed by the bank that she will have to pay a $35 dishonor fee for not being able to meet the payment instruction from QuickBuyListen.com.
Andrea is furious. She is in your office saying she never signed anything and that this entire system is a complete scam. She wants to have the $200 fee waived and the $35 compensated by QuickBuyListen.com. She also wants $1,000 for the emotional stress this has caused her.
Matthew, an experienced driver for an express postal service, has been doing the Sydney CBD route for many years. His job is highly stressful as his employer’s business model focuses on being the fastest delivery network in all of Sydney. Matthew has grown accustomed to taking calls whilst driving his van and is paid handsomely for his services.
One day Matthew is called onto one of the busy inner-city routes. He picks up the goods from the supplier and begins driving to the delivery point. On his way he receives a call from his employer and as he reaches down to take the call he realises there is a car coming towards him in his lane. Matthew swerves to miss the oncoming car but, in the process of doing so, mounts the kerb and collides with a telegraph pole. Matthew is rendered paraplegic as a consequence of the car accident.
Although no one else was injured, the force of the collision also causes the telegraph pole to fall over and hit a shopfront, resulting in damage worth many hundreds of thousands of dollars. The electricity supply is cut to the street because of the downed telegraph pole. It takes several days for the electricity to be restored, causing problems for all of the businesses in the street.
Each of the affected businesses are pursuing both Matthew and Matthew’s employer for damages for loss of business. The owner of the business whose shopfront was damaged is also suing both Matthew and Matthew’s employer for the damage caused to the shop. Although Matthew has been able to obtain workers compensation he also wants to bring an action against his employer for unsafe working conditions and sue the driver of the other car for negligence. Matthew claims that a combination of these two factors caused the accident.
Advise all parties of their likelihood of success.