Case management - Mini-scenario 1

Facts

Gina Rhineland, as executor of Tora Right’s estate, has brought negligence proceedings relating to Tora’s death. Tora died from, Gina alleges, asbestosis. The defendant, Concrete Pipes Pty Ltd, alleges that she died from smoking. As such, Gina proposes to call 14 expert witnesses, including four statisticians, four epidemiologists, four cardiologists, and two general physicians who attended to Tora. One of the general physicians, Dr Kennedy, now resides in Darwin.

In issue is the cause of death, and as such the evidence of the epidemiologists will be of paramount importance.

1:Which of the following would be examples of case management steps a court could take under s47?
A)

Identify at an early stage the issue in question as one of causation, thereby focusing the parties’ minds on epidemiological evidence relating to smoking and asbestos-related deaths (s47(3)(b))

Incorrect

 

B)

Limiting the time allocated to the hearing by limiting the number of witnesses Gina is permitted to call, which on its face appears excessive (s 47(f)(i))

Incorrect

 

C)

Opting to deal with as many issues as possible on each occasion, by grouping the specialists such that they can give evidence concurrently (in ‘hot-tubs’) (s47(e)(ii))

Incorrect

 

D)

All of the above

Correct

   

Facts

The court takes all of the above steps. However, since the orders were made, several prominent epidemiologists have produced reports that effectively put the causation issue to rest. Instead, now the argument that Concrete Pipes proposes to make is that they did not breach their duty of care. Much of the evidence proposed is now irrelevant, as are the court’s initial orders.

2:Which of the following sections provides you with a power that you should now utilise?
A)

Section 50

Incorrect

 

B)

Section 51

Incorrect

 

C)

Section 52

Correct

 

D)

Section 53

Incorrect

 

Facts

The issue of breach (as opposed to the issue of causation) is considerably more straightforward. Accordingly, the court decides to significantly reduce the time allocated for trial. It makes an order limiting the time set aside for trial, as well as the time allocated to each party to present their case, pursuant s49(3)(d). The trial commences, and Gina expends her allocated time but has only presented half of her case.

3:Which of the following is the most appropriate order to make?
A)

An order that the civil proceeding be generally dismissed (s51(a)(i))

Incorrect

 

B)

An order that amends Gina’s statement of claim so that it focuses on the original issue (causation) prior to any amendments it underwent (s51(d))

Incorrect

 

C)

An order that Gina’s expert evidence be rejected to the extent that it does not prove a breach of duty (s51(e))

Incorrect

 

D)

An order that the trial be extended as far as is necessary for Gina to expeditiously complete her presentation, as well as an order that Gina pay any additional costs that Concrete Pipes Pty Ltd incurs (ss51(f) and (g))

Correct

 

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