Northern Beaches Hospital Class Action
What is the Northern Beaches Hospital Road Construction Class Action about?
In 2014, the NSW Government announced that a Northern Beaches Hospital would be built in Frenchs Forest. The Northern Beaches Hospital Road Connectivity and Network Enhancement Project was then introduced to develop road upgrades in time for the opening of the Hospital in 2018, to address the anticipated increase in vehicular traffic. The Ferrovial York Joint Venture, being a joint venture between Ferrovial Agroman and York Civil Pty Ltd, was the successful tenderer to design and construct the road upgrades. Four hundred million dollars was allocated to the Project.
The Project is to be completed in two stages. Stage One includes connectivity works to provide essential access to the Northern Beaches Hospital, whilst Stage Two increases the capacity of the road network and reduces congestion. It was anticipated that Stage One would commence in December 2015 and be complete by 2018, and that Stage Two would commence in early 2017 and be completed by late 2019.
Road and Maritime Services and Ferrovial York Joint Venture have acknowledged that whilst Stage One is running on schedule, significant delays will mean that Stage Two will not be complete until 2020.
The impact of the Project on the surrounding businesses has been substantial. Roadworks and barricades have entirely blocked access to some businesses, and numerous parking spaces have been removed. Many businesses have suffered and continue to suffer reduced pedestrian traffic, inaccessibility, difficulty in meeting their rental obligations and significantly reduced revenue. No assistance or compensation has been offered to the affected business owners. Others have suffered significant damage to their properties, and emotional trauma.
What is our claim?
Our class action will claim damages for economic loss suffered by businesses due to, amongst other things, the nuisance caused by the defendants, the NSW Government, Road and Maritime Services NSW and potentially, Ferrovian York Joint Venture.
It will be argued, amongst other things, that the defendants failed to take appropriate steps to avoid causing a nuisance to the surrounding business. It is alleged, amongst other things, that the defendants did not, in circumstances where it was feasible and reasonable to do so, ensure access to the businesses during construction, and the defendant knew, or ought to have known of the direct effect this would have on the operation of the businesses.
The claim is likely to run in a two-stage process. The First Stage will be an assessment of whether or not the defendants are liable to the class for the loss suffered. The Second Stage will assess the quantum of damages to be awarded to the class members.
What is the quantum of damages likely to be awarded?
It is difficult, at this stage, to assess the size of the potential claim, and the quantum of damages to be awarded. In due course, we will gather information regarding the loss suffered by class members as a result of the Project. All members will be encouraged to commence discussions with their accountants, and/or financial advisors with a view to quantifying the loss incurred since the commencement of the Project. This data will be required in due course, and will be considered by an expert forensic accountant engaged to calculate the quantum of loss suffered by the members.
Is there any financial risk when joining as a member of the Northern Beaches Hospital Road Construction Class Action?
There is no financial risk to those seeking to join as a member of the class. The action will run on a separately funded basis.
Status of Proceedings
On 29 May 2018, Rick Mitry visited Northern Beaches business owners, at their request, and discussed with them the effect the construction of the upgrades of the local roads systems has had on them. On becoming aware that the barricades and blockages had a vast effect on access to the businesses by their customers, reducing the business in some cases by up to 75%, Rick suggested that they arrange a gathering of all of the business owners affected for another meeting.
On 11 July 2018, Rick Mitry and Angela Vithoulkas, leader of the Small Business Party, met with the potential class members. At that meeting, Rick and Angela addressed the members and fielded questions. Many of the members signed up on that day.
We continue to gather evidence in support of the action and to assist in the drafting of pleadings to launch proceedings.
The class remains open for those who have been affected by the road upgrades but have not yet joined.
Documents available for download
Documents and updates will be uploaded here as they become available.
Rick Mitry | Partner | or +61 2 9283 9035
Richard Mitry | Partner | or +61 2 9283 9035
Amanda Charchar | Solicitor | or on +61 2 9283 9035