When we lecturers write exam questions involving hypothetical legal problems, we create a string of mishaps which happen to one poor hypothetical plaintiff. Occasionally students complain that these scenarios are not realistic. This morning in the Herald Sun, I read this story, and I think I’ll show it anyone who complains about unrealistic bad luck in hypothetical problems:
Abir Taha thought property investment would guarantee her family’s future but her dream has turned sour.
But after an 18-month nightmare that started when a demolition company allegedly turned up to the wrong address and destroyed her Broadmeadows investment house, she’s not so sure.
Her insurer, Westpac Insurance, won’t cover the damage.
The remains of her house were destroyed by what police describe as a “suspicious fire”.
The saga began in July 2010 when demolition contractors allegedly accidentally destroyed Ms Taha’s property at 34 Kitchener St, Broadmeadows, when they were meant to demolish a building at 34 Stanhope St, around the corner.
Neighbours allegedly tried to stop the demolition after hearing glass breaking and called police, who allowed the demolition to continue after they checked workers’ driver licences but not their demolition permit. Police allegedly did not contact Ms Taha.
The house was stripped of wiring, plumbing, windows, doors and cupboards.
Ms Taha is now suing the demolition company, Westpac and police, alleging they failed in their duty of care. She estimates it will cost up to $180,000 to fix the property, and she has lost $1400 a month in rent.
Police are still investigating the fire that destroyed what was left earlier this month.
“Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding a fire at a residence in Kitchener St. The fire is believed to be suspicious and the investigation is on-going,” a police spokesman said.
Ms Taha’s lawyer, Rebecca Fahey alleged: “My client has suffered significantly both financially and emotionally as a direct result of her house being accidentally demolished, which has further been exacerbated by the failure of Westpac Insurance to honour her policy of insurance.
“The fire which has now occurred at the property, due to a complete lack of security at the home following the demolition, is a final blow.
See, sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.