Qantas Clarifies Victorian DVT Case

Sydney, 24 December 2002

Following a number of inaccurate media reports, Qantas today clarified a decision made last Friday in a DVT case being heard in the Victorian Supreme Court.

Justice Bongiorno decided on Friday 20 December that the plaintiff's claim, as pleaded, did not constitute an 'accident' under the Warsaw Convention.

He said, for example, that:

"On any reasonable definition of 'accident' the plaintiff's case as presently particularised fails ... Not even by the application of the most liberal definition of 'accident' could this set of circumstances either together or separately be described as an accident. None of them singularly nor all of them together could be described as an 'unintended or unexpected occurrence which produces hurt or loss' ... "

Justice Bongiorno also held that:

"On the plaintiff's case as currently particularised he cannot succeed as a matter of law in establishing that his DVT was caused by an accident." Justice Bongiorno has given the plaintiff an opportunity to re-plead his case, although he observed that even if the plaintiff could show an 'accident', the plaintiff would also still have to prove a causal link between the 'accident' and the DVT he suffered.

The claim is listed for further directions on 14 February 2003.

Qantas believes that, however pleaded, DVT does not constitute an 'accident' under the Warsaw Convention and that will be the ultimate finding of the Australian Courts.

This is supported by the High Court decision in London on Friday that DVT cannot be an 'accident' under the Warsaw Convention. The Court held that there must be an unexpected or unusual event or happening external to the plaintiff.

Issued by Qantas Corporate Communication (2845)