Christine fell while walking down the stairs at Logan railway station. She fractured her ankle and aggravated a lower back injury, which restricted her mobility. Queensland Rail does not dispute that it owed a duty of care and it breached that duty because the paint applied to the edges of the stairs made the stairs dangerously slippery when wet. Four weeks after the accident, when Christine’s leg was still in plaster, Derrick invited Christine to his home. Derrick had assisted Christine with her rehabilitation from the injuries and was not an employee of or hired by Queensland Rail. Derrick took her into the kitchen, put her purse and mobile phone on a high shelf there and physically assaulted her. Derrick then refused to allow Christine to leave his home for a number of hours. Christine suffered Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of this incident and is no longer able to work. Advise Christine whether she can claim damages for the physical assault from Queensland Rail.
NOTE: You don’t need to address all the issues in a negligence action here because Queensland Rail has admitted some issues.
ANSWER: (based on State Rail Authority of NSW v Chu)
Issue: Did Christine’s harm from the physical assault result from Queensland Rail’s negligence?
Section 11 CLA:
D’s breach of duty caused the P’s harm (factual causation) (Barnett v Chelsea and Kensington Hospital Management Commitee)
The P’s harm was reasonably foreseeable (remoteness) (Commonwealth v McLean)
Yates v Jones: The defendant’s negligence is not the cause of a plaintiff’s harm if there is an unforseen event which breaks the chain of causation.
Queensland Rail’s negligence did not cause the