Tate Engineering Case Study


Principle of Law

Under common law, the tort of negligence is used to determine the legal liability that a defendant bears for careless action, inaction or damage that leads to injury.  Negligence is defined as the failure by a party to do something that a reasonable person would have done or doing something that cannot be done by a reasonable person, from which another party suffers damage. Therefore, there are three key facts that must be established under the law for the tort of negligence to stand, including:

One, a plaintiff must prove that the defendant owed a duty of care.  Duty of the care arises when one party is legally obligated to prevent or cushion another party from damages. Duty of care has changed historically, from a tradition of limited categories of relationships like common carriers, common innkeepers, surgeon, and others; to an expanded conception where there are not pre-existing relations among the parties. For example, under the new conception of the duty of care, architecture will have a duty of care for a client who is injured in a house if an investigation reveals that there was an error in design.




SEMESTER 2, 2018

Due: 11th October @1pm by upload to
Turnitin 3000 words limit.
35 Marks

See instructions below under ‘Your Tasks’. You will complete an individual
assignment, on the scenario below. It requires you to explain and demonstrate the
appropriate principles (and key cases) relevant to material covered in Topic 6

Source: http://www.basiccivilengineering.com/2015/10/tunnel-boring-machine-tbm.html
Note: These questions should be considered using the common law. There is no
need to refer to Occupational Health and Safety legislation or the criminal law for
Tate Engineering Services Pty Ltd (Tate) are based in the suburb of
Broadmeadows in Melbourne. Tate design, manufacture and retail tunnel boring
equipment and are particularly prominent in the Australian and New Zealand civil
engineering marketplace. One of their products is the ESSESS tunnel borer
(ESSESS) which is suitable for tunneling in large and hazardous excavation
projects. The ESSESS is one of the most popular products available for large scale
One day during construction of a new road tunnel, an ESSESS became unstable
causing one of the more experienced road tunnel construction firm workers,
Charlie Harrop, to fall from a height of 3 meters to the ground below. The ESSESS
was supplied to the road tunnel construction firm by Tate Engineering Services
Pty Ltd but on-site start-up and installation was carried out by the road tunnel
construction firm workers. The ESSESS had performed perfectly for the whole of

the previous year although a scheduled minor maintenance service was almost
due at the time of the accident.
At the time the ESSESS was supplied, some of the road tunnel construction firm
workers were surprised at the on-site start-up and installation guidelines supplied
by Tate as they appeared less than comprehensive and also contained some
obvious differences to those of other tunnel borer’s notably the major European
brands. Despite these concerns, they continued with the on-site start-up and
installation anyway.
As a result of the accident, Charlie suffered serious injuries and was admitted to
hospital for an extended period. Charlie is now unfortunately limited in his
movements and must maintain a significant daily medication regime to address
his lack of mobility and spinal damage caused by the fall. This has caused
considerable interruption to his lifestyle in addition to an obvious impact on his
working life. To make matters worse, Charlie can no longer play Esports for the
Victorian state team. He feels that the accident has effectively ended his dream of
playing in the American Major Esports League which will have a significant
financial impact on his future earnings.
An investigation of the ESSESS tunnel borer after the accident revealed that some
aspects of the design were questionable. This was, however, disputed by Tate
when questioned by investigators. They have also rejected claims of substandard
engineering and suggested that the ESSESS was fit for purpose and justifiably a
strong selling and popular product with a good safety record.
Using the 4 step process explain the liability (if any) of Tate Engineering
Services Pty Ltd to Charlie Harrop in the common law Tort of Negligence. (35
Submission: Via Turnitin. Instructions for submission via Turnitin are onBlackboard.
Submit your answer as ONE Microsoft Word document (no PDF’s).
Note: The total word count is not to exceed 3000 words.
Assessment Rubric Criteria:
Area of law: 0 marks
Principles of law: 20 Marks
Application to facts: 10 Marks
Conclusion: 2 Mark
Referencing and general presentation 3 marks
(Write in ways appropriate to the discipline, purpose and context concisely and effectively,
appropriately referenced. Properly apply the four-step process.)
Please note:
1. Late papers incur a penalty of 3.5 marks per day or part thereoflate.
2. Exceeding word count limits will result in deduction of marks.
3. Reference correctly.
4. Name your document correctly in the following format:
5. You may wish to check your submission using the Turnitin but remember your final
upload is the version that will be marked.
6. Bibliographies are not included in the word count.