Tenant sues over light fitting that gave severe electric shock

22 December 2016
Tom Cowie
A tenant who suffered a severe electric shock when he touched a live light fitting is suing the landlords and real estate agent, accusing them of not undertaking a $90 repair job despite a visit from an electrician.

Michael Jack, 50, says he suffers constant headaches and speech and cognitive impairment following the incident, which happened on February 25 last year.

His wife says he is a "completely different person" unable to perform simple tasks.

According to a writ filed in the Supreme Court on Thursday, an electrician visited the Rosebud home where Mr Jack and his wife, Clair, lived in early November 2014 after they requested that a fan be fixed because it was dangling and appeared unsafe.

During the visit, it is claimed, the electrician was asked to look at two light fittings in the carport that were also hanging loosely, resulting in exposed electrical wires.

Mr Jack, who is seeking damages from the owners and real estate agent that managed the property at the time, alleges the electrician spoke with an employee at Flynn and Co Real Estate in Rosebud but was told not to fix the lights.

The electrician had quoted two new light fittings in the carport at $90 plus GST, the writ says.

The repairs were carried out two days after Mr Jack was injured, it says.

At the time of the incident, he operated a welding business. He says his injuries have left him unable to return to work and the company has stopped operating.

The writ says he also suffers severe fatigue, mood swings, dizziness, memory loss and numbness.

Mr Jack, who is suing through his guardian because he is disabled, claims the landlords and property manager breached their duty of care by not fixing the lights.

Clair Jack told Fairfax Media her husband had operated the welding business for more than 10 years.

"He can't drive any more and his balance has been affected, which has led to several falls," she said. "He's lost his sense of smell and struggles to have a conversation because of the delay in how his brain works following the shock."

Her husband had to write everything down because he got confused easily and could not remember basic instructions.

"Our lives have been completely turned upside down, and based on all of the medical advice we have received, it will never be the same again," she said.

Maurice Blackburn public liability lawyer Jilnar Zeina said "concerns reported by tenants should be addressed as soon as possible, particularly when of an electrical nature".

The owners of the property – Nicholaos Koutsioulis and Effie Blias – and Flynn and Co Real Estate could not be reached for comment.

As well as loss of earnings and damages, Mr Jack is seeking special damages to pay for a carer, a speech pathology program and home modifications.