Pattison v. Herald & Weekly Times Ltd

The plaintiff alleged that she suffered chronic obstructive airways disease as a result of exposure to second-hand smoke while employed by the defendant. She claimed that she had been exposed to a work area full of smoke for 5 years but she had never been a smoker.

The defendant alleged that the plaintiff's claim was statute-barred because she had become aware of her injury more than 3 years before bringing the case, in contravention of the Limitations of Actions Act.

Judge Misso found in favor of the defendant, ruling that the plaintiff's claim was statute-barred. However, Judge Misso also commented that if the plaintiff had made an application for serious injury earlier, then she would have been successful: based on the medical evidence, she had proved all of the elements necessary to establish that she had suffered a serious injury which resulted in a long-term impairment of the function of her lungs.

Note: this decision was successfully appealed, see Pattison v Herald & Weekly Times Ltd [2013] VSCA 121.


Pattison v Herald & Weekly Times Limited [2012] VCC 2014 (19 December 2012)

  • Australia
  • Dec 19, 2012
  • County Court of Victoria


Plaintiff Lynette Pattison

Defendant Herald & Weekly Times Limited

Legislation Cited

Accident Compensation Act 1985 (Vic)

Limitations of Actions Act 1958 (Vic)

Related Documents

Type of Litigation

Tobacco Control Topics

Substantive Issues


Type of Tobacco Product