Rest home wins bid to recover costs over client

MATT NIPPERT
Last updated 05:00 04/12/2013

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A rest home has been awarded indemnity costs after a court ruled the son of a late client made "flimsy" allegations that poor care led to his father's death.

Bupa Care Services, which operates the Kauri Coast Rest Home in Dargaville, initially sought to recover $51,759 in arrears from the estate of their late client Gordon Gillibrand, who lived at the facility from May 2003 until April 2011.

Christian Gillibrand, the clients' son, was appointed executor of his fathers' estate and fought the recovery action in the High Court in Whangarei.

Bupa in turn launched legal action to remove Gillibrand Jr as executor, claiming a conflict of interest existed as his family trust owed his father's estate $355,000.

Earlier this year Justice Paul Heath suggested that the application had some weight.

Justice Health, in a just-released ruling on costs, said: "Not only did [Gillibrand Jr] contend he was able to execute his office appropriately, but he made serious (and inflammatory) allegations in relation to Bupa's conduct in entering into the contract for care with his late father and acts and omissions which allegedly caused his father's death."

Justice Heath awarded indemnity costs against Gillibrand Jr, noting the allegations Bupa had caused his fathers' death were baseless.

"The allegations were based (initially) on speculation and (later) on flimsy evidence," the judge said.

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