16 Jan 2010

Heater link to illness not proven, court says

2:58 pm on 16 January 2010

A Kapiti Coast woman who said she and her son had suffered brain damage as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning from an incorrectly installed heater has lost an 11-year battle for compensation.

Amanda Pickard sought $1.6 million in damages at the High Court in Wellington from the heater's installer Chas Ambrose and its distributor Rinnai New Zealand.

Justice Mackenzie found that while the installer breached his obligation to perform the heater installation in a proper and workmanlike manner, he is unable to determine that led to combustion gases escaping into the room.

He said the evidence had not shown Ms Pickard and her son suffered symptoms consistent with carbon monoxide exposure during the period the heater was used and there is no basis on which damages can be paid.

Ms Pickard intends filing an appeal against the decision, as she believes some vital evidence was not placed before the High Court.

Installer Chas Ambrose has declined to comment on the decision.