Love Ageing

Families launch class action over fatal Quakers Hill aged care home fire

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Shine Lawyers have lodged the class action against the home’s owners Opal Aged Care in the NSW Supreme Court on behalf of nine relatives of victims.

Court documents allege Opal was negligent in its employment of Roger Dean, the nurse convicted of 11 counts of murder over the 2011 fire, and failed to have any or any adequate, sprinkler system in place.

A coroner’s inquest had found that Opal did not check Dean’s references before hiring him.

He had previously been investigated for workplace misconduct and was suspended from a former role because of drug problems.

Dean is also being sued for negligence, setting fire to the home and failing to notify his employer of his history, mental health problems and drug dependence.

“The family members feel that not all accountable parties have taken responsibility for their actions and are looking for justice to be delivered for their deceased family members. It’s clear that more should have been done to protect these vulnerable nursing home residents,” Shine Lawyers NSW General Manager James Chrara said.

Opal is roughly owned 47.6% by GK Goh Holdings (Singapore), a similar % by AMP Capital and 2% by ex-CEO Gary Barnier.

Opal currently has 71 aged care facilities in QLD, NSW, VIC and WA.