One of 50 women infected with hepatitis C at a Melbourne day surgery clinic is blocking a settlement of the class action, a court has heard.
The woman wants her own civil case against Croydon Hospital Pty Ltd after she was infected by drug-addicted anaesthetist James Latham Peters.
Lawyers representing the other victims and the hospital have told the Victorian Supreme Court they are close to a settlement but cannot proceed without the lone litigant.
They have asked the court to force her inclusion in the class action, arguing the costs of a full trial would substantially reduce the settlement.
Andrew Ingram, representing the lone litigant, said his client shared the class action’s liability case but she wanted a separate trial on other matters.
Justice David Beach said the litigant is one in 50 victims and forcing the case to trial would erode damages for all parties.
He said it would be wrong for the lone litigant to have a free ride by using the liability case from the class action, and suggested she may have to “reinvent the wheel” in her own trial.
“I am deeply troubled by this as to why your client would think it is in her interests not to settle when other clients think it would be in their interests to settle,” he said on Thursday.
Peters was jailed in 2013 for 14 years, with a non-parole period of 10 years, after pleading guilty to 55 counts of negligently causing serious injury.
Peters injected the women with the same needles he used to give himself doses of the opiate Fentanyl while working as an anaesthetist at the abortion clinic in 2008 and 2009.
Justice Beach will rule on whether the lone litigant will be included with the class action on Wednesday.