Epic 12-year legal battle ends with $500,000 in compensation

THE family of a Sydney teenager who drowned on a school camp in Kangaroo Valley has been awarded nearly $500,000 in damages, but it is just a fraction of the $100 million they had claimed.

Scots College student Nathan Chaina fell into a flooded river at Kangaroo Valley and drowned on October 23, 1999, when he was 15 years old.

He and his older brother, Matthew, who witnessed the tragic accident, were taking part in a hike as part of a school camp.

A subsequent coronial inquest found the school was liable for the death because it failed to properly prepare the students for the difficult conditions they faced and ignored the weather forecast on the day.

In 2002, Nathan’s parents claimed damages for nervous shock and for the effect of their son’s death on their cleaning products business.

They claimed they were so devastated by the loss of their son they were unable to launch a new range of cleaning products which they believed would have taken the country by storm and earned them tens of millions of dollars.

LOSS: Nathan Chaina drowned on a Scots College school camp to Kangaroo Valley in 1999.

LOSS: Nathan Chaina drowned on a Scots College school camp to Kangaroo Valley in 1999.

During the course of a long and protracted hearing that has run off and on for 12 years, multiple experts have been called to give their opinions on the veracity of the couple’s cleaning product claims.

The Presbyterian Church, which runs Scots College, admitted liability for Nathan’s death but challenged the basis for Mr and Mrs Chaina’s claim.

On Friday, Justice David Davies awarded the Chainas a substantially smaller damages payout than the $100 million they had asked for, ordering the school to pay just $492,373.

The sum did not include interest, which is in dispute and will be the subject of another hearing later this year.

The family appeared dejected by the decision.

They have reportedly spent millions of dollars in legal costs.

The issue of who would pay costs was reserved.


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