Muliagas to sue

The Herald reports:

The family of Auckland woman plan to sue both Mercury Energy and Middlemore Hospital over the mother of four’s tragic death.

Legal papers are to be filed at the Auckland High Court seeking financial redress from Mercury and the hospital regarding Mrs Muliaga’s death, which followed power being cut to her Mangere home in 2007, Fairfax media reported.

Mrs Muliaga, 45, a morbidly obese woman, was using a mains-powered oxygen machine and died three hours after a contractor to Mercury Energy disconnected her power over an unpaid bill of $168.40.

In findings released in 2008 following an inquest, Coroner Gordon Matenga found that the action of cutting Mrs Muliaga’s power on May 29 2007 was a factor in her death.

It was a factor, but not the only factor. There was fault on many sides. Mercury was too zealous in cutting power off for late payments (the Muliaga’s had been making partial payments), but also the family didn’t take actions which could have saved her life once the power was turned off.

If it goes all the way to trial, I’d say the outcome is far from certain.

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