Gibson farmer and Esperance Shire set to reach an agreement, avoiding Supreme Court trial

A lengthy Supreme Court legal battle between a Gibson farmer and the Shire of Esperance is on the verge of settling.

Nils Blumann and representatives from the Shire of Esperance have signed a formal agreement that would put an end to the litigation, but it requires the council to approve some extra works.

It's understood the agreement involves the shire paying Mr Blumann hundred of thousand of dollars, but neither Mr Blumann nor the shire would confirm the amount involved.

Court documents obtained by the Express in May revealed Mr Blumann was suing the shire in the Supreme Court, claiming road works in March, 2016 did not allow for adequate drainage and led to flooding and damage to his property, which is south of the reserve of Gibson Road.

In addition to costs and damages, Mr Blumann wanted the shire to rectify the roadworks to prevent future damage.

The matter was set down for a Supreme Court trial from July 22 to 30 of this year.

Mr Blumann said the shire and its insurer had signed a heads of agreement after mediation on August 7 and 8, 2019.

The amount offered in the settlement was confidential.

Mr Blumann said the shire had agreed to conduct drainage works under the settlement agreement, but this required the council's approval.

Shire of Esperance lawyer Cameron Maclean said the case had been adjourned to see whether a mediated resolution was possible and the council had not yet made a decision on whether the works would be done.

"At present, no final mediated resolution has been reached," Mr Maclean said.

"The shire will make no determination on this matter until it has been properly considered by its council."

Mr MacLean said the case would proceed to trial if a resolution could not be reached.

The agenda minutes for the council meeting on August 27, 2019 lists 'Proposed Drainage Works Gibson Road' as a confidential item. Before a vote, the item will be debated behind closed doors at the August 20 Agenda Briefing.

Shire chief executive officer Matthew Scott declined to confirm if this item was related to Mr Blumann's case.

Mr Blumann said he was out of pocket "many hundreds of thousands" as a result of the case, but it was better than the burden of having the matter unresolved.

"[I'm] relieved that it's behind me," he said.

"On the other hand, the cost to me, both emotionally and financially, is pretty hard to bear."

The 85-year-old farmer said he kept pursuing the case because he deplored injustice.

"I believe I shouldn't be a victim of the shire's incompetence in building a road with adequate drainage from it," he said.

"The average person would never be advised to take on any government instrumentality because they've got unlimited funds to keep defending [the case].

"It's a case of they have done damage to my property and it affected my livelihood."