ORDER: A dispute has led to a $90,000 order involving a hot/cold gel pack business.
ORDER: A dispute has led to a $90,000 order involving a hot/cold gel pack business. John Weekes

Hot/cold gel pack dispute heats up with $90k pay order

A COUPLE has been awarded nearly $90,000 as a long-running legal battle over a gel pack business heats up.

The money was awarded in the Maroochydore District Court last week for contraventions of the Trade Practices Act.

Donald Fenton and Tamara Speidel were awarded the money, which included interest of more than $27,000, after dispute over whether gel packs being made by the former owners of a business bought by Mr Fenton and Ms Speidel were toxic or non-toxic.

The pair had signed a $100,000 contract in October 2007 to buy a gel pack making business based in Lake Macdonald from Ozzz Lo Pty Ltd and $14,000 worth of goods from Ozzz Lo Healthcare Pty Ltd, directed by Robert Bool.

Mr Bool and his wife were shareholders of Ozzz Lo and Ozzz Lo Healthcare and employees of the latter.

Their businesses were known as 'Australian Blue Healer Ice Pack' and 'Blue Healer', which made and sold reusable hot/cold packs with a thermal gel usually used to treat sport-related injuries.

Mr and Mrs Bool had made the gel packs for about 12 years and produced about 175,000 packs in that time.

After buying the business the new owners were advised by health authorities in 2008 about the risks posed by ethylene glycol discovered by another manufacturer, which led them to recall their products and reformulate, as their gel packs contained about 25 per cent MEG.

The new owners argued it had been false of Mr and Mrs Bool to represent the gel packs as non-toxic, as they contained MEG, which had an estimated lethal dose of 100ml if ingested by the average person.

The new owners argued they wouldn't have entered into the sale if they'd known.

Mr Fenton and Ms Speidel had a 14-day due diligence period prior to settling on the business and there was criticism of the evidence offered up by both sides during Judge Gary Long's findings.

In deciding the payment to the new owners Judge Long found criticisms of the defendants' positions should "largely" be accepted and the new owners' evidence should be accepted as "more likely".

Both parties would have an opportunity to make costs submissions.



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