Resolved class actions
Climate & Contamination
Premier v Spotless Group Limited & Ors, 2007
Successful defendant: Acted for the seventh named defendant, a firm of environmental consultants, in a complex multi-party proceeding seeking damages for loss connected with land contaminated by dry-cleaning chemicals. While the first-named defendant (for whom we did not act) was, in part, unsuccessful, our client successfully defended all claims made against it in the proceeding. Click here for the judgment.
Parkerville Bushfire Group Action, ongoing
Acted for the Herridge Plaintiffs, until leaving Slater and Gordon in July 2017, in the multi-plaintiff action in the Supreme Court of Western Australia against Western Power, its contractor Thiess, and a private landowner on behalf of residents, business and property owners affected by the January 2014 bushfire in the Perth hills. The case is ongoing and is set down for trial in the first quarter of 2018.
Financial Products & Services
Bell Potter Securities Limited, 2014
Confidential group settlement: Acted for a group of invested who were advised by Bell Potter to buy shares in biotech company Progen Pharmaceuticals and suffered loss. The proceeding was initially issued as a class action, was declassed in 2012, and an application to reconstitute the claim as a class action was rejected by the Court in 2013. Our team subsequently took over the case and achieved a confidential settlement of the highly complex case.
Storm Financial Resolution Scheme, 2010
Multiple individual settlements: Acted for bank customers and investors in respect of an alternate dispute resolution scheme with the Commonwealth Bank, relating to the loss of funds lent in connection with collapsed financial advice and investments management company Storm Financial, and associated claims against the banks for improper lending practices. Click here for the article from ABC.
Westpoint Group, 2008
Confidential individual settlements: Represented over a thousand retail investors (mainly retirees) who had lost their life savings following the collapse of the Westpoint Group. Westpoint had raised mezzanine finance for property developments by issuing unregulated promissory notes to retail investors through financial planning firms (often paying commissions of 10% or more). Ben developed the systems and processes through which instructions were taken, cases were assessed and triaged, and common issues were identified among individual financial mis-selling claims. The result was a multitude of individual claims, group litigation via test cases and under case management orders, as well as a number of representative proceedings. One individual proceeding, Dartberg v Wealthcare Financial Planning, generated what remains a founding judgment in the development of the law on the application of proportionate liability regimes in Australia. Click here for the article from InvestorDaily and click here for the judgment.
Australian Executor Trustees / Provident Capital Collapse, ongoing
Acted for thousands of investors (including many retirees) in the collapsed unlisted mortgage fund Provident Capital, in a class action claim against trustee company Australian Executor Trustees, from its commencement in 2014 until their departure from Slater and Gordon April 2017. The class action is ongoing and is conducted on a No Win No Fee basis. Click here for the article from Money Management and The Australian.
Trust Company / Australian Capital Reserve Collapse, 2015
$25 million settlement: Acted for investors (mainly retiree investors) in the collapsed unlisted mortgage fund Australian Capital Reserve, in a class action claim against trustee company Trust Company Nominees. In 2015 the proceeding settled for $25m. The class action was conducted on a No Win No Fee basis. Click here for the article on the Sydney Morning Herald.
Sandhurst Trustees / Fincorp Collapse, 2010
$29 million settlement: Acted for investors (mainly retiree investors) in the collapsed unlisted mortgage fund Fincorp, in a class action claim against trustee company Sandhurst Trustees. In 2010 the proceeding settled for $29m. The class action was conducted on a No Win No Fee basis. Click here for the two articles from the Sydney Morning Herald on 05/12/2008 and 11/05/2011.
Nauru Class Action, 2020
Acted for asylum seekers taken from Australia to the Republic of Nauru after 3 August 2013 in a class action against the Commonwealth of Australia and current and former Ministers and Secretaries of the immigration department.
The class action alleged the respondents acted with reckless indifference as to whether their actions were unlawful when making Nauruan visa applications, and requesting extensions, without asylum seekers’ knowledge or consent. The class action was dismissed on the grounds that the applicants did not have sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the respondents acted with reckless indifference.
Human Rights & Asylum Seeker
Manus Island Immigration Detention Centre, 2017
Involved in the inception and investigation of the class action for asylum seekers detained at the Manus Island detention centre, which was commenced in 2014. Click here for the article from The Guardian and two from the Sydney Morning Herald on 17/08/2016 and 14/06/2017.
Fairbridge Farm, 2015
$25 million settlement: Acted for persons who had been victims of physical and sexual abuse as children at Fairbridge Farm, a home established for UK child migrants. In 2015 the case settled for $24m (together with a formal apology), in the largest compensation payment for survivors of institutional child abuse in Australian legal history. The class action was conducted on a No Win No Fee basis. Click here for the two articles from the Sydney Morning Herald on 29/06/2015 and 29/06/2015 and the article from ABC.
Insolvency Claims & Proofs of Debt
Administration of ION Limited, 2014
$9.4 million settlement: Acted for shareholder-creditors in lodging proof of debt claims in the administration of ION Limited. The $9.4m settlement figure represents the aggregate amount of administration distributions paid to Slater and Gordon clients in respect of their claims, each of which was determined individually. The proof of debt process was funded by IMF Bentham Limited. As part of this process, we obtained and lodged individual reliance evidence from claimants including institutional investors.
Product Liability & Medical Devices
Special Commission of Inquiry into Medical Research and Compensation Foundation (James Hardie Inquiry), 2005
Represented the ACTU and asbestos victim support groups in the New South Wales Government’s inquiry into James Hardie. The company, a former asbestos manufacturer, had undertaken a substantial corporate restructure under which its assets were transferred to the Netherlands, while its asbestos liabilities (and AU$293m) remained in an Australian based research and compensation trust. The inquiry established that the trust was grossly-underfunded and resulted in James Hardie agreeing to make additional and on-going payments into the trust in respect of its future asbestos liabilities.
UK Thalidomide Claims, 2017
Represented United Kingdom thalidomide survivors who had never been compensated after suffering life-changing and severe physical abnormalities. Thalidomide damaged unborn children when taken in early pregnancy. Legal proceedings were issued against Grünenthal, the German inventor and manufacturer of thalidomide, and the UK Distillers companies which distributed the drug in the United Kingdom.