Last week’s Federal Court decision on Money Max Int Pty Ltd (Trustee) v QBE Insurance Group Limited may lead to a greater number of open class shareholder class actions and an overall increase in damages amounts sought in class actions.
The chance of an Australian company facing a class action is now a significant business risk. When ranking the world’s highest likelihoods of facing a class action, Australia ranks second only to the United States.
Class actions are now a well-established tool to litigate multiple claims sharing common issues. There has been significant growth in class action claims as a result of the growth in share market investment, the rise of litigation funding and a sophisticated approach by plaintiff law firms.
Gilbert + Tobin recognises that our clients need lawyers that are skilled at negotiating and resolving class actions. Our team has the track record to manage the risk and uncertainty that this type of litigation has on our clients’ reputation and business operations. Our lawyers are practiced at working closely with clients and regulators to take proactive and preventative measures to mitigate the risk of class actions arising or proceeding beyond a preliminary stage.
Gilbert + Tobin’s team of class action specialists is also experienced in defending clients in large scale and complex class actions.
We have built a strong reputation for efficiently resolving complex and high-profile disputes and our team has achieved outstanding results for our clients in some of Australia’s most significant commercial disputes. Gilbert + Tobin’s formidable class actions team consists of litigation, securities, competition, intellectual property and other experts.
RiverCity class action: Securing a AUD280 million settlement - the largest settlement of a misleading and deceptive conduct claim in Australian corporate history - for the RiverCity companies in proceedings against AECOM Australia in the Federal Court of Australia in relation to Brisbane’s Clem 7 Tunnel.
Air freight cartel class action: Acting for each of Malaysia Airlines and Thai Airways in class action proceedings involving multiple international airlines and claimed damages of up to $2.3 billion, following the resolution of Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) proceedings against various airlines alleging cartel conduct in connection with air cargo surcharges.
Negotiated outcomes prior to the commencement of class action proceedings:
- Representing an Australian listed company in relation to allegations by certain of its shareholders of breach of continuous disclosure requirements and misleading or deceptive conduct. We assisted our client to successfully resolve the claims prior to the commencement of any litigation.
- Advising a leading Australian company in relation to threatened follow-on damages claims and class action claims following penalty proceedings by the ACCC. We successfully achieved a negotiated resolution prior to the commencement of litigation.
Advising an investment bank in relation to a shareholder class action commenced against one of its former clients.
We also have considerable experience in other types of regulatory investigations and disputes giving rise to issues typically litigated in securities class actions, including:
Claimed contraventions of the disclosure requirements of the Corporations Act; and
Insider trading investigations and litigation. The insider trading provisions in Australia involve equivalent considerations to the continuous disclosure provisions about whether information is ‘generally available’ and the materiality of information to share price.