Class actions

We have leading-edge experience in advising clients in class actions, involving solvent and insolvent entities and, significantly differing from all other major firms in this space, acting for both claimants and defendants. Our partners have been involved in most of the significant corporate class action matters in Australia over the last 20 years.

Experience

Recent matters

3M

Acting in relation to numerous filed and potential product liability and environmental damage class actions around Australia where claimants are seeking loss and damage from the Department of Defence’s use of allegedly toxic PFCs and other fire retardant chemicals over a 40 year period at air force defence bases some of which were manufactured and supplied by 3M.

Facebook

Acting in the representative proceedings on behalf of 270,000 users brought against Facebook involving the Cambridge Analytica data breaches.

Insurance Australia

Acting for the lead plaintiff in claims against one of Australia’s largest insurers, Insurance Australia Limited, around the sale of valueless add on insurance.

LifeSmart

Acted for LifeSmart as a representative creditor and investor seeking to assert the rights of a certain class of creditor/investor to maximise their return in the Courtenay House liquidation in what is described as Australia’s largest Ponzi scheme.

DDH Graham

Defended a class action by depositors who lost in excess of $60M through third party fraud.

Advanta Seeds

Acting as co-counsel in a product liability claim affecting farmers across Queensland.

Caason

Acting for the litigation funder in obtaining one of the largest common fund orders.

Standard & Poor's

Acting for the lead applicants, Lifeplan Australia Friendly Society & others, in Federal Court proceedings against Standard & Poor’s for multi-million dollar losses related to investments in synthetic CDOs, which carried their credit ratings from AA- to AAA and were sold through Lehman Brothers’ Australian subsidiary.

Quintis

Acting for the defendants in 3 separate securities class actions arising out of the collapse of the Quintis group and the loss of funds in its Indian Sandalwood Plantation across Northern Australia. The cases involve breaches of continuous disclosure rules and allegations of significant accounting irregularities.

Pitcher Partners

Acting for the lead applicant, Babscay Pty Ltd, in a shareholders class action against Pitcher Partners, the auditors of Slater + Gordon, with a potential claim value of $300 million. The main pillar of the claim concerns the recognition of conditional revenue from 2012 to 2015. It is alleged that the audit reports resulted in the trading of shares at inflated prices. It is the first of two class actions issued against Pitcher Partners, which are being case managed together in the Federal Court.

SurfStitch Group

Acting for Nakali Pty Ltd, as representative applicant, in a class action against SurfStitch in respect of a claim that SurfStitch breached its continuous disclosure obligations and caused losses to shareholders. This is the first class action in Australia which settled via a Deed of Company arrangement and JWS acted for the plaintiffs in helping them navigate through the complex scenario of how to resolve this claim via insolvency procedures.

Dick Smith

Acting for investors in a securities class action arising from the failure of the Dick Smith corporate group.

Dick Smith Insurance class action

Acting for investors in the failed Dick Smith corporate group against 10 insurers in respect of losses related to the 2013 Dick Smith IPO.

Gunns Ltd (In Liquidation)

Acting for the liquidators of Gunns (and a company in its group, Gunns Plantations Ltd (In Liquidation)), previously one of Australia’s largest producers and exporters of timber forestry products, in the defence of a class action by growers in the Gunns Woodlot schemes for alleged losses from investments in managed investment schemes

RCR Tomlinson (In Liquidation)

Defending the former CEO of RCR Tomlinson Limited in a shareholder class action, following the collapse of the company in November 2018.

Recognition

JWS is ranked as a leading firm in Dispute Resolution - Class Action (Plaintiff) law.
Chambers Asia-Pacific, 2020
Robert Johnston is described as "good in the class action space and right across it."
Chambers Asia-Pacific, 2020
“Johnson Winter & Slattery is taking the lead on some of the most complex class actions before the court – on both plaintiff and defence side”.
Lawyerly Class Action Powerhouses, 2019
"Clearly up-and-coming", JWS' "highly responsive, professional and knowledgeable" practice is "becoming key competition for some of the other firms in the market."
Australia-Pacific Legal 500, 2019
Paul Reidy is "savvy, strategic and has client skills of the highest calibre."
Australia-Pacific Legal 500, 2019
Robert Johston is "brilliant", Mark Easton "excellent", Chris Connor is "user friendly, experienced and calm" and Frances Dreyer is "truly outstanding."
Australia-Pacific Legal 500, 2019

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