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.

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.

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.

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.

Swann Insurance

Acting for plaintiffs in Federal Court Class Action proceedings against Swann Insurance and Insurance Australia Limited relating to the sale of add-on insurance in which we secured a settlement of $138m.

Merivale Group

Defending the privately owned hospitality group in class action proceedings filed in the Federal Court of Australia alleging the underpayment of Merivale’s workforce in the order of a claimed $129m.

Aurora Travel

Representing our client on threatened class action and series of related claims relating to the “Greg Mortima” cruise ship which was effected by COVID19 cases and became stranded off the coast of Uruguay.

Advanta Seeds

Representing a group of farmers in a class action against Advanta Seeds regarding claims of negligence and misleading and deceptive conduct.

Facebook/Cambridge Analytica

Acting for the complainant in the first ever Australian Privacy group action for damages against Facebook over its data breaches involving Cambridge Analytica.

Dick Smith Limited

Acting for largely institutional plaintiffs in significant claims arising out of failures of disclosure and accounting irregularities relating to the failed Dick Smith group against directors and the auditor with a hearing that ran for 55 days.

Gunns Limited

Acted for the liquidators in a class action filed by investors in managed investment schemes of Gunns Limited on various claims totalling over $250 million.

BSA Limited

Defending BSA Limited in class action proceedings against the ASX listed company alleging “sham contracting” under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).

Vasco Trustees Limited

Defending Federal Court class action proceedings commenced by Slater + Gordon on behalf of investors against Vasco Trustees Limited, the trustee of the IPO Wealth Fund which was operated by the Mayfair101 group, in respect of misleading and deceptive conduct claims by the investors seeking recovery of funds invested in the collapsed IPO Wealth Fund.

Recognition

'JWS has strong and knowledgeable resources but itsstand out is its entrepreneurial spirit and its think-outside-the-box litigation strategy'
Asia Pacific Legal 500, 2021
Ranked as a band 2 for dispute resolution: class actions
Asia Pacific Legal 500, 2021
Ranked as a leading firm in dispute resolution: class action (plaintiff) law
Chambers Asia-Pacific, 2020-2021
“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 is "highly responsive, professional and knowledgeable" practice "becoming key competition for some of the other firms in the market"
Australia-Pacific Legal 500, 2019

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Beauty parades are here to stay

“Auctions” or “beauty parades” are here to stay in class actions and so we will continue to see a race to file with multiple law firms and multiple funders vying for the ”prize” of being selected...

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Curtains on class closure orders

The Federal Court of Australia and the Supreme Court of New South Wales look to have brought the practice of pre-settlement class closures to an end, at least for the time being.

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Court puts funders’ conduct and expenses under the microscope

On 30 November 2020, Murphy J published his reasons for approving the $95 million settlement of the Spotless Group Holdings Ltd (Spotless) class action. As is the case with most judgements in this...

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