English funders to back shattercane class action

Shattercane class action to be backed by England-based organisation


PROGRESS: Creevey Russell principal Dan Creevey, top left, updates about a dozen growers on the latest developments in the shattercane class action.

PROGRESS: Creevey Russell principal Dan Creevey, top left, updates about a dozen growers on the latest developments in the shattercane class action.

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An England-based litigation funder is prepared to invest $3m into the shattercane class action, farmers have heard.

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ENGLAND-based litigation funder, Balance Legal Capital, has been revealed as the organisation that has agreed to back the shattercane class action.

About a dozen farm owners and managers at a meeting at Willow Tree heard that the litigation funder was “prepared to put $3 million … to run this class action”.

Creevey Russell Lawyers’ Dan Creevey said his team had been “working feverishly” since the last meeting, talking to backers worldwide.

I assure you they put us through every possible hurdle you can possibly imagine. - Dan Creevey

Mr Creevey is working with sorghum growers in Queensland and NSW who claim they bought bags of MR43 Elite sorghum seed contaminated with the weed shattercane.

Advanta managing director Nicholas Gardner has said the company would vigorously defend itself against the allegations and was confident in its stance.

‘Every possible hurdle’

Mr Creevey travelled from his Toowoomba office to host the meeting on Thursday to update farmers from the Liverpool Plains on the case.

Mr Creevey said Balance had a history of working in Australia and had between four and six class actions on the books at any given time.

“They’re prepared to put $3 million into their investment to run this class action,” he said.

“I assure you they put us through every possible hurdle you can possibly imagine, and they came back and said, ‘Yes, we think this is a good case and we’re prepared to fund it’.

“Obviously that doesn’t come without a cost … at the end of the day, they take 28 per cent of any of the proceeds.”

Next steps

Mr Creevey said about 35 farmers had now come forward saying they’d been affected, this number split roughly half-and-half between NSW and Queensland.

The next hurdle is for more farmers to sign up: Mr Creevey said Balance required a minimum of 10,000 hectares allegedly affected by shattercane.

This was due to its financial modelling of the possible damages per hectare planted.

Advanta Seeds and Mallonland have been directed by Justice Debbie Mullins to file their amended defence and reply by November 28 and December 12 respectively. 

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