A MONTH after losing a class action in the Queensland Supreme Court, farmers who allege a leading seeds business sold them sorghum seed contaminated with the weed shattercane are appealing the decision.
Lawyers from agribusiness legal specialists Creevey Russell said while they were disappointed with the outcome in the long running Mallonland and ME and JL Nitschke v Advanta Seeds court dispute, first lodged in 2017 in relations to allegations from 2010 and 2014 there was enough in the findings to leave them heartened about the appeal.
An appeal was always likely, with Creevey Russell principal Dan Creevey quoted after the finding as saying the company would be open to taking the matter all the way to the High Court.
The allegations centre on Advanta's MR43 sorghum variety, which it was said contained the weed shattercane which is particularly difficult to eradicate.
Farmers from Queensland and northern NSW participated in the class action.
After expressing satisfaction at the Supreme Court finding dismissing the action, Advanta Seeds management declined to comment on the appeal, saying they could not speak about the matter while it was in front of the courts.
Advanta representatives, however, did seek to clarify a point in a release from Creevey Russell, describing shattercane as a 'noxious' weed, saying it had never been classified in this manner by either the Queensland department of agriculture or the NSW department of primary industries.
Mr Creevey said a key point in the appeal would be seeking to prove that Advanta had a duty of care to its grower customers.
In the initial ruling the judge found that Advanta's duty of care was negated by a disclaimer he found to have been marked on bags of Advanta seed bought by farmers in 2010.
However, the Creevey Russell team will contend that the bags did not have a clearly marked disclaimer and even if they did it should not negate all responsibility.
Mr Creevey said it was heartening in the findings that the judge ruled in favour of the growers on a number of issues, such as the fact economic damage did occur due to the seed contamination.
"We remain optimistic as to our chances of successfully appealing the case and finally obtaining some deserved compensation for these farmers," he said.