It's been five years since the devastating equine influenza outbreak hit eastern Australia, but unfortunately the effects of this crisis are still being felt by many across the industry.
The outbreak saw a cancellation of race events over a number of months in line with the restricted movement of horses, leading to a significant flow-on effect for a large section of the equine industry, with many still struggling to recover as a result.
Maurice Blackburn has
partnered with Attwood Marshall to commence a class action in the
Federal Court on behalf of individuals and businesses who
suffered financial loss due to the outbreak.
Already, hundreds of people have registered interest, with the action expected to be launched before the end of the year. The action will seek damages for economic loss, with compensation to vary from person-to-person, taking into account individual circumstances.
The class action is backed by a litigation funder and will be run on a no win, no fee basis. Funding agreements are now available for anyone who is eligible to join the class action, with all costs and risks to be fully underwritten by the litigation funder if the case fails. This ensures there are no out of pocket costs or risk to those who join the action.
Maurice Blackburn Principal Damian Scattini, who is heading up the class action, said people who had suffered loss from the 2007 outbreak deserved to be compensated, as it was widely accepted that the Commonwealth failed to implement measures that would have prevented the disease from infecting horses in Australia. An inquiry by former High Court judge Ian Callinan AC found significant systemic failures of the quarantine system in Australia.
"Our discussions with industry experts confirm the findings of the Callinan Inquiry that the most likely cause of the outbreak from Eastern Creek Quarantine Station was on the person, clothing or equipment of a person who had contact with an infected horse," Mr Scattini said.
"The Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service failed to implement adequate quarantine and biosecurity measures to prevent the escape of the virus, and people who were affected, many very badly, deserve to be compensated for this."
Am I eligible for the class action? Click here
You may be eligible if you suffered loss due to equine influenza and were involved in any of the following from 8 August 2007 to 30 June 2008:
*owned, part-owned, leased, managed a horse or a horse syndicate that was capable of earning you money, whether or not the horse contracted equine influenza in that period;
*provided agistment, stabling and/or breeding services for horses;
*provided transport facilities or transport means used for the purpose of
*operated a business that engaged in trading and/or commercial activities solely
concerned with horses.
About Maurice Blackburn
Maurice Blackburn has a hard earned and unparalleled record in successful class actions. The firm conducts most of the nation's biggest class actions, and is the only firm to have achieved class action settlements over $100 million.
For further details go to mauriceblackburn.com.au/equineinfluenza or call us on 1800 810 812 or email firstname.lastname@example.org