Funding secured for Katherine class action

The first step to a class action was taken at a packed meeting with Shine Lawyers in Katherine back in October last year.
The first step to a class action was taken at a packed meeting with Shine Lawyers in Katherine back in October last year.

Crucial funding has been secured for the hundreds of Katherine people who have already signed up to sue the Department of Defence.

Shine Lawyers has won the backing of litigation funder IMF Bentham Limited to fund the planned no win-no fee class action over lost property values from PFAS contamination of the town.

PFAS chemicals were used in firefighting foams once used at the Tindal RAAF Base and which are still leaking into the groundwater and underneath Katherine, into the river.

The proposed class action has become now unconditional, a critical step in the proposed court action.

Enough people have signed up with valid claims against Defence, the litigation funder has decided.

“IMF has confirmed that the condition precedent to the agreement, requiring sufficient claimants with valid claims entering into funding agreements with IMF, has been satisfied,” Shine Lawyers said today.

IMF is also backing Oakey residents in Queensland who have launched their own class action against Defence over PFAS contamination.

The law firm, Dentons Lawyers, is mounting the class action at Williamtown in NSW, again backed by IMF.

A trial date of late 2019 has been set down for class actions involving Williamtown and Oakey with a mediation session later this year. 

The proposed action in Katherine will be conducted on behalf of property and business owners affected by contamination alleged to have arisen from the use of aqueous film forming foam at RAAF Base Tindal.

“This will enable us to progress our investigation. We are working with counsel and a team of experts to finalise proceedings, with a view to filing the action as soon as possible,” Shine Lawyers special counsel Josh Aylward said.

“The financial backing of an international funder, IMF, bolsters our case and confidence in the outcome for Katherine residents,” he said.

“This agreement enables us to carry a case of this scale through the courts, and empowers us to deliver justice to residents as soon as is practicable.”

“This action will ensure that Katherine residents whose property values and businesses have been directly impacted by this contamination can access justice and seek to hold Defence to account for the significant harm inflicted on them and their community.”

Residents can still join the action by contacting the IMF Client Liaison Team by email on 403619@imf.com.au or by calling 1800 016 464 (Tollfree).

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