Prawn White Spot Class Action

Prawn White Spot Class Action

This is a class action against the Commonwealth of Australia (Respondent) alleging that the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources negligently failed to discharge its biosecurity obligations, which resulted in losses suffered by persons involved in the Australian commercial prawn, seafood and bait industries.

Group members who have suffered losses arising from the Respondent’s alleged biosecurity breaches at the Australian border in relation to the Prawn White Spot outbreak which occurred in late 2016 may be entitled to compensation for those losses.

This class action is being funded and run as a managed investment scheme (the Scheme) in compliance with new funded class action regulations introduced by the Australian government in 2020. 

Notice dated 18 October 2021 – Proceedings now filed – The Prawn White Spot Litigation Funding Scheme (ARSN 647 887 027).

Omni Bridgeway Investment Management Limited (ACN 642 086 593 and AFSL No. 524023) (Issuer) gives notice that the proceedings for this class action have now been filed in the Queensland Supreme Court. 
 
The proceedings were filed on 18 October 2021 on a ‘closed class’ basis.  This means the funding of the class action by Omni Bridgeway (Fund 5) Australian Invt. Pty Limited (ACN 635 083 984, Authorised Representative Number 1283704) (Funder) is limited to persons who applied to become a member of the Scheme prior to 18 October 2021. 
 
If you did not apply for membership of the Scheme prior to 18 October 2021, but wish to participate in the Class Action, you are encouraged to read the Product Disclosure Statement for the Scheme (PDS) and complete the application form contained within the PDS.  The Issuer may (but is not obliged to) accept your application. If the Issuer does accept your application, that will not entitle you to participate in the Scheme unless the Court permits an alteration to the definition of “group members” in the Class Action.  There is no guarantee that will happen.
   
Applications to participate in the Scheme and join the Class Action will only be accepted on the Application Form contained in or accompanying the PDS.  Terms not defined in this Notice have the same meaning as in the PDS.

Background

It is alleged that there were breaches at the Australian border which resulted in the introduction of White Spot Syndrome Virus from imported prawns and the eventual outbreak of White Spot Disease in Australia which devastated the commercial prawn, seafood and bait industries.

Causes of Action

The claims in negligence and public nuisance will be brought by Maurice Thompson of Clyde & Co who acts for claimants involved in the Australian commercial seafood, bait and prawn industries, including importers, wholesalers and fishers.

The claim period commences on or about 1 December 2016 and continues to the present day.  Further details about the claim are set out in the Product Disclosure Statement in respect of the class action which is now available and can be accessed using the link below or by contacting Omni Bridgeway using the details below.

How much will it cost to be part of the class action?

The costs of running the class action will be partly met by Omni Bridgeway with the remainder met by Clyde & Co. In return, Omni Bridgeway will be entitled to a share of any amount awarded or settled in relation to the class action - see the Fees and Other Costs section of the PDS.

The amounts payable to Omni Bridgeway and the lawyers cannot exceed the amount recovered as part of the class action.

There are no ‘out of pocket’ costs for group members to pay. Group members do not have to pay anything in the event that the class action is unsuccessful, as Omni Bridgeway agrees to pay any legal costs that might be awarded to the Respondent. 

How can affected group members participate in the class action?

If you are an eligible affected group member, you can apply to be a member of the Scheme and to participate in the class action by completing and returning the Application Form which is set out in the PDS for this class action.  A copy of the PDS can be accessed here and should be read in its entirety prior to submitting an application.  

If your application to become a member of the Scheme is accepted, you will be able to access updates about the progress of litigation on this website with unique log on details that will be issued to you once your application to become a member of the Scheme has been accepted. 

Please note that registering an expression of interest with Omni Bridgeway does not represent an offer to participate in a Litigation Funding Scheme and is not a commitment by any person to fund a class action or potential class action in respect of the matters set out on this website. Omni Bridgeway also notes the following:
  • any offer to participate in a Litigation Funding Scheme shall only be done by way of the PDS issued by Omni Bridgeway Investment Management Limited (ACN 642 086 593, AFSL No. 524023) in respect of the Litigation Funding Scheme - which can be accessed using the above link;
  • by registering an interest in participating in funded litigation, you consent to Omni Bridgeway Investment Management Limited or Omni Bridgeway Limited (Authorised Representative of Omni Bridgeway Investment Management Limited) (ABN 45 067 298 088, Authorised Representative No 1283703) contacting you and providing further information in relation to litigation funding; and
  • to the extent that a PDS is made available, you should consider with or without the assistance of your professional advisers whether or not to participate in the litigation to which the PDS relates.

If you would like further information about the Prawn White Spot Class Action, you can contact the Omni Bridgeway Client Liaison Team by email on [email protected] or free call 1800 016 464.
By registering your interest, you are indicating your interest in receiving further information from Omni Bridgeway about the Prawn White Spot class action and the Scheme. You are not applying to become a member of the Scheme. In order to apply to become a member of the Scheme, you must complete and return an Application Form which is attached to the PDS.


Omni Bridgeway Limited is responsible for the contents of this website.

Target Market Determination


This target market determination is required under section 994B of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (Corporations Act) and relates to the PDS dated 1 April 2021.

The Prawn White Spot Litigation Funding Scheme (Scheme) is designed for participation by the Funder, the Lawyers and any claimant with a valid claim in the Class Action.  Interests in the Scheme can only be distributed to the Funder, the Lawyers and a claimant with an asserted claim in the Class Action.

The details of any dealings outside the target market that a distributor is aware of or any complaint (as defined in section 994A(1) of the Corporations Act) relating to the product design, product availability and distribution of the Scheme received by a distributor must be reported to OBIML within 10 business days following the end of a calendar quarter.

The details of any significant dealings outside the target market that a distributor is aware of must be reported to OBIML as soon as practicable but no later than 10 business days of becoming aware of the significant dealing.

This target market determination is reviewed every 2 years and must be reviewed within 10 business days following a determination by OBIML that significant dealing outside the target market determination has occurred.

Website updated 29 June 2021 – Notice of Postponement of Deadline for Applications Prawn White Spot Litigation Funding Scheme to 31 August 2021
Website updated 31 August 2021 – Notice that the Class Action will be funded on an ‘open’ basis
Website updated 30 September 2021 – Notice of Postponement of Deadline for Applications Prawn White Spot Litigation Funding Scheme to date proceedings filed
Website updated 19 October 2021 – Class Action filed 18 October 2021