Our experience is as diverse as our clients

Bankrupty & Insolvency

Liquidation of the TJF Group of Companies
Acting for the Beville Group of companies in relation to recovery of funds from former advisors and the proprietors of the TJF Group in relation to scaffolding hire businesses around Australia. After lengthy negotiations with the liquidator and financiers of the TJF Group some of the Beville Group’s funds were recovered.

Bankrupt Estate of Raymond Reginald Williams
Acting for Rita Williams in demands made by the Trustee of the Bankrupt Estate of Raymond Williams. The matter continues.

Class Actions

Femcare Class Action
Acting for the Australian distributor of the Filshie Clip laparoscopic tubal ligation system in the class action against the distributor and manufacturer alleging ‘failed’ female sterilisations and individual claims for ‘failed’ female sterilisations brought against the distributor, medical practitioners, Area Health Services and Hospitals in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, the Australian Capital Territory and Western Australia. The class action was eventually withdrawn. In the various individual claims all actions against the distributor were successfully defended or withdrawn. The Filshie clip system is still used successfully in Australia and worldwide.

GIO/AMP Class Action
Acting for 6 Non-Executive Directors of the GIO in the $760 million shareholder class action. The Federal Court action was commenced in 1999 and Judgment was entered in favour of the Non-Executive Directors in 2003.

Roche Benzodiazepine worldwide litigation in 26 jurisdictions
Coordinating the commonwealth law countries’ defences in the worldwide class actions commenced in 26 jurisdictions for the Swiss parent company. All class actions were successfully resolved over a number of years throughout the various jurisdictions.

Commercial Disputes

GapBuster Pty Limited
Advising the Managing Director and shareholder in relation to shareholders agreements and funding guarantees which threatened the company’s solvency. Proceedings were successfully avoided through negotiation and injection of funds in 2008.

Admiralty Resources NL
Strategic advice on multiple proceedings launched by a minority shareholder in Chile and Australia.

Tyers Finance Pty Limited
Advising in negotiations to terminate an existing franchise arrangement, the transfer of all business and establishment of a new franchise arrangement.

Australian Family Assurance v AIRS Brokers
Acting for Australian Family Assurance upon discovery of a significant shortfall in its reinsurance treaties causing a significant $5 million shortfall in reinsurance. The discovery coincided with APRA’s increase of prudential margins following the HIH collapse. It was essential to secure an early settlement (or expedited hearing) in order to secure funds for the business to continue. Within 3 months a settlement was reached without the need to issue proceedings and a significant payment was made to cover the shortfall in reinsurance recoveries.

PJT Corporate Services Pty Limited
Advising an Australian company in relation to a multi-jurisdictional tracing exercise arising out of commercial activities in Kazakhstan including freezing orders, corporate undertakings, production of documents and the imposition of restrictive conditions.

Coronial Enquiries

Cross City Tunnel Collapse
Acting for Connell Wagner, its state subsidiary, employees and directors in the coronial inquiry into the death of Ronald Shores arising from the Cross City Tunnel collapse on 29 July 2004. WorkCover withdrew all Connell Wagner employee prosecutions in 2008.

Air Liquide Explosion
Acting for the employer/occupier of premises where an employee fatality occurred as a result of a scientifically inexplicable explosion of a compressed gas tank. WorkCover withdrew all employer prosecutions and civil proceedings against the tank manufacturer were successfully settled.

Corporate Governance

Columbia Pelikan and Acco joint venture dispute
Acting in a joint venturer dispute relating to the exclusive supply of products to the joint venture company by the joint venture partners in Australia and the United States of America. The dispute was successfully resolved in 2008 without the issue of proceedings and the joint venture business continues to flourish.

Wests Tigers Board dispute
Acting for Wests Ashfield as the joint venture partner in the West Tigers Rugby League team – advising on proper Board practice, effective corporate governance and minority oppression aspects. The dispute was successfully resolved in 2008 without the issue of proceedings.

Corporate Express
Acting for the Independent Chairman of ASX listed Corporate Express in relation to Australian governance and independence requirements. The disagreement was successfully resolved in 2008 without publicity, the need for Directorial resignations or the issue of proceedings.

GapBuster Pty Limited
Advising the Managing Director and shareholder in relation to strategy and governance aspects including dilution of shareholding interests, through funding and operational aspects. Proceedings were successfully avoided in 2008.

Corporate Succession Planning

Focus Publishing
Advising the Managing Director and minority shareholder in relation to strategy and governance aspects of the corporate recovery and reconstruction of Focus Publishing following the death of the founder. Proceedings were successfully avoided with the corporate succession and reconstruction successfully completed in 2007. Focus Publishing continues to flourish and grow including a successful merger in 2008.

Lorge v IFS and Anor
Advising the Asia Pacific President of IFS, a dual Swedish and NASDAQ listed company, in relation to corporate activity including suspected international listing and governance breaches. Proceedings were successfully resolved in 2008.

Defamation

Szencorp and Green Building Council
Acting for Peter Szental and defending a claim by the Green Building Council that he had defamed the Council and several of its directors. After negotiations and discussions the allegations of defamatory statements were withdrawn.

AFA Pty Limited v Today Tonight
Negotiations for retraction of statements made during an on-air broadcast. An agreed retraction was broadcast to correct these statements without the need to issue proceedings.

Directors’ Breaches

Liquid Fertiliser Pty Limited
Advising and defending the Managing Director and shareholder in relation to strategy and governance aspects of allegations of impropriety, dilution of shareholder interests and operational aspects. Two separate proceedings were successfully resolved.

Lorge v IFS and Anor
Advising the Asia Pacific President of IFS, a dual Swedish and Nasdaq listed company, in relation to possible international corporate and directorial breaches in China, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore.

Transcorp Underwriting Agency Pty Limited
Advising the Board on possible breaches of director’s/employee’s duties.

GapBuster Pty Limited
Advising the Managing Director and shareholder in relation to strategy and governance aspects of dilution of shareholder interests and funding and operational aspects. Proceedings were successfully avoided in 2008.

The Vintage Development in the Hunter Valley
Defending a claim by a subsequent purchaser against a director for accessorial, misleading and deceptive conduct in relation to the existence and effect of Aboriginal heritage and sacred sites in the Hunter Valley in New South Wales. The proceedings were successfully resolved at mediation in 2007.

Employment Disputes

The Beville Group
Acting for the Beville Group of companies in relation to demands by a former employee relating to an alleged profit share agreement in relation to the sale of Marrickville Metro Shopping Centre. The matter was successfully resolved without proceedings.

Lorge v IFS and Anor
Advising the Asia Pacific President of IFS, a dual Swedish and Nasdaq listed company, in relation to the circumstances concerning his constructive dismissal including issuing proceedings which were successfully resolved through negotiation.

Pearce v Gold Medal
Advising in relation to UK proceedings for imposition of restrictive restraint of employment conditions following constructive dismissal and recovery of the benefit of employees’ shares. The matter was resolved with recovery of the value of the shares without harmful restraint conditions.

The Hyper Hyper Company Pty Limited
Advising on recovery of confidential information through enforcement of employment contract provisions.

Estate Disputes

Estate of the Late Dawn O’Donnell
Acting for the surviving spouse (30 years) including negotiation with charity beneficiaries. The matter was resolved by agreement in April 2009 after the Supreme Court hearing commenced.

Fraud

Suncorp Motor Accident Fraud investigation
Acting for Suncorp the third party accident insurer for Avis and Budget rental cars hired for the purpose of staging accidents to recover personal injury settlements. In a wide ranging investigation involving the first systematic review of accident patterns, we established links in the systematic and deliberate fraud scheme which had operated for a 5 year period in Sydney.

As a result of those investigations the first criminal convictions were recorded against the ringleaders of the scam in Australia.

Insurance

Acting for Issuers in D&O, Professional Indemnity and General Insurance
Over the past 20 years acting for GIO, AMP, HIH, Chubb, Australian Family Assurance, QBE, SGIO and Suncorp in disputes as diverse as medical and legal negligence claims, construction and building disputes, accident and death insurances claims for individuals and policy schemes.

Australian Family Assurance Limited & MetLife
Acting for Australian Family Assurance in a dispute.

Australian Family Assurance Limited (in run-off)
Acting for the shareholders and office bearers of an Australian licensed insurer which surrendered its license including negotiations with the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA) for an orderly run off. It remains the only successful run-off operation on APRA’s books.

Intellectual Property

Pacific Publications v Next Publishing “Girl Power”
Pacific Publications, the proprietor of ‘Total Girl’ tween magazine alleged that our client’s magazine ‘Girl Power’ infringed and passed off their property in a number of significant aspects including the use of the words ‘girl power’. Within 9 weeks proceedings were issued and a full 4 day Federal Court hearing was concluded including taking expert evidence from Australian academia and foreign witnesses. Judgment was entered in favour of Girl Power together with costs.

AFA negotiations with Komodo
Acting for AFA in establishing and protecting their intellectual property rights in their proprietary on-line broking system.

Geoff Penney/Shachihata Inc Trade Mark License Agreement negotiations
Acting for Geoff Penney drafting an exclusive trade mark license agreement for all Artline products in Australia and New Zealand.

Pelikan Artline/Esselte Licence and Distribution Agreements
Acting for Pelikan Artline including drafting and negotiating an exclusive royalty free trade mark licence agreement and exclusive distribution agreement for Australia and New Zealand.

Pelikan Artline/Pukka Pads Licence and Distribution Agreements
Acting for Pelikan Artline including drafting and negotiating a trade mark licence and exclusive distribution agreement for Australia and New Zealand.

Supertex and Canning Vale
Acting for Supertex against Canning Vale by protecting confidential commercially sensitive information from disclosure to a potential purchaser which was also a competitor. Successful negotiations and completion of confidential regimes resulted in the purchaser being restricted from accessing the sensitive information and Supertex recovering the whole interest in the joint venture.

Oppressive Conduct

Liquid Fertiliser Pty Limited
Advising and defending the Managing Director and shareholder in relation to strategy and governance aspects of allegations of impropriety, dilution of shareholder interests and operational aspects. Two separate proceedings were successfully resolved.

GapBuster Pty Limited
Advising the Managing Director and shareholder in relation to strategy and governance aspects of dilution of shareholder interests and funding and operational aspects. Proceedings were successfully avoided in 2008.

Royal Commissions

Building Royal Commission
Acting for Grocon and its employee in the Cole Building Royal Commission.

HIH Royal Commission
Acting for Raymond Williams in the HIH Royal Commission.

Shareholder vs Joint Venture Disputes

Columbia Pelikan & Acco/GBC joint venture dispute
Acting in a joint venturer dispute relating to the exclusive supply of products to the joint venture company by the joint venture partners in Australia and the United States of America. The dispute was successfully resolved in 2008 without the issue of proceedings and the joint venture business continues to flourish.

Supertex Industries Supertex and Canning Vale
Acting for Supertex against its join venture partner which was attempting to extract a sale price for its portion of the joint venture through inappropriate tactics. Successful negotiations and completion of confidential regimes resulted in the ‘purchaser’ not proceeding and Supertex recovering the whole interest in the joint venture.

Sustainability

Szencorp and Green Building Council
Acting for Peter Szental and the Szencorp Group of Companies in their application for the first 5 GBC green star refurbished building in Australia. The Building ‘40 Albert Road’ was officially opened in 2005.

It gained its rightful place in sustainability in Australia through the granting of 5 green stars. It has since received numerous other Australian and international awards for its innovations in sustainable building practices.

Trade Practices

The Vintage Development in the Hunter Valley
Defending a claim by a subsequent purchaser for misleading and deceptive conduct in relation to the existence and effect of Aboriginal heritage and sacred sites in the Hunter Valley in New South Wales. The proceedings were successfully resolved at mediation in 2007.

Perosin & Sergi
Advising and representing a partner of an accounting firm in relation to its former employee’s negligent and misleading advice in taxation matters. Proceedings issued by the former client groups were resolved within months of commencement. Recovery investigations are continuing.

WorkCover Inquiries

Cross City Tunnel Collapse
Representing Connell Wagner, its state subsidiary, employees and directors in the WorkCover interviews and investigations following the death of Ronald Shores arising from the CCT Collapse on 29 July 2004. WorkCover did not issue prosecutions against any of the Connell Wagner Directors and withdrew the one Connell Wagner employee prosecution in 2008.

Air Liquide
Acting for the employer/occupier of premises where an employee fatality occurred as a result of a scientifically inexplicable explosion of a compressed gas tank. WorkCover withdrew all employer prosecutions and civil proceedings against the tank manufacturer were successfully settled.