Kilmore East - Kinglake bushfire class action

Maurice Blackburn was instructed in a class action on behalf of those who suffered injury, loss or damage as a result of the Kilmore East - Kinglake Black Saturday bushfire of 7 February 2009. The bushfire resulted in 119 deaths, the destruction of 1,242 homes, damage to a further 1,084 homes, and the burning of over 125,000 hectares of land.

Background

On 15 July 2014, after a 16-month trial against SP AusNet and four other defendants, the plaintiffs and the defendants reached an agreement to settle the class action for a record settlement of more than $494 million dollars.

On 23 December 2014 the Supreme Court of Victoria approved the settlement of the Kilmore East - Kinglake Black Saturday Bushfire Class Action and the proposed settlement distribution scheme. It is the largest class action settlement in Australian history.

The settlement distribution is of unprecedented scale and complexity. Maurice Blackburn is administering the settlement as quickly and efficiently as possible, including overseeing the assessment of the more than 10,000 individual claims registered as part of the class action. If you have any further questions about the Kilmore East – Kinglake Bushfire Class Action, please telephone Maurice Blackburn on 1800 99 55 70.

Update

Please note, the Case Management Conference for the Kilmore East – Kinglake Bushfire Settlement Administration has been adjourned and is now listed for Thursday 30 March 2017 at 9:30 am.

Distribution of compensation to the economic loss and property damage (ELPD) group members remains on track for early April 2017. 


“Footage from the Maurice Blackburn media conference on 15 July 2014, featuring lead plaintiff Carol Matthews (right), and head of Maurice Blackburn’s National Class Action Practice Andrew Watson.” 

Murrindindi-Marysville Bushfire Class Action

If you are after information about the Murrindindi-Marysville Bushfire Class Action, please click here.

FAQs - your questions answered

The data for final distribution has now been sent to the external mailing house for printing. We anticipate that cheques will be sent by registered post in the next fortnight, i.e. cheques in the mail by 27th March 2017. Based on our experience with the personal injury settlement distribution, we anticipate that it will take Australia Post between a day and a fortnight to deliver the cheques once posted. Once the cheques have been posted, we will be able to provide you with a registered post tracking number so that you can track the location of your letter.

The recovery rate for the Kilmore East – Kinglake Bushfire is 28.467% of your assessed loss.

Once the cheques have been sent by registered post we can provide you with the Australia Post tracking number. You can then contact Australia Post and quote your tracking number to locate the post office where the letter and cheque is being held. You can then request that Australia Post transfer the letter to the Post office closest to you for collection.

EFT payments will be processed at the same time as cheques, within the next fortnight.

Where the split of compensation is disputed at a property we are unable to pay out any compensation for claims at this property until we are provided with satisfactory proof that there is agreement between the registered claimants, or there is a court order directing how compensation is to be paid.

Where a split of compensation dispute is resolved, each registered claimant is required to provide to us a statutory declaration notifying us of their agreement as to how compensation is to be paid. We require that all registered claimants or their authorised representative, declare their understanding of the agreement and provide to us a copy of their statutory declaration before compensation can be paid.

In the event that agreement cannot be reached between the registered claimants at this property, a copy of a relevant court order directing how compensation is to be paid must be provided to us in order for there to be a pay out of compensation.

Your compensation will be held on trust until we receive the statutory declarations or a court order.

As previously advised, where a person under a legal disability is awarded compensation in any proceeding in Victoria, that money must be held on trust for the benefit of that person by an office of the Supreme Court of Victoria known as Funds in Court. Funds in Court is supervised by the Senior Master.

For group members who are minors, this means that their compensation will be held on trust until the minor reaches 18 years of age; at which point it will be released to the group member.

Funds held on trust may be released to pay expenses such as living costs, school expenses, clothing and holidays. Money held on trust is held 'subject to the direction of the Senior Master', which means that only the Senior Master can authorise money to be paid out for specific purposes.

A contact person, known as a Trust Officer, will be appointed for each group member whose compensation is held by Funds in Court. The Trust Office will provide information and advice about how group members might access money from Funds in Court.

Once the compensation payable is transferred to Funds in Court, Maurice Blackburn will have no further role or authority in relation to those funds.

A cheque payable to the estate will be sent once we have received the required grant of representation or indemnity.

As previously advised Maurice Blackburn is continuing to work with its tax advisors PwC and the ATO to attempt to resolve issues relating to interest earned on the Distribution Sum and the deductibility of administration costs. Depending on the outcome of negotiations with the ATO regarding the tax treatment of interest on the settlement sum, there may be a second settlement distribution to claimants at a later date in the future. We will keep you updated regarding this issue.