Getswift shareholder class action debates timing of opt out
Securities class action – Timing and form of opt out notices
The history of this matter is well known. At first instance, Lee J ordered that this proceeding continue, and stayed two competing proceedings. An application for leave to appeal was brought from that decision and, pending the outcome of that application, his Honour determined that the opt out process in this proceeding should be deferred. Although the Full Court granted leave to appeal, it ultimately dismissed the appeal. The unsuccessful appellants have now sought special leave to appeal to the High Court.
In this judgment, his Honour considered, inter alia, whether the opt out process in this proceeding should be further deferred, pending the outcome of the application for special leave to appeal. The parties to this proceeding opposed that course; the applicant for special leave pressed that course. Ultimately, his Honour considered that it was not appropriate to continue to defer the opt out process for several reasons, including:
- The overwhelming likelihood is that the proceeding will settle, rather than proceed to judgment, and although it is possible for a class action to settle prior to opt out, that is not normally the case – thus, commencing the opt out process immediately will facilitate an early mediation, and thus increase the prospects of an early settlement of the proceeding before significant further legal costs are incurred.
- The opt out notice will, in any event, inform class members of the existence of the other (stayed) proceedings and the extant application for special leave to appeal, and if the outcome in the High Court is that the stay is lifted, and the other proceedings are re-enlivened, class members can be given a further opportunity to opt out at that point in order to participate in one of those other proceedings.
Webb v GetSwift Ltd (No 4)  FCA 233
- Federal Court of Australia, Lee J, 7 February 2019
- Applicant's Solicitors: Phi Finney McDonald
- Respondent's Solicitors: Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan
- Intervener's Solicitors: Squire Patton Boggs; Applicant’s Funder: Therium Capital Management Ltd
Read more on Austlii: Webb v GetSwift Ltd (No 4)  FCA 233
Andrew WatsonNational Head of Class Actions, Class actions, Melbourne
"I'm an experienced litigator in class actions, particularly for shareholders who have been victims of corporate misconduct."
Ben SladeState Managing Principal, Office Leader, Class actions, Sydney
"I am driven to give a voice to those who would otherwise have to suffer because those who have done them wrong are all too powerful."
Kimi NishimuraPrincipal Lawyer, Class actions, Melbourne
"I'm committed to fighting for the rights of victims of corporate misconduct as well as pursuing compensation on behalf of my clients."
Rebecca GilsenanPrincipal Lawyer, Class actions, Sydney
"I have extensive experience in running complex and novel litigation, including class actions in the areas of price fixing, failed investment schemes, product liability and securities."
Miranda NagyPrincipal Lawyer, Class actions, Sydney
"I have a strong conviction that the community should be able to expect our governments and the companies we deal with to comply with the law."
Julian SchimmelPrincipal Lawyer, Class actions, Sydney
"Class actions are a unique legal mechanism that have helped hundreds of thousands of people receive compensation after mistreatment at the hands of powerful companies, and it’s gratifying to help people get access to justice when otherwise it would’ve been difficult for them."
Vavaa MawuliPrincipal, Class actions, Brisbane
"The most rewarding thing about my work is the change in scale of what we are able to accomplish."