On 17 September 2019, Maurice Blackburn commenced proceedings on behalf of shareholders in Slater & Gordon against Arnold Bloch Leibler (ABL), the law firm that acted as legal due diligence advisers to Slater & Gordon (ASX:SGH) in relation to the Entitlement Offer that was used to raise capital from SGH shareholders to finance the disastrous acquisition of the Professional Services Division (PSD) of Quindell plc, a UK-based legal services company. It is alleged in the Statement of Claim that ABL acted negligently in providing advice to SGH and failed to ensure that the documents published by SGH in relation to the Entitlement Offer were not misleading or deceptive.
The ABL Class Action is likely be heard together with the proceedings filed in 2018 against Pitcher Partners, SGH's auditor for financial year 2015. The Pitcher Partners Class Action focuses, among other things, on the accounting treatment of the PSD acquisition.
These class actions follow an earlier class action against SGH itself which settled in 2017 (see below).
The ABL Class Action has been commenced on behalf of all persons who acquired an interest in fully paid ordinary shares in SGH between 30 March 2015 and 25 November 2015. The Pitcher Partners Class Action was commenced on behalf of all persons who acquired an interest in fully paid ordinary shares in SGH between 30 March 2015 and 24 February 2016.
All persons who were registered as group members in the class action against SGH will automatically be registered as group members in the ABL & Pitcher Partners Class Actions, regardless of whether they previously opted out.
If you, or someone you represent, purchased SGH shares between 30 March 2015 and 24 February 2016, and were not registered in the class action against SGH, we encourage you to please register via our online registration portal.
Common fund to ensure equal treatment of all group members
Both the ABL Class Action and the Pitcher Partners Class Action have been commenced on an "open class" basis. There are both funded and unfunded group members in the class, and at an appropriate point in the litigation we will apply for orders (such as a common fund order similar to the order made as part of the settlement of the SGH Class Action) to ensure that all group members – whether funded or unfunded – are treated equally in the event of a successful outcome. Further notice of any such application will be provided in due course.
Status of the Hall Settlement
The settlement of the Hall Class Action against Slater & Gordon Ltd (SGH) was approved by the Federal Court of Australia on 14 December 2017 (Hall Settlement). Final Distributions for the Hall Settlement have been determined and are currently being distributed.
On 12 October 2016, Maurice Blackburn commenced a class action against SGH on behalf of the Applicant, Matthew Hall, and all persons who acquired an interest in fully paid ordinary SGH shares between 30 March 2015 and 24 February 2016 (Hall Class Action). All persons who acquired an interest in fully paid ordinary shares of SGH during the period 30 March 2015 to 24 February 2016 and did not opt out of the class action by the date ordered by the Court were Hall Group Members.
An in-principle settlement was reached in July 2017, and a Deed of Settlement was executed in September 2017. Following two settlement approval hearings, settlement of the proceeding (Hall Settlement) was approved by the Court on 14 December 2017.
Distributions from the Settlement Fund have been finalised and distributed. If you were a Hall Group Member, but did not previously register with Maurice Blackburn and/or did not return your Participant Declaration by the Participation Deadline (23 February 2018), you are bound by the terms of the settlement, but are not eligible to receive a distribution from the Settlement Fund.
If you need any further information, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 1800 572 151 (+61 1800 572 151 for international callers), by emailing SGH@mauriceblackburn.com.au, or by mail to the address below:
SGH Class Action
Maurice Blackburn Lawyers
Level 21, 380 Latrobe Street
Melbourne VIC 3000