…from the quill of Antisthenes the Younger
Queensland suffered devastating floods in 2011 and again this year. I happened to read already on 22nd January about Maurice Blackburn’s media release and their push for more clients, but out of decency I refrained from commenting until waters from the current flood subsided (obviously, I do not have the de riguer legal killer instinct):
Litigation funders IMF – who will receive up to a third of any payout – and law firm Maurice Blackburn moved yesterday to drum up clients, releasing fresh flood maps [The Courrier-Mail: maps erroneous] they claim show entire suburbs should have been spared damage but for the negligence of the dam operators. They will start leaflet drops in affected areas immediately, hoping to get more support for the action set to be filed within months.
John Walker of IMF said the claim potentially could exceed $1 billion, and called on insurers to join in the case against the state government. Two thousand owners of homes and businesses that were uninsured or underinsured have signed up.
Treasury confirmed there was about $900 million in the Queensland Government Insurance Fund, used to cover loss or damage to state assets and legal liabilities brought against the government.
Mr Walker said Seqwater had a further $200 million worth of public liability cover. [The Courier-Mail]
Somehow it reminded me of something I wrote back in March 2012, namely Joys of conspiracies in Queensland. By all means read it all, but in order to save some of your valuable time, here is an excerpt:
“… an example of how low opinion citizens have of their betters; and furthermore, how desperate some of them can be to devise a conspiracy theory to suit their anti-Labor prejudices. I simplify and restate it for those overseas and for those who only watch ALP television channels. If I heard it, a half of Brisbane must have. It goes something like this -
1. A government party (X), certain to lose the office, and looking to the future financing of its re-election campaign, commissions a report with clear specification, to wit one which, while exonerating individuals in the Government, throws ajar the door to litigation for damages suffered by numerous individuals because of the Government’s or Government’s authorities’ misfeasance, malfeasance or worse.
2. A legal firm in cohort with a champerty* litigation financier solicits potential clients among the public at large well beforehand; and engages in an unprecedented media blitz to establish its credentials as a “victims” firm and thus discourages any other legal firm without matching financial support.
3. The party X loses the elections as expected and the new government is faced with a large bill. The option is either to defend the class action and look mean vis a vis victims, or give in, pay up and face the wrath of the citizens who have to contribute to pay those citizens who elected not to insure. It is sure Lose/ Lose situation for the government and Win/Win for the lawyers, who collect 1/3 of the damages plus legal expenses, and do not go to jail in this taxpayers’ funded Monopoly.
5. Grateful lawyers freely donate 1/3 of their loot to the party X’s electoral fund.
6. The party X gets re-elected and following the electoral cycle based on voters’ amnesia, we get to the point 1. above. It is a Win for party X.
How could anybody in his right mind believe such a nonsense? But some will, and some might even try to find evidence for it.
IMF Limited is an Australian publicly listed company, financing litigation in many jurisdictions. Some information about it, compulsory under our laws so far, is publicly available. Thus a casual, inexpert glance shows that amongst its ten largest shareholders there is Sunsuper Fund (3rd largest) and Queensland Local Government Fund (7th).
Sunsuper, for those who did not guess, is a Queensland company – Sunsuper is a public offer super fund company based in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. It was set up in 1987 as a multi-industry superannuation fund to cater for virtually all workers. With over one million members, Sunsuper is the largest superannuation fund by membership in Queensland, and is one of the top ten in Australia. Over 67,000 employers pay money into Sunsuper funds. Sunsuper is classified as an ‘industry super fund’. It operates with a ‘profit-for-members’ philosophy solely for the benefit of its members through lower fees and improved services. It does not pay dividends to its shareholders. Sunsuper’s shareholders and sponsors are Chamber of Commerce & Industry Queensland, the Queensland Council of Unions, and the Australian Workers’ Union of Employees, Qld./Wikipedia/