Shattercane class action to proceed after funding secured from litigation backers

LITIGATION funding has been secured and the shattercane class action will proceed, but a hearing is not likely before the end of next year.

​The plaintiff’s lawyer in Mallonland vs Advanta Seeds, Dan Creevey, said it was now “all full steam ahead” but “there’s always an awful lot to do primarily”.

“Unfortunately, that’s the normal process with these bigger pieces of litigation … we’ll continue to book-build: find all those farmers that have been impacted by the contaminated seed,” he said.

“We’ve been very fortunate that we’ve been able to secure funding for the action; the security for costs of $160,000 [has been paid] into the Supreme Court.”

The plaintiff contends Advanta supplied growers – including some in the New England – with sorghum seeds allegedly contaminated with shattercane seed.

Advanta ‘maintains confidence’ 

Advanta managing director Nicholas Gardner said the company remained “confident in its stance.”

“Advanta Seeds remains committed to vigorously defending allegations by Creevey Russell Lawyers on behalf of Mallonland relating to Advanta Seeds’ supply of MR43 sorghum seed between 2010 and 2014,” Mr Gardner said.

“None of these allegations have been proven in the action.

“We’re proud of our 55-year history supporting Australian farmers and our continued dedication to our valued customers and the broader agricultural community.

“Advanta Seeds maintains confidence in its stringent quality controls and the consistent application of these across the company’s seed breeding and supply practices.

“In following court protocol, Advanta Seeds cannot speculate on the evidence to be presented as part of the action, nor an outcome, but is confident in its stance.”

Related: Shattercane battle

Related: ‘Make or break’ in shattercane class action

Next steps

The matter is being heard in Queensland Supreme Court by Justice Debra Mullins.

The parties’ legal representatives have met in court a number of times in the past few months on preliminary matters.

One of the court’s directions is that Advanta Seeds and Mallonland may file an amended defence and reply by November 28 and December 12 respectively. Both must disclose a list of relevant documents by February 19, 2018.

Shattercane is considered an “aggressive” weed that competes strongly with crops.