New Covid vaccine class action to test integrity of the Federal Court
CAN the Federal Court of Australia do what a single judge in the NSW Supreme Court failed to do, which was to hold government accountable for harm and gross violations of the rights of people during the “pandemic”.
We at Cairns News can only hope the best for NR Barbi Solicitor Pty Ltd of Queensland, a legal firm which has filed a class action against “the Australian Government, the Department of Health and Aged Care secretary Dr Brendan Murphy and the deputy secretary of Health Products Regulation Group Adjunct Professor John Skerrit” (respondents) in the Federal Court of Australia.
The class action is on behalf of a lead applicant and other Covid-19 vaccination-injured parties (“Group Members”) to recover compensation for injuries obtained as a result of taking one or more Covid-19 vaccines.
The applicant alleges that the respondents’ actions to advance the acceptance and use of the various approved Covid-19 vaccines constitutes negligence and/or misfeasance. They further allege that such negligence/misfeasance caused class members to suffer loss or damage, including but not limited to personal injury, health care expenses, additional out-of-pocket expenses, economic loss, the need for gratuitous care and/or commercial care and/or non-economic loss.
The procedural rules for class actions in the Federal Court are set out in Division 9.3 of the Federal Court Rules 2011 (Cth); Part IVA of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 (Cth); and the Federal Court of Australia Class Actions Practice Note GPN-CA. which can be accessed on line.
On the question of who is eligible to join the class action, the legal firm notes that class actions typically function on an ‘opt-out’ basis, meaning that all class members will be bound by the case’s outcome unless they opt-out by a date set by the court.
Those who are “likely to form part of the ascertainable class” are those who believe they fall into one of the categories outline in the fourth paragraph.
“Only class members who opt out of the proceedings may be able to commence separate but similar litigation in their state or territory. NR Barbi Solicitor Pty Ltd does not represent you in relation to separate individual claims and we recommend that you seek independent legal advice for further information about opting out or commencing your own proceedings,” the solicitors note.
They stressed that if members in the action wanted to receive compensation if the proceeding was successful, then it was essential to register. “Please be assured that, if you choose to register, we will not disclose your identity to any third party, including the Respondents, without your consent,” they note.
Those interested but unsure if they would be eligible are asked to register their interest at the links provided at the website. Vaccines specifically named by the law firm are Comirnaty (Pfizer) vaccine, the Pfizer child vaccine, the Astra Zeneca Vaxzevria, Moderna’s Spikevax, child and infant vaccines.
The solicitors note that in class actions the initial trial involves the court hearing evidence about the lead applicant’s claim to determine the factual and legal questions that are common to the lead applicant and the class members.
“If the class action is successful in respect of these common questions, the rest of the class members’ individual claims will then be considered through a settlement scheme devised by the parties.
“Several factors are likely to impact on whether an individual is entitled to compensation, including the findings of the court in relation to the common questions, whether an individual’s injury was caused by their taking a Covid-19 vaccine; and the severity and extent of any loss or damage that has been suffered.”
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