Justice Ray Finkelstein in the Federal Court in Melbourne yesterday called on investors in Centro who are part of the $1 billion class action against the company to take a more active role in running the case. The judge urged shareholders in the class to help guide the course of the litigation by joining a “litigation committee,” The Age reported.
Running the case has become more complicated than normal because two rival plaintiff law firms have launched similar class actions against Centro, and both are seeking the right to bring their case first and have the other put on hold. The Age reports that there are 955 shareholders in law firm Maurice Blackburn’s action, which is being funded by litigation funder IMF Australia. Law firm Slater & Gordon’s case is an “open” class action, whereby an unlimited number of shareholders can claim for their losses. Justice Finkelstein has recommended that both law firms set up a committee of shareholders to determine if they could be heard together.
Since December, Centro shares have fallen 95%, closing October 10th at 6.8¢.