State government seeks to delay massive class action lawsuit filed by lockdown-affected businesses

Businesses affected by Victoria’s infamous second lockdown may have to wait another three years before the class action goes to court if the bid by the Victorian government is successful.

This comes as hearings are held in the Melbourne Magistrate’s Court to determine whether Victoria’s health department will be put on trial for alleged hotel quarantine failures.

Lawyers who act for small businesses argue (pdf) The failure of the state government’s hotel quarantine program was the result of the state’s negligence in implementing effective infection and control measures that led to the state’s second wave, followed by a 112-day lockdown that forced businesses and related A devastating blow to workers.

A lawyer representing the Victorian government wants to stay the case pending resolution of the current criminal case against the Ministry of Health. The attorney faces “serious” charges related to the state’s failed hotel quarantine program, she claims.

If the stay is granted, class action lawsuits covering all businesses with physical facilities in Victoria that have suffered financial losses due to phase 3 or 4 lockdowns will be stayed until 2025. may occur.

About 1500 small businesses are involved in class action lawsuits. Main Plaintiff (pdf) is a Keilor Park restaurant in the 5th Ward, New York.

Damian Scatini, a partner at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, who works with small businesses, said, “We’ve always said this class action lawsuit should go to trial as soon as possible. And many of our group members are holding on with their fingernails.”business, reporting Australian person.

“It’s Furfee, we say. It’s Victoria. Nobody’s liberty is at stake. After all, even convictions are accounted for from one government department to another.” will be done,” said Scattini.

Scatini said the state government’s only risk is reputation, and that parts of the defense that overlap with the current criminal case could be redacted and not made available to the public.

“The risk to the state of Victoria’s criminal prosecution can be managed by the courts,” Mr Scattini said.

The Epoch Times reached out to Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, attorneys representing affected small businesses, but did not receive a response by the time of publication.

The Epoch Times also reached out to Herbert Smith Freehills, an attorney acting on behalf of the Victorian government, who said it could not provide comment due to confidentiality and ongoing court proceedings.

Earlier Attempts by State Governments to Throw Case Outs

The Victorian government has attempted to dismiss the case from court twice, in December 2021 and April 2022. The government is responsible to all Victorians, not just businesses, and says the state has no duty of care to avoid economic losses when restrictions are imposed. imposed by the Chief Health Officer under discretion.

On December 1st, Victorian Supreme Court Justice John Dixon said the process during the hearing was “extremely slow” and the next hearing will be held on December 12th when it will be decided whether the case will be adjourned. I reserved a date.

Despite objections from Victorian government lawyers, Justice Dixon said, “I will not entertain the argument that you need three more months.”

“I feel like we need to keep this moving,” Dixon said.

“I think there’s a lot of traction in the proposal that we can read the submissions and take this step-by-step rather than leave it alone.”

Another class action lawsuit by Victorians who lost their jobs during the lockdown is reportedly no longer in progress after the state’s lawyers challenged it to the Supreme Court. age.

Clumsy hotel quarantine program

A five-week hearing began in Melbourne’s Magistrate’s Court on 18 November to determine whether Victoria’s health department will be brought on trial for alleged hotel quarantine failures.

The Victorian Department of Health was responsible for the state’s first hotel quarantine program from March 2020 to July 2020.

The hotel’s quarantine program known as Operation Soteria (pdf), designed to prevent international travelers from spreading COVID-19 in their communities by undergoing a “14-day mandatory quarantine.”

But 90% of the state’s deadly second wave of cases, which resulted in 18,000 new cases, 800 deaths and a 112-day lockdown, was attributed to six security guards, health workers and COVID-19. It was traced back to an employee infected with -19. Rydges Hotel on May 25, 2020.

The remaining 10% of cases were traceable to 26 security guards and employees of the Stamford-based division since June 16.

In September 2021, Worksafe indicted the Ministry of Health for 58 violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act after a 15-month investigation.

“In all allegations, WorkSafe suspects that a DOH employee, a seconded Victorian Government accredited employee, or a security guard may have infected an infected returning traveler, another person working at the hotel, or another person working at the hotel. claimed to have put them at risk of serious illness or death by contracting COVID-19 from contaminated surfaces, according to WorkSafe. statement.

Worksafe also alleges that the department failed to provide security personnel with face-to-face professional infection control training and written instructions on how to use personal protective equipment.

If convicted, the state health department could face fines totaling more than $95 million (US$63.8 million).

Henry Jom


Henry Jom is an Australia-based reporter covering Australian local news. Please contact [email protected]