More than a decade after the Brisbane floods and 15 months on from a landmark judgment from the NSW Court against dam operators and the State of Queensland, around 6,700 victims of the disaster are finally on track for a record pay-out.
Litigation funder Omni Bridgeway (ASX: OBL), formerly known as IMF Bentham, announced today that following mediation a partial settlement of $440 million was reached with the State of Queensland and Sunwater.
The total compensation has the potential to double depending on the outcome of an appeal from state-owned enterprise Seqwater, with a hearing expected in May.
"Based on the allocation of liability by the Court at first instance, the implied aggregate settlement value for the whole case from the settlement with the State of Queensland and Sunwater is A$880 million," Omni Bridgeway said.
"This may not reflect the actual outcome achieved with respect to the remaining respondent (Seqwater) in the future, however estimates of total loss made by the lawyers for the class based on the findings in the first instance judgment exceed this total amount."
The breakthrough settlement is still subject to an execution deed and approval by the court, and if it gets the green light the funds will be held in a trust by the claimants' law firm Maurice Blackburn while the compensation is paid over time.
Omni Bridgeway expects to generate a profit of $11 million from the recent settlement this financial year.
"The Government can confirm that it has reached agreement to settle the claims against the State arising out of the 2011 Queensland Floods Class Action," Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said in a statement.
"SunWater has also been successful in reaching agreement to settle the claims against it."The settlement is still to be formally documented and will require approval by the Court."
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