A Gold Cost law firm is preparing to launch a multi-million dollar class action against those found to be responsible for the equine influenza outbreak that crippled the racing industry.
More than 1000 racing participants impacted by the outbreak, many of whom are from the Gold Coast, are expected to register their interest in joining the class action with the Attwood Marshall law firm.
The Gold Coast Bulletin first revealed plans for the class action last August and the push has gained momentum since.
Lawyer Jeff Garrett yesterday said the firm was awaiting the findings of an independent inquiry into the outbreak, to be tabled in Federal Parliament, before deciding what to do.
But after hearing evidence presented to the inquiry that problems at Sydney’s Eastern Creek Quarantine Station were to blame for the outbreak, he expected the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service to be the subject of any action.
“We’re still waiting with bated breath,” he said. “We’re just getting ready in anticipation.”
Mr Garrett said 300 people had registered and he expected that number to more than double.
“I expect we’re going to have well over 1000. The majority are from Queensland,” he said. “There are a lot of Gold Coast people.”
Mr Garrett said he was confident about the outcome of the report.
“If the findings come out as we expect, I am sure that not long after that we are probably going to have a number of court actions which will proceed,” he said.
“If you look at the submissions of counsel assisting the inquiry, if they are accepted or even 50 per cent of them are accepted, it is hard to imagine that AQIS are not going to be in the firing line.”
Mr Garrett estimated damages could total tens of millions of dollars.
The flu crisis shut down the entire racing industry last year, with many horses stranded in the stables and unable to be moved while the virus swept through.
Horses stabled at the Gold Coast Turf Club did not contract EI but the flu spread throughout Brisbane, forcing the industry to shut down.
Mr Garrett, who is also an owner and breeder, said the impact had been enormous.