Claims

Registry

NSW Registry, Federal Court of Australia (NSD757/2012).

File Title

Stephen Hopkins v AECOM.

Date of Filing

1 April 2014.

Presiding Judge

Justice Nicholas.

Solicitors for Applicant

Maurice Blackburn.

Solicitors for Respondent

Baker & McKenzie, Johnson Winter Slattery, Gilbert & Tobin.

Solicitors for Cross-Respondents

Corrs Chambers Westgarth, Kennedys, King & Wood Mallesons, Ashurst, Herbert Smith Freehills.

Funder

IMF Bentham.

Settlement

On 10 August 2016, the claim was settled for $121 million. (Legal costs and disbursements were about $21m and IMF’s fees were about $40m).

Class Members

People who:

(a) acquired an interest in stapled units in the RiverCity Motorway Investment Trust and the RiverCity Motorway Holding Trust on or about 4 August 2006; and

(b) had, as at 27 July 2012, entered into a litigation funding agreement with IMF.

Action Pleaded

The class action alleges that AECOM made its forecasts without reasonable grounds and left critical information out of its report in the RiverCity Product Disclosure Statement (PDS).

RiverCity investors acquired their units in RiverCity in reliance on the information in the PDS including AECOM’s forecasts and were misled by AECOM into thinking that the proposed tunnel project would have a large patronage and accordingly be a good investment.

AECOM failed to reveal earlier traffic forecasts it had developed for Brisbane City Council which produced traffic volumes substantially below those in the PDS.  AECOM did the traffic modelling for Brisbane City Council’s 2005 Environmental Impact Study and forecast traffic volumes of 57,000 vehicles per day in 2011, well below the forecast of approximately 100,000 presented in the PDS.

The class action alleges that the RiverCity companies (RiverCity Motorway Management Limited and RiverCity Motorway Services Pty Limited) issued, prepared or were involved in preparing, a defective PDS and that group members in the class action suffered loss or damage because they were given a defective PDS.

AECOM has cross-claimed against RCM Management and RCM Services, a former director of RiverCity as well as seven other companies, all listed in section Solicitors for Cross-Respondents.

Judgments

1. Leave to Proceed (1 August 2012).

2. Questionnaire by Defendant (22 February 2013).

3. Joinder of Insurer (2 April 2015).

4. Security for Cost (13 November 2015).

5. Pleadings (11 March 2016).

6. Settlement Approval (9 September 2016).