NEWS

Walton Construction Class Action – Media Release

MEDIA RELEASE

16 May 2024

Subcontractors Alliance confirms that Williams & Kersten Pty Ltd, the Lead Applicant in a Federal Court class action against National Australia Bank (NAB) seeking to recover more than $100 million on behalf of the unsecured creditors of the collapsed Walton Construction group, has obtained orders allowing it to file and serve a second further amended statement of claim.

The new statement of claim, served on NAB on Tuesday following a decision by Justice Lee of the Federal Court on Friday, details further allegations about the bank’s conduct as financiers of the Walton Group which have emerged following documentary discovery.

The latest claim alleges that NAB’s misconduct commenced in 2008 and 2009, when the bank assisted the Walton companies to enhance their balance sheets through transactions designed to create assets worth $7 million which enabled Walton to continue to qualify for building licences and continue operating in Queensland and Victoria.   In reality, the $7m assets belonged to NAB not Walton, and NAB’s involvement allowed Walton to produce false and misleading financial statements and continue trading for 5 more years, the claim alleges.  The new statement of claim alleges knowing involvement by the bank in misleading and deceptive conduct, and equitable fraud, in addition to the existing claims for unconscionable conduct by the bank for its role in the “restructuring” schemes which occurred in 2013 shortly before the Walton group collapsed into insolvency.

William Roberts Lawyers, a litigation and class action law firm based in Sydney, with offices in Melbourne, Brisbane and Singapore are now acting for the claimants in the class action to recover the losses, having taken over from previous solicitors in late December.  William Roberts Lawyers are briefing leading class action barristers William Edwards KC and Michael Gvozdenovic to litigate the matter.

During the hearing on Friday 10 May, Justice Lee granted leave to the Applicant to admit the new claims despite opposition by NAB, commenting that the new claims were “perfectly available” and welcoming the fact that the Applicant now had its “house in order”.

“We are pleased that the court has accepted that answers should be sought on behalf of those who have been adversely affected by the conduct of the NAB with Walton and wish to pursue rightful restitution in the matter,” said Les Williams, founder of Subcontractors Alliance on the Sunshine Coast and Director of the Applicant Williams & Kersten Pty Ltd.

“There have been many major building insolvencies since Walton, particularly over the last year, where the companies have been found to have traded insolvent for 12 months or more, and the questions needs to be asked, how much did the financiers know about the company’s circumstances and were their dealings with the companies above board.  We now have the opportunity to have those questions answered at least in the case of Walton Group, which could show the path for others to follow”, he said.

Background

The Walton Group collapsed in 2013, affecting some 1,650 small business including principals, trade creditors and subcontractor businesses across Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, who lost more than $100 million. The circumstances of the collapse of the building group have been the focus of several Federal and State Parliamentary inquiries into insolvencies, administrations, and Phoenix activities in the Australian construction industry, and has also been the focus of numerous print media reports and the subject several Australian Broadcasting Corporation investigative journalist enquiries on national television. The class action (VID993/2019) is continuing before the Federal Court of Australia (Lee J).

Subcontractors Alliance is a not-for profit organisation representing subcontractors and trade creditors  in Australia’s building and construction industry, and provides advocacy and information services to assist subcontractors.

END

 

For further information, please contact:

Les Williams

Subcontractors Alliance

Email:  les@subcontractorsalliance.com.au

Website:  http://www.subcontractorsalliance.com.au/

Mobile:  0411 633 547

 

Related News

What happens if you, as an insurer, have not yet concluded whether or not to indemnify an insured, and a third party commences Court proceedings against your insured (with the indemnity decision still pending)?

When these types of claims arise, an insurer (and its panel firm) can continue to act for an insured on a “reservation of rights” basis.

Read More

Can you sue if a “registered” company is “in liquidation”, “under administration” or has become “deregistered”? 

It is common to see Court proceedings commenced in the name of an individual or against an individual.   But sometimes, Court proceedings are commenced by

Read More

The Briginshaw-test

Did you know that the Briginshaw-test requires a higher standard of evidence in civil matters where serious allegations are made, such as fraud. This principle

Read More

Get in touch

Contact our team today

Stay informed

Keep up-to-date with our regular news and insights

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
William Roberts Lawyers

Sydney

Level 22
66 Goulburn Street
SYDNEY NSW 2000

Melbourne

Level 21
535 Bourke Street
MELBOURNE VIC 3000

Brisbane

Level 8
300 Ann Street
BRISBANE QLD 4000

Singapore

Level 19
Singapore Land Tower
50 Raffles Place
SINGAPORE 048623