The High Court of Australia has granted an application for special leave to appeal from leading legal firm Creevey Horrell Lawyers on behalf of commercial growers in a long running class action against Advanta Seeds Pty Ltd over alleged contamination of sorghum with seed from the noxious weed Shattercane.
Creevey Horrell Principal Dan Creevey said the ruling announced by High Court Chief Justice Susan Kiefel follows a decision in favour of Advanta Seeds by the Court of Appeal of the Queensland Supreme Court given on February 28, 2023.
“We are pleased the High Court has given us an opportunity to continue to fight for justice for these growers,” Mr Creevey said.
“The farmers have been suffering from the impacts of shattercane for a long time and continue to suffer and Creevey Horrell Lawyers is proud to be able to seek justice for those affected.”
Shattercane is a noxious weed which if present in a crop of sorghum competes strongly with the planted sorghum and results in a reduced yield. Once present on land it can spread vigorously and it can germinate, propagate and multiply quickly infesting and overrunning land. It is difficult to eradicate with the eradication process often meaning that the land cannot be used commercially for a considerable time.
Mr Creevey said Creevey Horrell submitted three grounds for appeal, including the Court of Appeal erred in failing to find Advanta owed a duty of care to the applicant farmers as end users of its MR43 seed product, sold to them through distributors.
“We submit Advanta failed to take reasonable care to avoid the risk that such end users who used the product as intended on their land for sorghum farming would sustain economic losses by reason of hidden defects in those goods.
“The Court of Appeal also erred on the question of whether Advanta owed such a duty of care as manufacturer to the applicant farmers, in finding the presence of a disclaimer of liability on the product packaging for the MR43 seed product negated any assumption of responsibility by Advanta so as to preclude the duty of care on the part of the manufacturer arising.”
“It is our position that disclaimer should not operate to allow Advanta to avoid responsibility for the contamination.”
Mr Creevey said the application to the High Court sought for the orders made by the Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of Queensland on February 28, 2023, be set aside and the orders made by the Supreme Court of Queensland on 9 April 2021 be set aside, and in their place judgment be entered for the plaintiffs in the amount assessed by the Supreme Court of Queensland.
“We are also seeking that the respondent to pay the applicant’s costs of the appeal and the trial,” he said.
For further inquiries please call Dan Creevey (07) 4617 8777