In a landmark insurance class action, the Supreme Court of New South Wales has delivered judgment in Richmond Valley Council v JLT Risk Solutions Pty Ltd, dismissing the plaintiff’s claims in their entirety.
Herbert Smith Freehills represented JLT (a subsidiary of Marsh), the manager of a mutual scheme that provides property and liability cover to NSW local councils.
The Honourable Justice Kate Williams delivered her decision on 19 December 2022, dismissing claims that JLT breached contractual, general law and fiduciary duties said to have been owed in providing insurance broking services. The Court found that JLT did not provide the alleged broking services nor make the alleged recommendations, this being the central premise on which all claims were founded.
A spokesperson from JLT commented on the decision, saying: “We are pleased that the Court has ruled in JLT’s favour. JLT has always stated that it would vigorously defend its position in the class action as we strongly believed that the allegations were misconceived. We are currently in the process of reviewing the judgment in detail.”
Richmond Valley Council has filed notice of its intention to appeal the decision. JLT will contest any appeal.
The Herbert Smith Freehills team — led by partners Jason Betts, Peter Holloway and special counsel Guy Narburgh — included senior associates Gabrielle Doyle, Elizabeth Veljkovic and Jonathan Tong, solicitors James Morgan, Dominik Breznik and Rafael Lawrence.
Leading class action partners Jason Betts and Peter Holloway said this was a landmark decision for insurance mutual schemes.
“The Court’s decision reflects a complete dismissal of the allegations against our client. We are proud to represent JLT and Marsh.”
“This has been a very long running class action. It was commenced over four years ago, and the trial was heard over five weeks in October and November 2021. JLT and Marsh are delighted with this win after such a long road, and we congratulate them on their significant success,” Mr Betts said.
“We are indebted to the many members of our leading class actions team in both Sydney and Melbourne — including lawyers, graduates, paralegals and support staff — without whom this success would not have been possible,” Mr Holloway said.