Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has been served with a multi billion dollar class-action lawsuit by Sydney-based law firm, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan.
The class action suit, created by Melbourne businesses affected by the stage four COVID-19 lockdowns, claims failures by Premier Andrews in managing the hotel quarantine system led to the draconian restrictions which have decimated their trade and livelihoods.
Partner at Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, Damian Scattini, said his firm was approached by pubs, gyms, retail, sporting facilities and professional services, all whose businesses have been adversely and severely impacted by lockdowns.
'The class action provides a path to compensation for losses that were beyond their control and not brought about by them', said Mr Scattini.
Victorian healthcare workers at the Grand Hyatt hotel were photographed wearing PPE, including P2 respirators during state forced hotel quarantines.
'It’s quite plain what happened with hotel quarantine, which enabled the virus to escape, and cause these restrictions and losses for businesses.
'These businesses need help now, they have been [snakebitten] by this quarantine breach and some will not be around much longer.
'These businesses, many of them [mum-and-dad] operations, need help now. As things stand, there is no plan for them'.
Hotel quarantine breaches at the Rydges in Carlton (pictured) and the Stamford Plaza in the CBD were identified as sources of COVID-19 outbreaks in Melbourne.
Mr Scattani, who has an extensive record in creating legal action against state governments, was part of the team that won the class action suit for 4,000 Queensland residents against the Queensland government after the 2011 floods.
Mr Scattani said that he served the Victorian government with an open class action lawsuit on August 21, 2021.
The case alleges ministers including Jenny Mikakos, Martin Pakula as well as their department secretaries were negligent in their duties, failing to act on concerns surrounding the hotel quarantining program.
Victorian health minister Jenny Mikakos has been named in the class-action despite her resignation from cabinet and parliament in late September, 2020.
The first defendant in the proceeding is the state of Victoria with the lead plaintiff for the case the owner of a New York-themed restaurant, Anthony Ferrara, who has suffered in making profit and enough revenue to cover his business costs.
'Victorian businesses don’t need charity or kind thoughts from politicians,' Mr Ferrara said.
Minister Martin Pakula is also named in the class action after denying his department was responsible for infection control at Melbourne hotels.
'We need certainty and we need it soon. Our situation is not our doing. We are calling to account those who put us in this dire position'.
The class action comes as Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg accused Mr Andrews of outlining a clear plan in which to lead Victoria out of ongoing lockdowns.