Andrew Thorpe, the lawyer who helped Pan Pharmaceuticals founder Jim Selim win a $55 million compensation payout from the Federal Government over the collapse of the company, is planning to launch separate class actions on behalf of shareholders and retai
Andrew Thorpe, the lawyer who helped Pan Pharmaceuticals founder Jim Selim win a $55 million compensation payout from the Federal Government over the collapse of the company, is planning to launch separate class actions on behalf of shareholders and retailers caught up in the collapse.
Thorpe, from Sydney law firm McLachlan Thorpe Partners, told SmartCompany this morning that he will start proceedings next week on behalf of a group of seven Pan shareholders and will invite others to join the class action.
He is also in discussions with a group he calls “sponsors and service providers” – including small retailers and pharmacists – who lost millions in sales when the Therapeutic Goods Administration ordered a mass recall of Pan products amid claims that the company’s travel sickness drug Travacalm was making people sick.
Thorpe expects to launch a class action on behalf of this group in the coming weeks.
He believes yesterday’s decision by the Government, which agreed to settle a Federal Court claim of negligence by Selim, would open the floodgates of compensation for a range of parties.
“I think there are multiple problems for the Government,” Thorpe says. “There’s nothing the Government can do – the train has left the station.”
He has also hit out at suggestions by the TGA that the settlement “involves a judgement for the claimant, but does not involve the Commonwealth conceding any of the specific allegations in the proceedings”.
“You don’t pay $55 million to someone if you weren’t responsible for doing something wrong. The moment they consented to the judgement they took responsibility.”
Thorpe says the Pan shareholder registry was fairly concentrated, with about 85% of the shares in the hands of 25 people. He believes there were few “mum and dad” shareholders but a number of investors would have been Pan staff or family and friends of directors.
He expects the class action proceedings should be much faster than the Selim case as McLachlan Thorpe Partners has already done the hard work of assembling 20,000 documents and other evidence. “We are the logical people to take this forward.”