Robbing Peter to pay Paul

Shareholder class actions have become a rich source of billable hours for plaintiff law firms in the past decade, with Leighton Holdings now the latest target over allegations of bribery and corruption in Iraq. This follows on from class actions that last year that resulted in a $200m payout to Centro shareholder litigants, and a $115m payout from National Australia Bank for failure to disclose provisions in a timely manner during the global financial crisis.

Cases tend to centre on inadequate disclosure; losses are claimed by shareholders who purchased between when they allege the bad news should have been disclosed and when it was actually fessed up to by the company.

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