Piper Alderman successfully defends Zoetis Australia in $53m class action


Piper Alderman has successfully defended Zoetis Australia in a purported $53 million class action, brought by the owners of horses which were administered with the Hendra Virus vaccine, developed and sold by Zoetis.

The representative proceeding concerned allegations of misleading or deceptive conduct and breach of a statutory warranty against Zoetis, a leading veterinary pharmaceutical company.  The allegations related to the marketing and distribution of Zoetis’ award-winning equine vaccine for the Hendra virus, Equivac HeV.

Zoetis was entirely successful in its defence of the claim.  Certain of the representations alleged to have been made were found not to have been conveyed by Zoetis’ publications, while those representations that were found to have been made were found to be accurate or to have been made on reasonable grounds.  Moreover, the vaccine was found to be of acceptable quality.  In addition, the factual cases of the lead applicant and a sample group member were rejected.

The Piper Alderman team led by partner Anne Freeman, with special counsel, Beau Weigand, associate, Mille Byrnes Howe and lawyer, Nathanael van der Reyden, was engaged to defend Zoetis against the class action which commenced in the Federal Court of Australia in March 2018, and which was heard by Justice Rares in March and April 2021.

Lachlan Gyles SC, Simon Fitzpatrick and Amy Campbell appeared for Zoetis at the hearing.

A copy of the judgment is available here.

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