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SMSF claim over Dreamworld deaths hits snag

A self-managed super fund has had a request for more information from Ardent Leisure, the owner of Dreamworld, over the Thunder River Rapids deaths in 2016 thrown out.

Colin Ingram and Judy Tolloch are lead applicants in a class action being brought by Piper Alderman against Ardent Leisure on behalf of shareholders in the company.

Ingram and Tulloch owned shares in Ardent Leisure through their SMSF and filed a claim in the Federal Court seeking access to key documents in relation to the company's handling of the deaths caused by the Thunder River Rapids ride.

Ardent Leisure and its subsidiaries were asked to hand over an intercompany guarantee, insurance documents and insurance related correspondence.

However, a judge dismissed the application after finding that Ingram and Tulloch did not have a proper reason to inspect the documents.

The judge noted that Ardent Leisure's liquidity is undoubted and its business substantially intact, despite the company suffering significant losses as a result of COVID-19.

Piper Alderman partner Greg Whyte noted that this was a positive take-away for the class action.

"It was our concern to ensure Ardent has the capacity to meet the claim that is being advanced on behalf of shareholders and are encouraged by the court's finding that in this respect, Ardent's liquidity is undoubted," Whyte said.

"We are conferring with the funder [of the class action, Woodsford Litigation Funding] about their position in light of the court's finding."

On 25 October 2016, Kate Goodchild, Luke Dorsett, Cindy Low and Roozbeh Araghi were killed when the Thunder River Rapids ride malfunctioned causing them to be ejected from the raft they were travelling in into the conveyor belt mechanism of the ride. All four people died from crushing injuries.

A Coroners Court of Queensland report earlier this year found several areas of concern, including previous incidents on the Thunder River Rapids ride which should have alerted Dreamworld to the hazards present on the ride.

The Piper Alderman class action which is being run by Whyte alleges Ardent Leisure misled investors about the safety measures and corporate governance standards in place at Dreamworld in the years preceding the incident.

Read more: ArdentDreamworldThunder River RapidsPiper AldermanColin IngramGreg WhyteCindy LowCoroners Court of QueenslandFederal CourtJudy TollochKate GoodchildLuke DorsettRoozbeh AraghiWoodsford Litigation Funding
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