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Australian federal court puts 2 of 3 BHP lawsuits over Samarco on hold

The Federal Court of Australia ordered that the class-action lawsuits against BHP Group Ltd. over the November 2015 Samarco dam disaster in Brazil should be narrowed to one from three, Reuters reported Dec. 18.

The court ruled that a lawsuit led by former BHP shareholder Vince Impiombato, who claims he faced losses due to the company's misleading conduct and failures in disclosure requirements, could proceed.

A BHP spokesman said the company is defending the claim.

The court placed a permanent stay on a suit led by an Australian retirement fund and a temporary stay on a suit brought by the Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association until Sept. 1, 2019.

This was done to reduce costs and decrease court overlap since the claims are similar, according to the report.

The company said in November that it was facing a class-action lawsuit in the U.K. of about £5 billion — one of the largest claims in U.K. legal history — over the Samarco disaster that killed 19 people and caused extensive damage.