Monday, 6 August 2018
Class action for building owners against Carter Holt Harvey filed today
A multi-million dollar funded class action by building owners against Carter Holt Harvey has been filed at the Auckland High Court today (Monday 6th August) by Adina Thorn Lawyers.
The action seeks damages on behalf of the owners as a result of the alleged failure of the widely-used Shadowclad building product.
Shadowclad is already subject to court proceedings, with the Ministry of Education alleging the product has been defective, leaving it owning approximately 800 leaky school buildings. The estimated repair bill has been reported as being in excess of $1.1 billion. (See https://pro.newsroom.co.nz/articles/3315-education-ministry-s-leaky-school-claim-against-carter-holt-about-a-year-away).
Adina Thorn, who is also running the current $200 million plus funded class action against James Hardie companies for the design and manufacture of cladding products (including Harditex, Monotek and Titan), says the Carter Holt class action is the result of building owners expressing concern over weather-tightness issues with Shadowclad.
“In 2014 the Fair Go television programme found 24 property owners who believed they had been supplied faulty or sub-standard Shadowclad material.
“Given Fair Go’s research, the extent of the Ministry of Education’s claim, and the approaches we have had, clearly the issue is significant. This has led to the funded class action.”
Adina says that the 117 owners from around New Zealand, who have joined the action will face no out of pocket expenses while litigation funding is in place. This will cover the cost of the legal team, technical experts and associated costs needed to mount a strong claim against a large organisation like Carter Holt Harvey.
“Our claim is comfortably in excess of $40 million but it’s likely to round up to $50 million in the wake of recent developments and the media around this and the Ministry of Education’s claim”.
“At this stage we will still accept further claimants but people should act reasonably quickly because this is the opportunity to be part of an action without having to meet any of the high legal, court and technical costs associated with a claim of this nature and scale, against a well-resourced defendant.” She says building owners who wish to join the class action can still do so.
April 3rd, 2018
Funded proposed action against Carter Holt Harvey’s Shadowclad gathering momentum
Hundreds of property owners from around rural and urban New Zealand have already signed up to join the proposed Shadowclad Class Action.
Home owners and those with commercial buildings, concerned about failures of the plywood-based Shadowclad should act now if they wish to join the proposed funded class action against the makers of the cladding product, Carter Holt Harvey.
The lawyers leading the funded class action, Adina Thorn, of Adina Thorn Lawyers, says the firm has now received registrations of more than $40 million.
“Many of those who have registered with us are very grateful for the fact that they can be part of the claim while facing no out of pocket expenses.
“That is because the significant cost in legal and other fees it requires to mount an action of this scale will be met by a third party funder in return for them retaining a share of any damages awarded.
“In this case the independent funder is a fund managed by Harbour Litigation Funding, based in London.
“Harbour work on behalf of sophisticated investors, and use a team of legal experts to evaluate the merits of a particular case before agreeing to provide the level of funding it needs to proceed and be successful.
“They know that if a case is unsuccessful, they will get nothing. If it succeeds they take a percentage of recovery typically in the order of 30%.
“This means building owners can join the proposed action secure in the knowledge they will not be incurring legal and other fees as the funder will cover these in return for taking a share of any judgment or settlement sum awarded.”
Adina Thorn says the high level of interest in the claim also reflects the fact that Carter Holt Harvey has been selling the plywood-based cladding product in New Zealand for some 20 odd years and its widespread use in homes, sheds and coastal properties.
“Many claimants have been encouraged by knowing that Shadowclad is already subject to court proceedings brought by the Ministry of Education in relation to approximately 880 leaky school buildings.
Adina says anyone who has a property with Shadowclad installed should register their interest.
28 May 2017
Another multi-million dollar claim casts its shadow over Carter Holt Harvey
Leading building products manufacturer Carter Holt Harvey may soon face another multi-million dollar legal claim in respect of its widely-used Shadowclad building product.
Shadowclad, a form of timber weatherboard cladding, is already the subject of court proceedings brought by the Ministry of Education in relation to approximately 880 leaky school buildings.
Auckland legal firm Adina Thorn Lawyers has now secured funding to launch a class action on behalf of owners of residential and commercial buildings containing the allegedly defective product.
Adina Thorn, who is also running the current $200 million plus funded “plaster cladding” class action against the James Hardie Group of companies, says the firm’s latest initiative follows numerous approaches from building owners experiencing weathertightness issues with Shadowclad.
In 2014, Fair Go reported on 24 property owners who believed that they had been supplied faulty or sub-standard Shadowclad material.
“Given Fair Go’s research, the extent of the Ministry of Education’s claim, and the approaches we have had, it seems that the issue is widespread and that the company needs to be called to account.
“While we need sufficient owners to get on board in order for the action to go ahead, we are pleased to have secured initial funding from a leading global litigation funder for the book-building process.
“At this stage we believe the claim will be in the order of tens of millions of dollars, but it’s very early days; it could be higher than that.
“Carter Holt has advertised Shadowclad as a product that’s been trusted in New Zealand construction for over 25 years, and is suitable for exterior and interior use. During this time it’s been in widespread use in residential homes, holiday homes and other buildings.
“Many coastal and architectural buildings have been constructed using the product because of the perception that it’s durable and easy to maintain.
“Building owners joining the action will not incur legal and other fees – the funder takes a share of any judgment or settlement sum. We encourage anyone who thinks they might be affected to register their interest with us online at www.adinathorn.co.nz.”