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.”