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. 1
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."