In November last year, Steel & Tube pleaded guilty to 24 of 29 charges from the Commerce Commission relating to false and misleading representations concerning 500E Earthquake grade steel mesh. A sentencing hearing was held in the District Court in May 2018 and the sentencing judgment is awaited. This has led to further owners from across New Zealand signing up for a proposed Steel Mesh class action against Steel & Tube.
Lawyer Adina Thorn says the proposed class action is designed to deliver compensation for the stress and uncertainty for property owners who have ended up with non-compliant steel mesh in their home and driveways. “The mesh is there forever. Everyone wants to know their home is compliant. Steel & Tube cannot give that assurance – we know the mesh is non-compliant – what we don’t know enough about is performance of that non-complaint mesh in an earthquake. That uncertainty is stressful and unacceptable. We are seeking for owners to be compensated for that”.
“This mesh was sold between approximately March 2012 and April 2016 and much of it was used in the rebuilding of Canterbury following the earthquakes there. However, the mesh people were buying was supposed to be earthquake-grade, when it wasn’t.
“The existence of non-complaint steel 500E mesh is just another slap in the face for many Cantabrians who have had their homes rebuilt believing them to be fully compliant, only to learn there are real issues with the mesh which was supposed to be “E” (earthquake) grade.
“The 500E steel mesh standard was brought in by the Government directly as a response to the earthquakes. It basically allows movement of buildings in an earthquake, so that the foundations do not break” says Ms Thorn.
“Although the District Court Judge is yet to deliver the final judgment on sentencing, the Commerce Commission’s successful prosecution of Steel & Tube relates to false and misleading representations that the 500E mesh had been independently tested and certified, when it had not been”.
“Our registrations of interest are currently running at a high level and we expect that the sentencing itself will encourage more owners to join the proposed class action against Steel & Tube. Details can be found at: www.steelclassaction.co.nz
“The proposed action is funded, which means that while funding is in place owners will face no out of pocket costs, as all the legal, technical and Court costs involved in a claim of this scale will be picked up by the funder in return for them receiving a share of any proceeds of success.”