Hamish Fletcher

Hamish Fletcher is a business reporter for the NZ Herald

Ex-wife attempts to revive million dollar claim

Photo / File
Photo / File

The ex-wife of a former bankrupt property developer has gone back to the High Court in an attempt to revive her multi-million dollar claim against a set of lawyers that allegedly helped put relationship assets out of her reach.

Wendy Perriam was married to property developer Mark Perriam for 13 years before they separated in 2004. Mark Perriam was a director of Perron Group and with his business partner owed more $146 million after it failed last decade.

He was declared bankrupt in 2010.

After a protracted relationship property dispute, Wendy Perriam targeted lawyers who were instructed by her then husband.

She brought a claim against five lawyers, including her brother-in-law Lawrence Wilkes.

In her claim, Perriam alleges the solicitors were instructed by her husband to set up trusts and companies to hold business assets.

A judgement from the High Court in 2012 describes her claim as alleging the defendants "were involved in creating these structures and completing a range of transactions affecting them to knowingly defeat her interests in relationship property".

Wendy Perriam's four causes of action variously sought from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars of damages.

But two years ago Associate Judge David Gendall struck out Perriam's claim in its entirety and did not think its "repeated deficiencies" could be remedied.

He said Perriam had embellished the latest version of her claim with "unsubstantiated allegations including liberal claims of fraud".

"The plaintiff has had ample opportunity to 'fix' her pleadings and in particular to show how the defendants' actions complained of, even if established, caused the losses the plaintiff says she has suffered. She has failed to so. In my view, these pleadings are not capable of effective repair and are once more 'a total write off'," Associate Judge Gendall said.

Perriam's lawyer, Sandy Callanan, this morning applied in the High Court at Auckland for Justice Mark Woolford to review the associate judge's decision.

She told the Herald the review was effectively an appeal and an attempt to revive the statement of claim.

In her submissions to Justice Woolford she said the statement of claim had been "struck out on a misstatement of law".

The application continues this afternoon.

- NZ Herald

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