Christchurch homeowners launch new class action against Southern Response

Aerial view of liquefaction and earthquake damaged houses in Christchurch. Photo / Geoff Sloan
Aerial view of liquefaction and earthquake damaged houses in Christchurch. Photo / Geoff Sloan

A group of Christchurch homeowners have launched a new class action against insurer Southern Response.

The 46 policyholders, whose homes were damaged in the Canterbury earthquakes, first lodged a claim against the insurer last year.

But their bid suffered a setback when Justice Cameron Mander threw the case out of the High Court at Christchurch in February.

However, Justice Mander left the door open for the homeowners to make a modified application that would address concerns raised in his judgment - particularly around the claimants' commonality of interests.

Class action lawyer Grant Cameron said the group had now filed an amended statement of claim in the High Court that would meet those concerns.

"Over the past two months there has been an immense amount of work completed to bring together all the evidence of commonality of issues across all members of the class and we can now point to each specific document that evidences why particular class members are affected by specific issues.

"Therefore, we are confident that the court will see the high degree of commonality on the majority of issues and that periphery differences can be easily case-managed by the court."

Mr Cameron said the statement of claim now alleged all policyholders in the action were the "victim of an overarching strategy being maintained by Southern Response which is designed to minimise its fiscal exposure".

"It does this through a number of tactics and it is only through the means of a class action that the pattern of misconduct can be easily identified," he said.

"We anticipate that the true nature and scope of this company's activities can now be laid before the court, but the case raises immense questions around access to justice.

"Any citizen can file their own action in the court but where citizens cannot afford to litigate against a major corporate or the Government, and they band together to share costs, there is no automatic right to enter the courtroom."

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter


© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf03 at 21 Oct 2016 23:40:29 Processing Time: 649ms