Feltex Carpets investors are seeking more time and have new supporters guaranteeing funding for their court case against the company's former directors and promoters.
At the same time, the judge who has been overseeing the case for seven years has had his retirement delayed by a year.
Investors in the carpet marker launched a case in 2008 over Feltex Carpets' 2004 prospectus. While they won in 2018 when the Supreme Court said the prospectus had an untrue statement, the investors are yet to prove they relied on it and what they lost as a result.
A stage two trial was meant to start in February, but a lack of funding on the investors' side has caused delay. The investors, led by Eric Houghton, have not paid security for costs to proceed to hearing.
In May, the presiding judge, Justice Robert Dobson, gave the investors until yesterday to come up with security for costs to proceed to the next round.
Yesterday, litigation funder Tony Gavigan said an appeal of the decision issuing the deadline has been filed and a hearing on holding the judgment until that appeal will take place on July 30 in front of Justice Dobson.
On Friday attorney general David Parker announced the judge, who was meant to retire this year, will stay on as an acting judge of the High Court until July 5, 2021.
Gavigan, who controls Joint Action Funding, the corporate entity behind the suit, said that the claimants should not have their compensation hearing taken away from them.
He has established a new company, Stage Two Guarantee, which he said will guarantee $1.65 million to advance to the next stage. Joint Action Funding has agreed to pay Stage Two Guarantee a fee of $330,000 through crowdfunding.
If the investors lose, Stage Two Guarantee will pay the costs.
If the investors win and the award is more than 13 cents per share, Stage Two Guarantee will get $660,000.
There are eight parties which are underwriting Stage Two Guarantee, including Eric Houghton, Paul Collins' Active Equity Holdings, Tony Walsh, Ian and Neil Hamilton, Craig Anderson, Logan Granger, Fore Golfers Limited and the Business Integrity Trust.
Collins has previously given evidence indicating an entity he is responsible for lost $666,000 when Feltex collapsed, and that he had supported the Feltex claim at the Supreme Court stage.
The former Brierley investments director has said he would not have invested if it wasn't for the untrue statement in the prospectus.
Business Integrity Trust trustee Stephen Franks said the trust had been aware of the litigation for many years but only decided to support it after deciding accounting "fiddling" appeared to have been established.
"The purpose of the trust is so that big battalions can't win by wearing out the other side, although since the trust was created, litigation funders have come along.
"If it falls at this hurdle, it is saying to ordinary investors, it doesn't matter what your case is, if they've got bigger pockets, they can outlast you."
Franks indicated the trust preferred to underwrite claims rather than give out grants, and that the trust had about $800,000 to $900,000 still available to it.
The Business Integrity Trust was formed in 2002 after a case against Fletcher Challenge's then chair Kerry Hoggard. That resulted in a settlement, of which $350,000 went toward the establishment of the trust.
At the same time, Joint Action Funding has raised $285,500 through crowdfunding on the Collinson Crowdfunding website to date.
Justice Dobson has allocated six weeks from October 27 for the stage two trial if he is happy with cost arrangements. Part of the judge's conditions include an endorsement from the investors' lawyer, Colin Carruthers, QC, that his clients are adequately resourced to proceed.
2004: Feltex Carpet floats.
2006: Moved into receivership and liquidation.
2008: Eric Houghton files representative claim.
2014: Justice Robert Dobson finds against claimants in High Court.
2016: Court of Appeal upholds most of High Court decision.
2018: Supreme Court reverses Court of Appeal decision, First NZ Capital and Forsyth Barr removed from the case.
2019: Stage two trial to evaluate quantum scheduled.
2020: Court hearing scheduled for February delayed as investors not ready.
2020 May: Judge gives July deadline for payment or case will be struck out.
2020 June: Investors notify the court they will appeal.