Southern Response Avoids Class Action


By the judgment 24 February 2016 in Southern Response Unresolved Claims Group v Southern Response Earthquake Services Ltd [2016] NZHC 2345 the High Court (Mander J) declined the Group’s application for leave to bring the proceeding as a representative action in the name of  its nominated representative, Cam Preston.  The Group is an unincorporated body of 46 people with unresolved claims with SR.  The claims are in various stages with some still “under cap”.  The judgment refers to there being 2587 unresolved SR claims.  The Group Claimants appeared to have differing issues with SR, so the Court was unable to identify issues common to the entire group that is a necessary prerequisite to a representative action.  The Court suggested that the Group have another look at the issues that united them and perhaps identify sub-groups.  The judgment also comments on the litigation funding for the proceeding.  It refers to the participants being liable for 20% of any settlement together with a share of the costs.  It would be useful for the Court to decide some of the issues suggested by the Group, but is uncertain whether the Group will proceed to refine the issues/groups and apply to the Court again.