The British litigation funder behind the multimillion dollar class action brought by Adina Thorn against Carter Holt Harvey for its Shadowclad product has unexpectedly ended when the funder pulled out of the funding arrangement, for unknown reasons.
The widely publicised class action that sought around $40 million was launched in 2018 and Carter Holt have made no concessions and are set to also obtain substantial security for costs paid to them following the discontinuance.
The case came at a time when many issues and cases were being launched over monolithic cladding products that had previously been used and was initially scheduled to last four months and has faced stringent opposition from Carter Holt.
The Carter Holt claim did not include Government compensation claimed for school cladding issues.
That case saw the Ministry of Education seeking compensation of between $1.1b and $1.3b from Carter Holt Harvey for defective materials affecting 800 schools around the country. The terms of the settlement are confidential.
The plaintiffs in the Adina Thorn-lead class action had brought a representative claim against Carter Holt in relation to Shadowclad, a form of external cladding made from pine.
The claim is funded a by an offshore litigation funder. Carter Holt previously applied to stay the claim as an abuse of process saying in a hearing in 2019 that the claim had been brought without Court permission and objecting to allegedly misleading statements designed to promote the claim via press releases, media interviews and the like.
Judge Matthew Downs dismissed Carters Holt Harvey’s application to throw the case out, though his decision referred to a “whiff of overstatement” in one statement Thorn made saying the plaintiffs’ case was “exactly the same” as the Crown case in an interview with Stuff.
Justice Downs also found Thorn had made misleading statements about how much the claim was for, telling one news organisation in 2017 that it potentially exceeded $100m.