GCALawyers – International Financiers Announced as New Backers for $1 Billion Southern Response Class Action
A new class action launched by a Christchurch lawyer against Government-owned Southern Response has brought an international litigation funding heavyweight to the potential $1 billion class action case.
Class action specialist Grant Cameron is inviting over 3000 unsettled Southern Response policyholders to join in a united effort to force Southern Response to meet its contractual obligations.
“Southern Response is only meeting 40 to 50 percent of the amounts claimed based on its own inadequate building reports. This is not an organisation concerned with its policyholders. This is an organisation concerned with limiting its own financial exposure,” he said.
Cameron says many Cantabrians are under too much financial stress to fund court action on an individual basis and a no win – no fee alternative is the only way to take action without any risk.
The action against Southern Response is being underwritten by Litigation Lending Services, an international consortium that specialises in class actions.
“Our litigation funder can get independent experts to tell you the real value of Cantabrians’ claims, and fight for damages including anxiety, stress, relocation, rent, storage and any other cost because of payout delay.”
Cameron says LLS is a very substantial company and it only funds actions where its lawyers consider there is a high likelihood of success. This gives the funder the confidence to go ahead on a “no win no fee” basis.
“That means, in the unlikely event of the action being unsuccessful, LLS would meet any court costs. It won’t cost individual policyholders in the action a dollar.”
Cameron says the earthquakes were in 2010 and 2011 and, over four years later, Southern Response policyholders are still waiting for their claims to be resolved fairly. “That is four years of hardship, worry, and stress”.
“Individuals tell me they feel powerless dealing with Southern Response. It’s easy for organisations to delay payouts when they are dealing with individuals. A class action empowers individual policy holders and will force Southern Response into action.”
Cameron has taken several successful class actions including against the Government on behalf of the families of the 14 victims of Cave Creek disaster when Department of Conservation viewing platform collapsed in the West Coast’s Paparoa National Park in April 1995.
In April 2001, he was successful in achieving redress for former patients abused at Lake Alice psychiatric hospital, and recently he achieved success in the Supreme Court for the Quake Outcasts group over Christchurch red zone issues.
Mr Cameron said his legal practice had negotiated a fee with the underwriters. “If the action is successful, LLS and GCA fees will not exceed 20 percent of the claim and in some circumstances, the amount will be significantly less. Put simply, if the policyholder does nothing, they are likely to only get 40-50 percent of their claim value met by Southern Response. If a policyholder spends no more than 20 percent of their claim value, they are in line to recover 100 percent of their claim.”
As required, the funder will also pay for expert reports for policyholders, so the true damage and remedial options will be known.
He said court action was not inevitable. “Southern Response may recognize that it is now in a very vulnerable position and it may decide it’s prudent to reach a negotiated resolution with us. Obviously, that would be the sensible way to resolve matters,” he said.
Mr Cameron said Southern Response policyholders could join the class action through a special website www.srca.co.nz or by contacting GCA Lawyers directly on firstname.lastname@example.org or (03) 365 1347.
“There’s a great deal of truth in the old union saying, ‘unity is strength’,” he said. “Joining together gives policyholders the strength to impose change on Southern Response, and to put power back in their hands. I’m sure many will find it an extremely satisfying experience,” he said