James Hardie Class Action To Start in High Court, Wellington

James Hardie Class Action To Start in High Court, Wellington 2
James Hardie Class Action To Start in High Court, Wellington 3

A class action brought by a group of over 140 homeowners against cladding manufacturer James Hardie begins a 16-week hearing on Monday in the High Court in Wellington before Justice Simon France.

The plaintiffs’ lawyer, Dan Parker of Parker & Associates said the claim was filed in 2015 and the owner group is looking forward to the hearing getting underway.

Mr Parker said the claim alleges that James Hardie was negligent and made misleading statements in relation to the manufacture and sale of its wall cladding system, Harditex. He noted that James Hardie denies the allegations, which will be the subject of contested fact and expert evidence before the Court over the next four months.

It is not known exactly how many properties were built using Harditex from 1987 until the cladding system was withdrawn in 2005.

Lead plaintiff Katrina Fowler bought her Harditex-clad Wellington home in 2000. She has been told that it will cost more than $420,000 to fix. Ms Fowler is the chair of the committee that manages the claim for the group.

“Many in our group have suffered stress and anxiety and struggle with the financial hardships associated with this situation,” Ms Fowler said.

“We are pleased that our ‘day in Court’ has now arrived.”

The lead representative plaintiffs represent a group of just over 140 owners. The plaintiffs seek damages for the cost of repairs plus special damages, general damages, post remediation stigma damages and expert costs. At this first stage the Court will determine common issues of whether a legal duty was owed, and if so whether that duty was breached and whether misleading statements were made in the technical literature.

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