Second class action regarding PE core combustible cladding filed in Federal Court of Australia by IMF Bentham and William Roberts Lawyers

Contact:
Gavin Beardsell
Investment Manager, Head of New Zealand | +61 2 8223 3526 | [email protected]
Marella Gibson
Chief Marketing Officer - Australia and Asia | +61 2 8223 3517 | [email protected]

SYDNEY, 18 June 2019: Precisely two years to the day since the cladding on the London ‘Grenfell’ tower caught fire, tragically leading to many fatalities, a second cladding class action has been commenced in Australia.

Following the commencement in February 2019 of the class action against the manufacturers of ‘Alucobond’ PE core cladding products, IMF Bentham Limited (ASX:IMF) and William Roberts Lawyers have filed a second product liability class action in the Federal Court of Australia (in Sydney), under consumer protection laws - this time against the manufacturer of ‘Vitrabond’ PE core cladding products, Fairview Architectural Pty Ltd.   

The second class action seeks compensation for property owners of residential, commercial, mixed-use, public, and other non-residential buildings throughout Australia on which there is Vitrabond aluminium composite panel cladding, with a core comprised wholly or substantially of polyethylene. 

Governments across Australia are identifying affected buildings and restricting and prohibiting certain PE core cladding products but replacing existing PE core cladding is largely the responsibility of property owners. For strata schemes, responsibility falls to Owners Corporations (with potential liability if they fail to act).

Cladding products are affixed to thousands of properties across Australia and although there are numerous brands, Alucobond and Vitrabond are widely used. Combustible cladding is a widespread national problem and many owners have already registered with the first class action. A lead applicant has now been confirmed for the second (Vitrabond) action.  The two actions will be conducted concurrently by William Roberts Lawyers with financial backing from leading global dispute financier, IMF Bentham. 

Property owners who believe their building may be affected by combustible cladding should continue to register their interest in joining a class action by contacting IMF Bentham at www.imf.com.au/cladding. IMF will assist in determining liability to participate in a class action and how to proceed. 

IMF Bentham and William Roberts are also investigating other cladding products as some building owners may be affected by alternative brands. Many owners do not know if they have combustible cladding, let alone which brand. 

Many owners also do not know if their building’s cladding is non-compliant and expert advice may be needed to determine the answer. Owners who sign IMF’s funding agreement can schedule an assessment by a building expert to determine their situation. The cost of this assessment is covered by IMF and is only recoverable by IMF from any proceeds of a successful resolution.

Registering interest in either class action does not attract any costs up front and no consequences if an owner’s building is deemed to be outside the class action parameters. IMF only recovers its costs from case proceeds if the action resolves successfully.   

For further information about William Roberts Lawyers please visit www.williamroberts.com.au 
William Roberts Lawyers: Bill Petrovski, Principal | +61 2 9552 2111 | [email protected]