Global litigation funder, IMF Bentham, and law firm Russell McVeagh announce investigation of a New Zealand Class Action regarding PE core combustible cladding

Gavin Beardsell
Senior Investment Manager and Legal Counsel | +61 2 8223 3567 | [email protected]

SYDNEY, 22 November 2019: IMF Bentham Limited (ASX:IMF) and Russell McVeagh announce a New Zealand (NZ) Class Action is under investigation. Like the two Australian actions funded by IMF Bentham (Press Releases 15 February 2019; Press Release 18 June 2019), the NZ class action will also be a product liability claim against certain manufacturers of Alucobond and Vitrabond PE core cladding products.  It is anticipated the investigation will lead to the NZ class action commencing by 31 December 2019.
Who is affected

Potentially hundreds of buildings across New Zealand are affected by combustible PE core cladding. Councils across New Zealand have done some work to identify affected buildings, however responsibility for dealing with PE core cladding on existing buildings largely rests with property owners. For unit title schemes, responsibility falls to bodies corporate.

What should affected NZ property owners do

To participate in the potential class action, property owners are encouraged to register their interest promptly.

About the proposed action

The proposed NZ class action is open to property owners, body corporates and lease-holders who have suffered or will suffer financial loss from removing and replacing Alucobond and Vitrabond PE core cladding products, or taking other remedial measures. 

The class action will seek compensation for property owners of residential, commercial, mixed-use, and other non-residential buildings throughout New Zealand on which there is certain Alucobond or Vitrabond aluminum composite panel cladding, with a core comprised wholly or substantially of polyethylene.
How do owners know if their building is affected?

Many owners do not know if their building’s cladding is combustible and expert advice may be needed to determine the answer. We encourage owners to register even if they do not know what cladding they have on their building.

IMF Bentham will provide funding for building experts retained by Russell McVeagh who can assess buildings to determine the type and brand of cladding (at no cost to owners unless there is a recovery), once owners register with IMF Bentham and enter into IMF’s funding agreement and sign Russell McVeagh’s retainer and costs agreement.  If it turns out to be a cladding product that is not eligible to participate in the class action to be conducted by Russell McVeagh and funded by IMF, there is no cost or penalty for the owners.

In Melbourne, the ‘Lacrosse’ tower, a 23-storey mixed-use building (comprising residential & commercial lots) suffered a potentially fatal fire after its combustible cladding caught fire on 25 November 2014. In London, cladding on the ‘Grenfell’ tower caught fire on 14 June 2017, resulting in loss of lives and property.

Additional contact:
Russell McVeagh: Kelly Hawkins, Communications Manager | +64 9 367 8361 |
[email protected]