Carter Holt granted leave to appeal 'leaky schools' ruling
By Paul McBeth
Nov. 30 (BusinessDesk) - Carter Holt Harvey, the building products manufacturer and supplier owned by billionaire Graeme Hart, will argue its case over whether it can be held liable in the Ministry of Education's leaky schools case in the Supreme Court.
Justices William Young, Susan Glazebrook and Terence Arnold granted the manufacturer leave to appeal a ruling in the Court of Appeal, which largely threw out Carter Holt's bid to toss out the ministry's claim. The approved grounds for the appeal and cross-appeal are whether the Appeal Court was correct to conclude that the negligence claims are arguable, whether claims for negligent misstatement aren't arguable, and whether the 10-year limitation on claims under the Building Act don't apply.
The Appeal Court ruling in July didn't establish the building products maker was liable, rather it paved the way for the ministry's claim in the High Court to recoup the costs of remediating 880 buildings across school.
The appeal on the 10-year limitation will be closely watched by two class actions against cladding makers, which rely in part on the Court of Appeal ruling removing the time bar on the action.
In April 2013, the Education Ministry launched a $1.5 billion action against cladding manufacturers Carter Holt, James Hardie Industries and CSR to recoup the costs involved in a remediation programme. It has since reached confidential settlements with James Hardie and CSR, though there are some cross-claims against those parties as at least 73 school buildings used a mixture of cladding products.