Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Ross v Southern Response - Opt-Out Claim Allowed

IN THE COURT OF APPEAL OF NEW ZEALAND
I TE KŌTI PĪRA O AOTEAROA
CA150/2019 [2019] NZCA 431

BETWEEN
BRENDAN MILES ROSS AND COLLEEN ANNE ROSS
Appellants
AND
SOUTHERN RESPONSE EARTHQUAKE SERVICES LIMITED
Respondent

[…]


JUDGMENT OF THE COURT

A The appeal is allowed.

B The orders made by the High Court on 13 December 2018 are amended in the manner set out at [135] to [138].

C The respondent must pay costs to the appellants for a standard appeal on a band B basis together with usual disbursements. We certify for second counsel.

[…]

REASONS OF THE COURT
(Given by Goddard J)

Introduction

[1] The main issue before us is whether this representative claim can proceed on an opt out basis. We conclude that it can, and should.

[2] In May 2018, Mr and Mrs Ross began these proceedings against Southern Response. The claim relates to the settlement agreement that Mr and Mrs Ross entered into with Southern Response in relation to their insurance claim for damage to their house caused by the Canterbury earthquakes (the settlement agreement). In short, they say that Southern Response provided them with incomplete information about the cost of remedying earthquake damage to their home. As a result, they settled on a less favourable basis than they otherwise would have.

[3] Mr and Mrs Ross say that many policyholders settled claims in similar circumstances, and as a result have the same claims against Southern Response. Mr and Mrs Ross applied to the High Court for leave to bring the proceedings as representatives of the class of around 3,000 policyholders who entered into settlement agreements in these circumstances.

[4] Mr and Mrs Ross sought leave to bring the representative claim on an opt out basis: that means they would bring the claim on behalf of every member of the group as defined, apart from any members who expressly chose to opt out of the proceeding. Southern Response did not oppose Mr and Mrs Ross bringing a representative claim, but said it should be brought on an opt in basis: a member of the affected group would need to complete an opt in election form and send it to the High Court by a date fixed by the Court in order to be included in the claim. Southern Response also objected to the definition of the group of claimants, saying it was too broad in a number of respects.

[5] The application for leave to bring a representative proceeding was heard in the High Court in November 2018. In a judgment delivered on 13 December 2018 (the High Court decision) Associate Judge Matthews held that the claim should be brought on an opt in basis, and resolved a number of issues about the membership of the represented group.

[6] Mr and Mrs Ross obtained leave to appeal to this Court. They say that:
(a) the representative claim should be brought on an opt out basis, rather than an opt in basis; and
(b) the Associate Judge incorrectly limited membership of the class to rebuild customers. Repair customers who entered into settlements in similar circumstances should be included in the class.

[7] We allow the appeal on both issues.

[Full judgment: 2019NZCA431_Southern_Response.pdf]

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Gordon Campbell: On Some After-thoughts About The Climate Change Commission Report

The notion that New Zealand is pluckily - or foolishly – punching above its weight in the march towards carbon neutrality by the year 2050 seems entirely deluded. Either way though, the idea seems too useful for the politicians to surrender it willingly... More>>

 


National: National Will Reverse Interest Deductibility Changes

The arrival of the belated interest deductibility and Brightline rules discussion document brings with it confirmation of what an unprincipled mess the proposed legislation is, National’s Shadow Treasurer Andrew Bayly and Housing spokesperson Nicola Willis say... More>>

Government: 1 Million More Pfizer Doses To Arrive In July

Pfizer has scheduled delivery of an estimated 1 million doses of vaccine to New Zealand during July, COVID1-9 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today... More>>

Merit: Queen's Birthday Honours 2021 List

The full list of those acknowledged... More>>

ALSO:


Jewish Council: New Zealand Not Immune From Rise In Antisemitism

The representative body of New Zealand Jewry, the NZ Jewish Council (NZJC), has expressed concern about the high number of antisemitic incidents in New Zealand recorded last month. Spokesperson for the NZJC, Juliet Moses, said... More>>

NZNO: Nurses Reject DHB Offer And Confirm Strike Action

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation says its 30,000 members who work in DHBs have voted overwhelmingly to reject a second offer in their current round of multi-employer collective agreement (MECA) negotiations... More>>

ALSO:


 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels