In Biggins & anor v Southern Response Earthquake Services Ltd  NZDC 25609 the District Court considered an application by an insured home owner for summary judgment for the cost of a carport that was not included when SR rebuilt the insured’s house. There were also claims for general damages and the owners’ share of liability for a common driveway. The insured house had a carport. The house rebuilt by Southern Response after the earthquakes did not. SR said it was not liable because the cost of a carport was included in the costing for the rebuilt house. Southern Response lost. There were no documents that supported the SR position. SR also lost on the driveway share issue, but avoided a liability for general damages.
Fitzgerald & ors v IAG New Zealand Ltd  NZHC 3447 was a High Court judgment by Gendall J about the repairability of a rubble foundation damaged in earthquake(s). The Fitzgeralds appealed the judgment to the Court of Appeal, but also applied to have Gendall J recall his judgment on the grounds that the Court had relied upon incorrect evidence by IAG’s expert engineer, Craig Lewis, about similar repair strategies being performed on other houses in Christchurch. Apparently one house relied upon by Mr Lewis was TC2 and not TC3 and did not get a building consent as an exemption was granted. In Fitzgerald & ors v IAG New Zealand  NZHC 632 The High Court (Gendall J) dismissed the recall application. The judgment says that it relied on evidence other than from Mr Lewis and expressly referred to the failure to cross examine IAG’s builder who said he had seen the repair done 20 times and evidence from Fitzgerald’s own geotechnical engineer about consent. It also noted it would generally not be appropriate for a Court to recall its judgment once an appeal had been lodged.
In Taylor v Asteron Life Ltd  NZHC 978 the High Court (Cooke J) dismissed a claim by an insured, Peter Taylor, to recover benefits under an income protection policy and upheld the insurer’s claim to recover $371,286.70 in payments made plus interest to be determined. The Court found that Mr Taylor was not totally disabled because he continued to work after his alleged “sickness”. The insurer called as witnesses three employees of Mr Taylor who gave evidence about the extent of Mr Taylor’s work that was far greater than what Mr Taylor said. Documents also contradicted Mr Taylor’s evidence. The Court also found that Mr Taylor was not partially disabled either because any sickness/illness did not affect his work and he actually earned more money after the sickness/illness than he did prior. Mr Taylor also made false statements about work and income that entitled Asteron to avoid/cancel the policy and recover money paid. The judgment is notable for reference to false duplicate sets of accounts for Mr Taylor’s business.
Notwithstanding the success of the Greater Christchurch Claims Resolution Service it appears the Government is proceeding with the establishment of the Canterbury Earthquakes Tribunal. Based on the version of the bill reported from the House on 9 May 2019 the goal is for the Tribunal to exist from 10 June 2019. The Tribunal still cannot deal with “on solds” being houses sold after the relevant earthquake(s). Unlike the GCCRS the decisions of the Tribunal are public. The Tribunal still has restrictions on the ability to award costs.