In the EQC on sold class action Mathias v EQC  the High Court fixed the date for people to lodge a notice with the Court opting into the class action as 5pm on 22 September 2023.  Some people lodged notices after the deadline.  EQC opposed the late notice people being part of the class.  In Mathias v EQC [2024] NZHC 533 the High Court (Lester AJ) dismissed the EQC opposition and extended the opt in date to the date that each individual notice was received by the Court.  The extension of time was done under rule 1.19  of the High Court Rules as being in the interests of justice.

In Tadd Management Ltd v Weine & ors [2023] NZHC 764 the High Court (Gwynne J) decided that the vendor misrepresented the seismic rating of 134 Queens Drive Lower Hutt that it sold to the plaintiff in December 2017 for $1,227,000 at auction.  The vendor based on a report from the third party, NZ Consulting Engineers Ltd, represented a 60% NBS rating and that the earthquake rating was “Good”.  The court decided that this was a misrepresentation and also common mistake.  It awarded the purchaser damages of $592,00 being the difference in value of the building as it was and as represented together with interest from the date of the purchase settlement.  Weirdly the court did not enter judgment against the third party who was the source of the misrepresentation(s).

There is a class action against EQC in relation to Canterbury houses badly assessed/repaired by EQC after the Canterbury Earthquakes.  There may be in excess of 70,000 eligible homeowners.  Owners have to opt in to the proceeding by 22 September 2023.  A copy of the opt in notice is here.  The website for the class action is

EQC appears to have short paid about 23,000 homeowners for land damage from the Canterbury Earthquakes of 2010/2011.  Rather than pay the cost to repair the land it paid an alleged diminution in value.  This is a difference of about $140,000 for the average homeowner.  Two homeowners have sued EQC and asked the High Court to permit them to represent other similar homeowners.  The Christchurch High Court will hear the representative application on 22 & 23 February 2023.  The claim is funded by a litigation funder.  Here is a website about the claim.  EQC appears to have forecast a liability of about $2.1B for land claims but paid out only about $500M.

In Young v Attorney General [2022] NZCA 391 the Court of Appeal on 23 August 2022 dismissed an appeal by Steven Young against the High Court judgment that the Crown was not liable to him in nuisance/trespass in relation to rocks that fell onto and remained on his Redcliffs property in the earthquake(s) on 22 February 2011.  He claimed about $7M.  The rocks came from Mr Young’s property (72%) and neighbours’ properties (28%).  The Crown acquired the neighbouring properties in red zone offer(s) between 2012 and 2015.  Mr Young rejected any Crown red zone offer(s).  By the time the Crown acquired the neighbouring properties the Young property was already worth very little by reason of the previous rockfalls and zoning of property.  The Court held that the Crown has met any liability to abate the nuisance by offering to pay Mr Young $2M in 2015 plus enabling him to keep insurance proceeds in 3 houses on the site.  The order that Mr Young pay costs and disbursements of $329,093 to the Crown in the High Court was also confirmed.

By a judgment delivered 16 December 2021 by Osborne J in Ross v Southern Response Earthquake Services Ltd [2021] NZHC the High Court has granted the representative plaintiffs (Ross) permission to end the group action against Southern Response on terms that the Southern Response package is open to eligible homeowners until at least April 2023; dissatisfied homeowners can sue Southern Response without Southern Response raising a limitation defence for a further 18 months after discontinuance and oversight/reporting by a committee to the Court.  All eligible homeowners are now free to take up the package offer and the $2000 legal fee subsidy or to sue Southern Response.  Southern Response is to pay a confidential sum of money to the litigation funder CFA.

In Bruce & ors v IAG New Zealand Ltd & ors [2020] NZHC 3051 the High Court ordered IAG to pay costs of $83,179 and disbursements of $121,899 to the Bruces subsequent to the High Court judgment in Bruce & ors v IAG New Zealand Ltd [2018] NZHC 3444.  IAG argued that the Bruces were not successful and in fact IAG had been successful.  Mallon J disagreed and said that the Bruces were the successful party for the purposes of assessing costs.  IAG delayed admitting defects, lost trial issues and ended up paying more than it had ever previously offered.

The High Court in Sleight v Beckia Holdings Ltd (in liq) & ors [2020] NZHC 2851 has found all defendants liable for $389,848 being the costs to repair an earthquake damaged house at 24 Kinnaird Place, Christchurch to the policy standard of “when new”.  IAG insured the earthquake damaged house.  IAG purported to repair the house as part of its managed repair programme with Hawkins as the project manager.  Hawkins, now in liquidation, was insured by QBE.  Farrells, now known as Beckia, was the builder that did the repairs.  The house was defectively repaired.  The build contract for the repairs was between Sleight and Farrells, but it referred to IAG and Hawkins performing roles.  The Court decided that the defendants were liable because the work done did not meet the policy standard and/or the standard required by the Consumer Guarantees Act.  The Court did not award any general damages.  Based on the written agreements between IAG and Hawkins, Iag was required to indemnify QBE for $260K of the judgment.  This is an excellent result for homeowners.  Likely to be appeals.

Owners of 12 units at 152 and 160 Salisbury St, Christchurch sued Vero Insurance seeking a declaration from the High Court that by reason of earthquake damage they were entitled to have the buildings rebuilt under their Vero insurance policy.  Vero said the buildings could be repaired to meet the policy standard of”when new”.  The High Court released its judgment in Body Corporate 335089 v Vero Insurance New Zealand Ltd [2020] NZHC 2353 on  10 September 2020  more than a year after court hearing finished.    The evidence for the owners failed to prove more than minimal earthquake damage by cracking and minor floor level changes.  The argument that because the buildings have dropped was not of itself enough to lead to rebuild as relativities with floor levels, ground levels and service slopes could be maintained. So the Court refused to make the declaration sought by the owners.  Costs will follow the event so this will be an expensive loss for the homeowners.

The Practice Note Number 2 is more stupidity from the Canterbury Earthquake Tribunal. It purports to be about Covid 19 effects, but goes further than that.
It says that the Tribunal will not decide about compliance with the Building Code. Courts decide this issue all the time. Hearings will not be adjourned if a lawyer cannot attend for Covid travel reasons.  It wants to force parties to have Christchurch lawyers.  The Tribunal can resolve legal and factual issues on the papers. Parties can be ordered to attend settlement conferences by video link conducted by a Tribunal member. After the settlement conference the Tribunal can convene a hearing on paper after which it will issue an indicative ruling. More waste of time and money.