IMF Bentham launches NZ class action to protest fatal fires
There are hundreds of buildings across New Zealand affected by combustible PE core cladding which has prompted a potential class action by a global litigation funder.
The litigation funder IMF Bentham announced it will investigate a class action with law firm Russell McVeagh and file a product liability claim against particular manufacturers of allegedly combustible Alucobond and Vitrabond PE cladding products.
“The class action seeks compensation for property owners of residential, commercial, mixed-use and other non-residential buildings through New Zealand of which there is certain Alucobond or Vitrabond aluminium composite panel cladding, with a core that is comprised wholly or substantially of polyethylene,” IMF Bentham said.
Councils across New Zealand have conducted investigations into affected buildings to determine those most at risk, but the responsibility for maintaining and replacing core cladding falls to property owners or body corporates of unit titles.
The combustible PE core cladding saw the Lacrosse tower, a 23-storey building which doubled as commercial and residential in Melbourne, catch fire in what could have had a catastrophic ending. In 2017, a similar fire in London did claim lives and property.
IMF Bentham said 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.”
The proposed New Zealand class action is open to property owners, body corporates and leaseholders who have suffered or may potentially suffer from financial loss from removing and replacing the Alucobond and Vitrabond PE core cladding products.