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High Court decisions relating to Pre-October 2014 Payment Package and Ross Class Action
20 September 2021
Southern Response has today received the High Court decisions relating to the April court hearing on matters pertaining to the Ross Class Action and the Southern Response Payment Package for policyholders who settled with Southern Response prior to October 2014, that was announced by the Government in December 2020.
The four judgments announced today are:
- The setting aside judgment, in relation to Mr and Mrs Ross’s application for a setting aside order, which unsuccessfully sought an order that Southern Response be required to set aside 15 per cent of the agreed settlement sum in any settlement it reaches with a member of the Ross Class Action who opts out of the proceeding.
- The notification judgment, in relation to the content of information to be sent to members of the class that Mr and Mrs Ross represent; the methods of communicating that information; and the form of the opt out notice by which a class member may opt out of the representative proceeding.
- The reasons judgment, in relation to Southern Response’s original application to communicate with customers in relation to the Pre-October 2014 Payment Package.
- The communications judgment, in relation to what and how Southern Response will communicate regarding the Pre-October 2014 Payment Package.
Southern Response will be able to provide more information to policyholders in relation to the Pre-October 2014 Payment Package in the coming weeks, according to the timeline set out by the communications judgement referred to above (number 4).
The judgments can be viewed by clicking on the headings below:
Proactive package for Southern Response Claimants
14 December 2020
The Government has approved a package to be offered to eligible policyholders who settled with Southern Response prior to October 2014, Minister Responsible for the Earthquake Commission David Clark announced today.
“The proactive package offers a top-up payment to customers in a situation similar to Mr and Mrs Dodds, who recently won their case for further payments. Payments may include certain professional fees, a contribution to legal fees, unpaid contingencies, and interest. The package’s implementation will be overseen by an independent oversight committee.
“The roll out of this package is intended to address the inequity of those who settled their claims prior to October 2014 compared to those who settled later.
“I acknowledge the lengthy time the ongoing court action is taking and the stress this causes claimants.”
As the package will affect some policyholders that are potentially part of a current court case known as the Ross Class Action, Southern Response is today applying to the court for confirmation that it can communicate with those policyholders about the package.
“I appreciate that individual claimants will want to get this matter sorted as promptly as possible. This package offers a way of resolving the issue without lengthy and costly legal action.
“The court cases to date have been helpful to gain clarity on how to fairly apply the findings to policy holders in a similar situation and have informed the principles of this package,” David Clark said.
The members of the Independent Oversight Committee will be:
- David Ayers (Chair)
- Fiona Mules
- Nina Khouri
- Sandra Manderson
“I want to thank the members for agreeing to be part of the committee who will help ensure it’s a fair and transparent process that everyone can trust,” David Clark said.
Decision made to not appeal Dodds vs Southern Response
28 September 2020
Southern Response accepts the findings of the Court of Appeal in the case of K. & A. Dodds v Southern Response Earthquake Services Ltd and the Crown’s decision not to appeal that judgment.
Southern Response will be paying the damages awarded to Mr and Mrs Dodds by the Court shortly, and arrangements have already been made to cover their legal costs.
Southern Response’s General Manager, Casey Hurren, said: “We accept the Court of Appeal’s findings and, while we regret that Mr and Mrs Dodds have been in the middle of this, we are pleased that this court decision has provided us with some of the principles on which we will be able to base our response to other affected policyholders. We are now working closely with the Government to formulate that response in more detail.”
EQC to process Southern Response claims after 2019
21 October 2019
Southern Response has today confirmed that it will be winding up its in-house claims settlement function by the end of this year, and from that point remaining claims will be handled by EQC acting as Southern Response’s agent.
Southern Response will continue to exist, but with a focus on its ongoing legal, financial and reporting obligations. This ongoing entity will retain ultimate decision-making responsibilities and will also manage litigation.
Decision reached on Dodds vs Southern Response appeal
12 September 2019
The Crown has today announced that it will appeal the High Court decision of the K. & A. Dodds v Southern Response Earthquake Services Ltd case.