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Southern Response – Yet Another Loss in Court

Today, the Court of Appeal issued its judgment in Karl & Alison Dodds v Southern Response Earthquake Services Ltd [2020] NZCA 395. The Court of Appeal has upheld the earlier High Court finding that, in presenting the Dodds with information about the value of their insurance settlement, SRESL had made misrepresentations and breached the Fair Trading Act. Consequently, SRESL must pay the Dodds “the difference between the true value of their rights under the policy, and the sum they were persuaded to take in exchange for a surrender of those rights.” For the Dodds, the value of that difference, about $205,000. Their costs will be paid by SRESL.

There are about 3000 other Southern Response policyholders who were treated in the same manner by SRESL when insurance claims were settled. GCA Lawyers represents Brendan and Colleen Ross who are well advanced with a class action against SRESL seeking recovery of policyholders’ losses. By order of the court Brendan and Colleen represent all other policyholders. As a result of them filing their action, normal limitation rules have been suspended and all affected policyholders have their rights protected.

Currently, SRSEL and the Rosses are awaiting a judgment from the Supreme Court on the question of the form of Notice that the High Court will later be obliged to send to all affected policyholders. GCA Lawyers is confident that the Court of Appeal decision in Brendan & Colleen Ross v Southern Response Earthquake Services Ltd [2019[ NZCA 431, will be upheld and the path will be clear for the Dodds decision to be directly applied to all other class members.

For more information contact Grant Cameron,

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