Landmark decision in Court of Appeal set to be challenged in Supreme Court in March 2020

Supreme Court sets appeal date in Southern Response class action

On 16 September 2019, in a landmark decision (attached), the Court of Appeal ruled that Brendan and Colleen Ross may bring an “opt-out” class action against Southern Response Earthquake Services Ltd on behalf of policyholders who have allegedly suffered loss due to the insurer’s misleading and deceptive conduct.  This is the first case to recognise that class actions may be brought on an opt-out basis in New Zealand.

Bankside’s Philip Skelton QC, Kelly Quinn and Carter Pearce appeared for Mr and Mrs Ross.  Tom Weston QC appeared for Southern Response along with his instructing solicitors from Buddle Findlay.

On 9 December 2019, the Supreme Court granted Southern Response leave to bring an appeal against the Court of Appeal’s decision (attached).  A hearing date of 23 and 24 March 2020 has been set for the appeal.

In the hearing, Southern Response will try to overturn the Court of Appeal’s decision allowing the opt-out class action to proceed against Southern Response.  The class action legal team will argue that the Court of Appeal’s judgment should stand.

Tom Weston QC has also been instructed by Southern Response to appeal the decision in Dodds v Southern Response (attached), in which the High Court found that Southern Response engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct.  The High Court’s findings in the Dodds case are similar or identical to the allegations Mr and Mrs Ross are making in the class action.  That appeal will be heard in the Court of Appeal in May 2020.

2019.08.16 Dodds v Southern Response [2019] NZHC 2016

2019.09.16 Judgment [2019] NZCA 431

2019.12.09 Judgment (leave to appeal)