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Grant Shand Barristers & Solicitors
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EQC & Insurance Newsletter #12
YOU DID IT! WE DID IT!
 
We are very pleased to announce that due to all of your support, loyalty and VOTES, we will again head to the New Zealand Law Awards as a finalist for the Insurance Specialist Law Firm Year on Thursday 17 November 2016.

Stay tuned on the Grant Shand Barristers & Solicitors Facebook page for event pictures and hopefully the winner announcement. Cross your fingers for us....
Introducing:

Brooke Wills - Law Clerk

 
Brooke is currently completing the final year of her LLB and BBus (International Business) double degree at Auckland University of Technology.

Brooke worked as a Law Clerk at a boutique property law firm in Auckland for a number of years, prior to joining the team at Grant Shand
 

High Court orders costs against EQC & Southern Response
 

Yet again the High Court (Davidson J) has ordered EQC and Southern Response to pay costs to homeowners where both paid money after being sued in excess of what each had offered, before being sued late 2013.  

In Zygadlo v EQC & Southern Response [2016] NZHC 1699 the High Court ordered EQC to pay $12,210.27 in costs and SR $45,291.56.  EQC paid $159,626.71 in August 2015, and SR paid a further $340,000 in March 2016 to remediate the house damage.  EQC asked the Court to order that the homeowners pay it ($21,350.47) because they had changed expert witnesses and delayed the proceeding.  They also said that the Court could not make a costs order because a litigation funder had paid the costs and not the homeowners.  This argument failed.  SR asked t,he Court to order the homeowner to pay it costs of $78,741.75 because the homeowner did not receive the total amount asked for, the increased amount paid by SR came from its internal reassessments- not the litigation, and the delay by the owner’s experts.  EQC and SR failed in their arguments to receive a costs award, however, the Court did reduce some costs/disbursements associated with the delays and changes in engineering witnesses.  

The judgment is notable that it ordered EQC to pay 2/3rds and SR 1/3rds of the costs before EQC paid cap.  This judgment is further vindication of the benefits of suing.  The owners were about $380,000 better off by suing.



MBIE Cashbook Settlement Booklet
 

Here is the link to the MBIE Cash Settlement booklet recently released via an OIA request.  

It was prepared by MBIE and CERA with input from EQC, CCC and Worksafe.  It is an excellent handbook for homeowners and contains accurate advice as to what to do when considering a cash settlement.  It makes many useful suggestions as to information to ask of the EQC/Insurer before settling, and also what ought to be included in the cash settlement calculation.  Still a useful resource.

EQC Limitation Video

Here is a link to a video of me produced by EQC fix it about EQC and the impending limitation period expiry

 

Judicial Modernisation – Interest & DC Limit to $350,00.00
 

The Judicial Modernisation Bill has now been subdivided into subsidiary bills – one of which is the Interest on Money Claims Bill and another that deals with the District Court.  It has now passed through the House committee stage with only its third reading and Royal Assent to go.  Good for claimants and bad for EQC it now provides that a defendant is liable to pay interest where the defendant pays money to settle the claim after proceedings commenced, but before any judgment.  Previously the High Court had refused to order EQC to pay interest under the Judicature Act.  The District Court bill increases the limit of the District Court to $350,000.

Judicial Modernisation


Earthquake Prone Buildings


Identifying and Managing Earthquake-prone Buildings


Regulations have been approved for new earthquake-prone building legislation and these have been released for consultation. MBIE is consulting on the regulations, together with a methodology that will set the new approach for identifying and managing earthquake-prone buildings.  The methodology will outline the criteria for engineering assessments, and it is designed to enable councils to make informed decisions about whether buildings are earthquake-prone.  The Minister’s release can be found here, and a link to the regulations and consultation documents is here.

If you have any comments or feedback on the proposed regulations or methodology, please forward them to the Property

EQC has a win on costs


The Court of Appeal in Yarrall & anor v EQC [2016] NZCA 517 dismissed an appeal against a costs judgment where the High Court had ordered the homeowner to pay EQC costs of $23,482 plus disbursements of $121.40.  

The homeowners sued EQC challenging the apportionment of damage between the quakes.  Before the homeowners commenced the proceedings in August 2013 the insurer had accepted the EQC apportionment and had agreed to replace the house.  

The dispute proceeded through the High Court earthquake list process until in May 2014 the homeowners accepted that the proceeding would serve no practical purpose.  

On 23 May 2014 the homeowners filed a notice of discontinuance.  EQC applied for costs.  The costs award is understandable.  The homeowners achieved nothing by the proceeding.  EQC did not change its position and the apportionment had no prejudice to the homeowners


High Court Earthquake List Stats
 

On 13 October 2016 the current controllers of the High Court Earthquake list presented information about its operation.

 

Here are some interesting stats:

 

·     Court filings by year: 2010-1; 2011- 3; 2012- 52; 2013- 196; 2014- 135; 2015-66; 2016-283; and

 

·     Percentage of cases disposed of by year: 2010-100%; 2011- 100%; 2012-98%; 2013- 89%; 2014- 66%; 2015-23%; 2016-1%.  52% of cases settled with less than 1 month before the trial date. 
 

The 2016 spike is caused by the pre limitation period expiry for the 4 September 2010 earthquake.   We expect a similar spike in early 2017

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Grant Shand Barristers & Solicitors
0800 474 263
www.grantshand.co.nz

 






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Grant Shand Barristers & Solicitors · Level 2, 26-28 Hobson Street Towers · Hobson Street · Auckland, Auk 1140 · New Zealand

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