In February 2023, Shine Lawyers filed High Court proceedings seeking compensation on behalf of all residents of Edgecumbe who suffered loss/damage in the Edgecumbe floods on 6 April 2017.
Since the commencement of our investigation into the Edgecumbe Floods, Shine Lawyers have taken important steps to progress this claim to a class action (also known as a ‘representative action’). This has included:
- Filing proceedings in the Rotorua High Court against the Bay of Plenty Regional Council (the BOPRC) on behalf of five homeowners and business owners; and
- Filing an application to the High Court of New Zealand to make the claim a class action on behalf of all Edgecumbe residents and property owners for losses suffered as a result of the Edgecumbe floods on 6 April 2017.
What is the Edgecumbe Flood Class Action about?
On 6 April 2017, the town of Edgecumbe was flooded after a floodwall on the Rangitāiki River failed. Hundreds of properties were flooded with about 70 percent of the town impacted by flood damage.
This class action is open to all people and entities that suffered loss as a result of the Edgecumbe floods in 2017, and primarily seeks compensation for:
- Property damage;
- Damaged, lost or destroyed contents;
- Business interruption and lost income; and
- General damages for stress and inconvenience.
Can I join the Edgecumbe Flood Class Action?
To be part of this class action, you must have:
- Suffered loss as a result of the Edgecumbe floods in 2017.
If you meet this criteria, you may be entitled to compensation, and are encouraged to register your interest in the class action.
Register your interest in the Edgecumbe Flood Class Action
To register your interest on a confidential, no-cost, no-obligation basis, please click on the button below and fill out the form.
Who is Shine Lawyers’ Class Action team?
Shine Lawyers is a specialist litigation firm predominantly representing plaintiffs. Shine Lawyers’ associated company in Australia is one of the largest class action and plaintiff litigation firms in Australasia.
In New Zealand, Shine Lawyers has previously conducted major class actions, including a representative test case on behalf of Christchurch homeowners against the Earthquake Commission. Assisting as counsel with this claim is Grant Shand an experienced natural disaster and class action lawyer.
How do class actions work?
There are several ways of group actions can proceed in New Zealand:
1. On a case by case basis (this is where each person individually brings/files a separate legal case in the court);
2. As a class / representative action (this is one action filed on behalf of a whole group of members who have suffered the same kind of losses); or
3. As a test case (where one point of law is tested on behalf of a group of plaintiffs);
A class action involves filing one legal proceeding on behalf of, and for the benefit of, all persons with the same interest in the proceeding. New Zealand Courts have recently made several positive endorsements of this process. It can work very well for people who all have a case against an organisation such as a Regional Council or an insurer etc.
How long do class actions take to resolve?
Due to the nature of class actions, the first stage of the proceedings can take between twelve months to three years or more from its commencement.
Unless a settlement is reached, the first stage will only resolve the representative’s claims and the common issues of the proceedings, with group member claims to be resolved individually at a second stage of the proceedings.
How much will it cost me to participate in the Edgecumbe Flood Claims Class Action?
Bringing any case before the courts can be expensive and time-consuming. We have been discussing the prospect of bringing this case forward with a litigation funder paying for the costs of the proceeding. We are making progress in this regard. But until we are certain about the exact process to be followed for this case, it is difficult to obtain a final decision on funding.
The way that litigation funders work is that the funder will put up the money for the proceedings, including legal and expert costs. In return, if successful, the funder will take a percentage of the judgment or settlement amount. If unsuccessful, the funder indemnifies you for any costs payable to the defendant(s). The advantage of this is that the funder takes the risk of the case, including any adverse costs awarded and once you enter into the funding agreement, you no longer have to contribute to the costs of the case until there is a successful outcome.
Funders will traditionally take a percentage of around 20% of any judgment or settlement plus reimbursement for costs and expenses incurred. So the funder takes all the risk and puts up all the funds (both legal and expert, up to an agreed limit). Given that the funder is taking all the risk of the case, this is the sort of level of return required for any litigation funder to take that risk on. If the case is not successful, generally the funder bears all of that risk too and the individuals do not bear the risk of adverse costs- so in this sense using a funder is typically a “no win no fee” type of arrangement.
Obtaining litigation funding is largely dependent on the number of parties involved. The more plaintiffs, the greater the prospect of obtaining funding. Also, the more people that join a funded case, the more funds available to fight the case, and potentially (subject to agreement by the funder) the less that each person will need to pay as a percentage to the funder.
What are the benefits of a class action?
Due to the size of each claim, the costs of running this action as an individual would quickly exceed the potential damages recoverable, this is why a class action has been selected for Edgecumbe flood claims.
How much money could I claim?
It is impossible at this stage to provide any specific figure that each group member can expect to receive. How much you can claim is specific to each individual. In short, we are looking to recover anything lost in the floods that has not already been covered by your insurer.