Class action by owners of buildings clad in 'combustible' panels being lined up

Law firm Russell McVeagh has lined up Australian litigation lender IMF Bentham to fund a class action lawsuit for owners of buildings clad in "combustible" aluminium panels.

Following the fatal Grenfell Tower fire in London in 2017, and the Lacrosse fire in Melbourne in 2014, Australian building owners were removing suspect aluminium panels from their properties, and some New Zealand owners, including SkyCity have followed suit.

IMF Bentham was already funding a lawsuit in Australia in which building owners were suing aluminium panel-makers and distributors for compensation over the costs of recladding their buildings.

The Grenfell Tower was destroyed by fire in 2017 that killed 72 people.
The Grenfell Tower was destroyed by fire in 2017 that killed 72 people.

"What we are doing is making it possible for building owners who might be interested in finding out more to register their interest," Polly Pope, litigation partner from Russell McVeagh said.

A combustible class action website had been launched on which building owners could register their interest.

It was not yet known exactly how many buildings in Auckland and Wellington were clad with aluminium panels similar to those that clad the 23-storey Grenfell Tower where 72 people died as a result of a fire which started in the kitchen of a fourth floor flat.

But Auckland Council, which has published a list of aluminium panel-clad buildings including the TVNZ building, identified 13 high rise buildings which were clad with panels similar to those on Grenfell Tower, but said there was no immediate danger to the people living, or working in them.

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