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Hardie class action gets go ahead: lawyer

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 16/10/2016

The High Court has given permission for a leaky building representative class action to proceed against cladding maker James Hardie, says the action's lawyers.

Anyone wanting to join the action now has between two and 10 weeks to do so, says Dan Parker, of Parker & Associates.

"Opt-in periods range from 10, four and two weeks from the judgment date depending on the representative claim so there is a real urgency for those yet to opt in to get on board," Mr Parker said in a statement on Sunday.

The action claims James Hardie was negligent in its design, manufacture and supply of the Harditex and Titanboard cladding systems.

Mr Parker said 19 commercial owners have signed up for the Titanboard claim, and more than 60 for the Harditex claim. Last year Mr Parker said more than 500 people had contacted them about potential claims.

The first Harditex claim was brought by Tracey Cridge and Mark Unwin, who claim their Wellington home suffered widespread internal water damage - estimated to cost more than $300,000 to fix.

Another Wellington couple, Katrina Fowler and Scott Woodhead, have also claimed over their 2000 duplex.

James Hardie denies the claims and has said it stands by the integrity and quality of its building products.

It would vigorously defend any allegations made against its products, it said when the class action was revealed last year.

The company was founded in Melbourne in 1888 by Scottish immigrant James Hardie. It is now listed on the Australian and New York stock exchanges and has its headquarters in Dublin.

In the 2016 financial year it generated net sales of $US1.73 billion ($NZ2.44b).

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