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Legal decisions

In this section, EQC is providing information on recent legal cases that involve claims for alleged earthquake damage sustained to residential buildings.  Copies of the Court’s decision can be located for each of these claims on the links below.

EQC has welcomed the outcomes of these High Court decisions that were released in 2017/18.  These decisions reaffirm EQC’s approach for assessing and settling claims for earthquake damage.

In all of these decisions, the High Court has determined that the following elements need to be satisfied in order for there to be “damage” that is covered by EQC:

  • There needs to be a material physical change to the building element;
  • The material physical change must be the direct result of an earthquake; and 
  • The material physical change must impair the value and usefulness of the building element.

Goodier case

This case concerned a landslide that occurred during the June 2015 Whanganui storm event. This landslide (one of many) washed away a significant part of the driveway, land, and retaining walls at the Goodiers’ property on Bastia Hill in Whanganui.

More info

Bligh case

In the Bligh case, the High Court has confirmed that the burden is on the homeowner to prove that their property has sustained earthquake damage.

More info 

He case 

In September 2017 the High Court released a judgment which accepted EQC’s assessment that Mr Xiaoming He’s property sustained minimal earthquake damage. The High Court rejected Mr He’s claim that his property required rebuilding at a cost of $1 million and his claim has been dismissed. 

More info

Sadat case 

In the Sadat case, the High Court accepted EQC’s evidence that there was no earthquake damage that EQC had not already settled and that much of the damage claimed by the homeowners pre-existed the earthquakes.  

More info

Kelly case

In the Kelly case, the High Court has confirmed EQC’s position that the claim is under the EQC cap. In particular the earthquake damage to the floors can be repaired and the foundations do not need to be completely replaced. Further information in respect of the Kelly claims can be found together with copies of the judgments at the link below.

More info

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