Claims in relation to faulty cladding products have created millions of dollars of legal trouble for building products company James Hardie.

A host of disgruntled building owners have joined forces to file a multi-million dollar class action lawsuit against James Hardie over leak-releated damage caused by faulty cladding products.

Over 1,400 building owners whose properties suffered from leak damage have signed up for the $100 million “Plaster Cladding Class Action,” which was launched by Auckland-based lawyer Adina Thorn earlier this year in march.

Thorn issued a call for the owners of homes or buildings suffering from leakages due to defective cladding products to investigate whether or not they qualified for compensation.

According to Thorn many inquiries pertaining to James Hardie’s polystyrene cladding products – including Harditex, Monotek and Titan cladding.

Due to the prominence of these defective products amongst leakage complaints, Thorn decided to shift the focus of the Class Action to James Hardie and its defective plaster cladding products.

While the majority of participants in the class action are based in New Zealand, many are in Australia while some are from as far away as the UK, with no restriction made as to the age of the building for those intending to apply for compensation.

One of Europe’s largest financial backers of litigation cases – Harbour Litigation Funding Limited, has given it support to the claims by Adina Thorn Lawyers.

According to thorn this means that participants in the action will not need to pay any out-of-pocket costs if unsuccessful, while fees are expected to lie between 30 to 40 per cent of any payout awarded by the courts.

Thorn is not alone in filing a lawsuit against James Hardie over product defects. Another New Zealand law firm, Parker & Associates, has also filed a case with the country’s High Court against James Hardie in relation to faulty cladding systems.

The Parker & Associates cladding action suit is more specific, claiming that James Hardie acted negligently during the design, manufacture and supply of the Harditext cladding system. Participation in the lawsuit is also subject to a 15 year limitation period on acceptable buildings.