In September 2010 after a heavy snow storm, the roof of the Stadium Southland collapsed. The Trust, which operated the Stadium, sued the Invercargill City Council alleging the collapse to be the fault of the Council.
On 20 August 2015, Justice Dunningham found the Council liable for the cost of the repairs. The Council appealed to the Court of Appeal and was represented by David Heaney QC and Kate Dillon.
On 21 March 2017, the Court of Appeal delivered its decision. The three judges unanimously upheld the Council’s appeal and the Court determined that the Council had not caused the failure. The Court was critical of the Trust which, prior to collapse, had concerns about the performance of the roof. The Trust obtained advice from an Auckland engineer who made a number of recommendations which were not actioned by the Trust. The Court said: “The Trust ought to have had an engineer inspect the trusses and the welds as Mr Harris recommended. The Trust was squarely on notice of his recommendations which were directed to safety concerns and it knew as the Council seemingly did not, that the roof’s performance might evidence a structural problem.”
The Trust has been ordered to repay $15,998,225.66 plus costs to the Council.