ODT on ERA hearing of claim and counter-claim | Lund South release

Updated post 6.10.14 at 7:55 p.m.

The long-running employment dispute between the owner of Dunedin construction company Lund South and its former Dunedin manager David Low returns to court in February 2015.

Last week the local newspaper offered stray comment which attracted a strong press response from Lund South. There is further news coverage today.

The full press release features below.

How it began:

### ODT Online Wed, 24 Sep 2014
Former Lund manager wins in court
By Simon Hartley
The former Dunedin manager of construction company Lund South has won the latest in a string of long-running court battles over non-payment of bonuses; covering two years of his almost nine-year employment with the company. […] At stake was understood to be around $500,000 in bonuses and legal costs of at least tens of thousands of dollars.
Read more

The news item is notable for a lack of balance.

█ Lawyers advise this is the extent of comments that can be made:

Lund South logoLund South - Press release 25.9.14

[ends]

What appears today:

ODT Online Mon, 29 Sep 2014
Bonus dispute set to continue
By Simon Hartley
[…] In response to an ODT article last week about an Employment Court finding this month, [Russell] Lund said in a statement that despite earlier court findings the “substantive issues” of the case were yet to be heard in court. A substantive hearing would be held in February, when the Employment Relations Authority would consider Mr Low’s claim and Lund South’s “substantial counterclaim” against him, he said.
Read more

It is extraordinary, in the context, Mr Low concedes at hearing that ‘during the disputed period he was not functioning at his full potential’ and confirms he has been ‘a disloyal employee to Lund South and commented negatively about the business to others inside and outside the business’.

Also at hearing, Mr Low says Mr Lund is ‘entitled to draw unfavourable comparisons’ between his performance and that of Lund South’s then Queenstown manager.

Other employees at Lund South may care to comment.

We can only wonder…..
It’s interesting that the judge has sealed evidence from the hearing. Assume from this the likelihood of forthright revelations and exposure of Mr Low’s situation in court next year. To that encounter ODT may deign to send an experienced court reporter able to grasp finer points.

David Low’s own advisers have commented that the majority of Mr Low’s claim is destined to fail and have urged mediation and compromise.

Lund South Ltd v Low [2014] NZEmpC 173 [Judgment of Judge B A Corkill, 18 September 2014] (PDF, 152KB)

CONTRACT – Defendant informed of proposed changes to role in September 2008 – Proposed changes purportedly included cessation of defendant’s bonus entitlements – Changes not properly formalised in individual employment agreement until September 2010 – Defendant resigned with effect from June 2012 – Preliminary question as to whether defendant’s bonus entitlement ceased from October 2008 or continued until September 2010 – No agreement that defendant had agreed to stand down from role in late 2008 – Bonus continued until September 2010 when defendant was formally offered new position.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

8 Comments

Filed under Business, Construction, Media, Name, New Zealand, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site

8 responses to “ODT on ERA hearing of claim and counter-claim | Lund South release

  1. Cars

    Elizabeth, I’m struggling to get a connect between the interests of What if? bloggers and a dispute between a construction company and an employee!
    Clearly the dispute suggests a history of wrongdoing and possibly below par performance by an employee and a failure of a company to pay a possible bonus?

    • Elizabeth

      If this helps Cars, I enquired into matters as reported in ODT last week that potentially locate the court challenge at or near the upper end of employment matters reported by media in New Zealand, and which involve a Dunedin-based company.

      The name of this blog isn’t What if? Dunedin (question mark) for nothing. As you know subjects here range very far and wide – as the Google search for us states in relation to “Dunedin’s social and built environment”.* A loose descriptor allowing for much resting on the minds of the Site Owner, Admins, stand-in Moderators, and valued Contributors since March 2007.

      On topic.

      The company through its lawyers supplied me with the press release sent to ODT last week. Which I believe gives greater context to Simon Hartley’s first article. And just maybe, the second.

      *Google search for @whatifdunedin on Twitter reads: A blog about what’s going down at the City of Dunedin NZ.

      From the time of my ownership of this website, Admins and stand-in Moderators comment under the name ‘Elizabeth’ and ‘Eds’ for site administration purposes.

  2. Elizabeth

    Reiteration in the public interest…

    Local construction company heading to court http://www.dunedintv.co.nz/content/local-construction-company-heading-court [article]

  3. Robert

    Russell Lund does not have a positive reputation with sub contractors around the town

  4. Elizabeth

    On further consideration, unless I’m terribly mistaken, I will read into each of Mr Hartley’s news stories that he knows, or has friendly acquaintance with the former construction manager – or they share mutual contacts. For the smearing of the construction company owner – that is precisely what I mean when I say Lack of Balance in the above post. Should there be any doubt.

  5. Elizabeth

    Against Mr Low’s claim, Russell Lund (Lund South) had a substantial counterclaim.

    “I felt it was worthwhile to attempt one last mediation without the lawyers present, before a lengthy hearing process. It certainly proved to be the case.” –Russell Lund

    ### ODT Online Fri, 19 Dec 2014
    Mediation settles employment case
    By Simon Hartley
    A long-running employment dispute in Dunedin has been settled out of court, following mediation. Employer Russell Lund, of construction company Lund South, and the company’s former manager of construction, David Low, have ended two years of court battles, after mediation.
    Read more

  6. Elizabeth

    Judgments of the Employment Court 2014
    December

    [2014] NZEmpC 226 Lund South Ltd v Low costs (PDF, 99 KB)

    Costs Judgment of Judge B A Corkill, 11 December 2014.

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