Steinhoff application to consolidate claims opposed
All 32 claimants in 12 separate claims against Steinhoff in SA are opposing a bid by the company to consolidate the trials, Die Burger reports. Nicholas James Lewis, Steinhoff's company secretary, says in the company’s reply, which comprises more than 1 000 pages, that a consolidation of the cases would speed up the litigation and will be in the interest of the court and all parties. Lewis says it is ‘impractical’ to appoint 12 different judges and have the same witnesses testify in all the different cases. ‘All the claims require oral evidence.’ The claimants, on the other hand, say the consolidation bid seems to be a delaying tactic from Steinhoff and it is undesirable to consolidate the claims as they are all at different phases of litigation. Lewis argues that with judicial management of the cases, a consolidated trial will expedite and not delay the matter. The pleadings have closed in all the cases except the claim from Lancaster, but there has been no discovery or pre-trial dates set. The application to consolidate all claims will be heard in the Western Cape High Court in February.