Sarah has 27 years experience acting for insurers and their insureds defending professional indemnity and general liability claims.
She commenced her career in 1996 with Heaney & Co, the predecessor firm to Heaney & Partners. In 2013 she became a partner of the firm.
She has significant experience as a successful trial lawyer and in representing clients in mediations and judicial settlement conferences, achieving very favourable outcomes.
Sarah regularly appears in the Weathertight Homes Tribunal, District Court, High Court and Court of Appeal.
Sarah has represented a range of professional clients including mayors, councils, architects, farmers, sonographers, psychiatrists, marinas, engineers, insurers, planners and real estate agents. The subject of the claims she has managed in her career have primarily involved negligence allegations in circumstances involving flooding, planning, fire, contamination, building, advice, misrepresentation, sale of land, and street vending.
She also has experience in successfully representing clients who have had defamation claims brought against them.
Sarah is a member of the Auckland Women Lawyers Association, New Zealand Insurance Law Association and the Auckland Medico Legal Society.
Councils are often sued for defects in building work in circumstances where they have received and relied upon the expertise of other professionals when assessing whether they have reasonable grounds to conclude that building work will, or does, comply with the building consent and the building code.
In dealing with many claims against councils around the country, we wonder if there is a perception, possibly fuelled by the leaky building litigation over the past two decades, that councils are bound to be liable if a building is built with defects. An article by Sarah.
The decision of Body Corporate 378351 & Ors v Auckland Council & Ors  NZHC 1701 considered whether or not claims for fire and structural defects discovered more than 10 years after the code compliance certificate was issued were time-barred.
The appeal from the Court of Appeal was allowed in part. The council succeeded in establishing that the Southland Indoor Leisure Centre Charitable Trust had contributed to its own loss and damages were reduced by 50%.