Barrow v McLernon & Anor [2012] VSC 134 (12 April 2012):Discovery, use of discovered documents in subsequent proceedings, use discovered documents to amend pleadings, ss 26 and 27 of Civil Procedure Act 2010 & s35 Defamation Act 2005

April 12, 2012

Today Justice Beach, in Barrow v McLernon & Anor [2012] VSC 134 handed down a very interesting and useful decision regarding discovery and the operation of section 27 of the Civil Procedure Act. It is an appeal from a decision of an Associate Justice.

FACTS

The Plaintiff is suing Hugh McLernon and IMF (Australia) Limited for defamation arising out of the publication on 30 May 2011 of an email and two pdf attachments [1]. The Plaintiff wishes to use documents discovered in this proceeding in support of issuing other proceedings, also a cause of action in defamation [2].  Five documents discovered constitute Read the rest of this entry »

Statutory demands & Sportsco Pty Ltd v Singh Group Pty Ltd (No 2) [2011] VSC 576 (15 November 2011) & BKW Investments Pty Ltd v Training Connect Limited [2011] FCA 1314

December 14, 2011

In recent decisions of Sportsco Pty Ltd v Singh Group Pty Ltd (No 2) [2011] VSC 576 (per Ferguson J) and BKW Investments Pty Ltd v Training Connect Limited [2011] FCA 1314 (per Cowdroy J) the courts considered applications to set aside statutory demands. In Sportsco the court, hearing an appeal from an Associate Justice, refused to set aside the application.  In BKW the court set aside the application.

Sportsco Pty Ltd v Singh Group Pty Ltd (No 2)

Facts

The underlying dispute related to the purchase of a franchise business.  Singh, the purchaser, submitted that the statutory demand on Sportsco for $70,500 was a refundable deposit under the franchise agreement. Sportsco, the vendor, applied to set aside the demand claiming there was a genuine dispute concerning the debt and that it had an offsetting claim.  Singh alleged there was an agreement that the money was refundable if it was unable to obtain finance for the franchise business.  Singh did not obtain finance.  While Singh was provided with an  an offer to lease premises from which the franchise would operate it was never executed by Singh.  Sportsco claimed there was a dispute as to what constituted the agreement and whether the agreement was subject to finance. It also claimed Singh was liable to pay a franchise royalty fee of five years as a consequence of the breach and was liable for damages of approximately $300,000.

Decision

Ferguson J referred to TR administration proprietor Ltd V Frank marketing and Sales Brochure Ltd as support forthe proposition that Read the rest of this entry »

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE Costs sought by defendants against plaintiff’s solicitors, indemnity costs; Cohen v State of Victoria & Ors (No 3) [2011] VSC 229 (2 June 2011)

June 7, 2011

In Cohen v State of Victoria Nos 3 (“Cohen”) Forrest J ordered indemnity costs against solicitor for the plaintiff, Oldham Naidoo, arising out of the application by the defendants in Cohen v State of Victoria No 2 which resulted in the proceedng being struck out as an abuse of process (which I reviewed here).

Facts

The relevant conduct upon which the court exercised its discretion is set out at [5]:

(a) the issuing of the proceeding on 24 December 2008 in the name of Dr Cohen without obtaining his instructions or authorisation to do so;

(b) the maintenance of the claim (for nearly two years) in the name of Dr Cohen without any communication to him advising that he was the named representative plaintiff and therefore the subject of a number of obligations including that imposed by s 33ZD of the Supreme Court Act 1986 (Vic);

(c) the incurring of a number of costs orders against Dr Cohen – none of which were brought to his attention;

(d) the making of an allegation in the statement of claim central to Dr Cohen’s “claim” which, upon any reasonable investigation, was demonstrably false.

Decision

Principles

The key issues for consideration was whether there should be an award of costs against a legal practitioner acting without the authority of the client and, if so, whether to grant those costs on an indemnity rather than a party/party basis. In support of the former proposition Forrest J referred to the English  case of Fricker v Van  Glutten where his honour Read the rest of this entry »