Horse owners ordered to pay $50k after ‘haphazard’ trial
Plaintiff Dovedeen Pty Ltd, the company owned by Queensland thoroughbred owners Evan and Joan Hartley, will have to pay $7500 in fixed costs and nearly $43,000 in interest after having its claim against former Toowoomba horse trainers Ronald and Karen-Lee Maund dismissed.
District Court Judge Bernard Porter was scathing in his September judgment on the case, taking aim at both parties for failing to follow procedural guidelines as well as not tendering evidence properly.
Dovedeen's claim, lodged back in 2017, related to the Maunds' alleged breach of contract for the $4000-a-month care and servicing of six brood mares the Hartleys had bought in 2012.
Judge Porter dismissed the $138,000 claim and said a judgment should be considered for the Maunds' counterclaim of $132,000.
While he dismissed most of the amount in the counterclaim, Judge Porter fixed the legal costs for the Maunds, who were self-represented, at $7500.
He also calculated the interest to be paid based on 75 per cent of the lost revenue from the contract during the prejudgement period, noting how the defendants did not assist by calculating the amount prior to their appearance.
"Ultimately, it seems to me that a just reflection of these considerations is to award the defendants interest for 75 per cent of the prejudgement period," Judge Porter said in his judgment.
"The defendants did not assist the court by calculating the interest payable.
"Adopting the commencement of proceedings as the start of the prejudgement interest period for simplicity, the court interest calculator generates interest of $57,169.
"Adopting the figure of 75 per cent, the amount of interest to be awarded is $42,877."
Judge Porter also had to remove a submission by Mr Maund from the file, since he found it was a copy of a witness' prior submission with handwritten notes that were sometimes "insulting".
Originally published as Horse owners ordered to pay $50k after 'haphazard' trial