Tighe Newton Trucking wins costs case
Tighe Newton Trucking won $8,000 in a Federal Circuit Court case in April after a subcontracting arrangement for Crown forklifts went sour last year.
Subcontractor NT Hauliers and its managing director, Bruce Meiklejohn, did not appear and had no representation during the hearing, in which Tighe Newton alleged unconscionable conduct.
Without contrary evidence, the breakdown in the relationship appears to have begun when Tighe mistakenly assumed two of three invoices for the same amount were duplicates and an invoice was paid late.
Tighe had assumed that it had a credit account with NT Hauliers, which advised that, as Tighe had not agreed to NT Hauliers’ credit terms and conditions, it was on 14-day terms.
More consignments were transacted but a disconnect between the firms that saw shifting NT Hauliers assertions as to what payment schemes and penalties were now in play saw three forklifts “warehoused due to an account problem”.
By this stage, communication was conducted by email only at NT Hauliers’ behest.
Tighe made certain payments but these were “not accepted” until payment of nearly $17,000 in interest was made.
Tighe’s lawyers then sent letters demanding the forklifts be delivered with the threat of legal action to follow if they were not moved, including a draft application to the court to start proceedings before a different judge.
Though this was initially rejected, the forklifts were eventually released.
In awarding costs, Judge Rolf Driver noted that court proceedings were unavoidable, given interest demands had been made and the forklifts were being held, which Driver described as “wholly unreasonable, vengeful and reckless”.
NT Hauliers’ lack of engagement in the case did not bar the awarding of costs, Driver found.