Ratbag Lebbo Labor politician Eddie Obeid and his sons have been slammed with multi-million dollar legal indemnity costs.
A Supreme Court judge has blasted former NSW Labor MP Eddie Obeid and his sons for bringing an “unreasonable” and “irresponsible” lawsuit against the corruption watchdog and ordered the family to pay a multimillion-dollar legal bill.
In a scathing judgment delivered on Monday, Justice David Hammerschlag said there was “every reason why” Obeid and his sons Moses, Paul and Eddie jnr should pay the costs of every person sued in the case.
This included former Independent Commission Against Corruption chief David Ipp, QC, against whom the Obeids had made baseless allegations of misconduct that Justice Hammerschlag described as “of the gravest kind”.
Legal sources said the bill would easily exceed $2 million, on top of the Obeids’ own costs.
Obeid and his sons had sued the ICAC and others for damages over a corruption inquiry that exposed a $30 million coal deal and led to criminal charges against Obeid snr and middle son Moses.
They claimed they were targeted unfairly by the watchdog.
The Obeids were represented by a small army of lawyers, including former ICAC target Nick Di Girolamo and Sydney silk Robert Newlinds, SC.
In September last year, Justice Hammerschlag dismissed the case and said parts of it bordered on the “eccentric”.
Obeid snr, 73, is serving a maximum five-year jail sentence over his secret business dealings at Circular Quay.
Mr Ipp asked the court to award indemnity costs, which are higher than the costs typically awarded in litigation and would cover his entire legal bill.
In most cases, a successful party in a court case will receive ordinary costs covering about 80 to 90 per cent of their legal fees.
Justice Hammerschlag said indemnity costs were awarded in rare cases where there had been “unreasonable, inappropriate or otherwise unjustifiable behaviour of significance in connection with the conduct of proceedings”.
“The conduct of the plaintiffs in this case satisfies all three of those descriptions,” Justice Hammerschlag said.
He awarded indemnity costs to Mr Ipp and ordered the Obeids to pay ordinary costs for every other party in the case, including ICAC counsel assisting Geoffrey Watson, SC, the corruption watchdog and two ICAC officers.
Good to see the courts taking a dim view of vexatious, unreasonable and irresponsible litigants. If only our courts would take a similar dim view over such litigants.