Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Toppi says Khatanga, Cobbity says Katanga – let's argue over costs

Jonathon Idas
Forbes Dowling's
Erica Bosloper
Photo: Jonathon Idas
Paola Cunningham-Toppi – of the Machiavelli Restaurant Toppis – looks to have wrapped up her lengthy dispute with Cobbity Lodge Stud & Stable over outstanding agistment fees.

The default judgement Cobbity won against Ms Toppi in the Local Court in 2010 for more than $23,762.56 has been set aside. So has the March 22, 2011 bankruptcy notice Cobbity obtained and which Ms Toppi successfully opposed.

Some of the motivation for Cobbity’s seeming change of heart might stem from the difficulty it has had in identifying whether it was the horse Ms Toppi owned that has occupied its ritzy stables without paying its way. 

The confusion stems from the residence at Cobbity of a gelding called Khatanga and a colt called Katanga. In its recovery actions Cobbity claimed Ms Toppi was Katanga’s owner. 

In an affidavit Ms Toppi said the gelding was her horse and that in any event she had asked Eric Leemer, the man who bred Khatanga, to sell her interest in the horse in 2008 or 2009 because she could no longer afford it. 

Katanga, Ms Toppi advised, was owned by a Mr B. Russell. Further spoiling the evidentiary chaff was the reference in Local Court documents to Ms Toppi’s “mare” Katanga. 

With the case fragmenting under the hooves of confusion what could there be left to argue about other than costs, which was the burning issue when Cobbity, represented by Forbes Dowling’s Erica Bosloper and Beazley Singleton’s Philip J. Beazley, acting for Ms Toppi, faced off before Registrar Hedge in the Federal Magistrates court this week. 

Erica won the argument and $600, which Magistrate Hedge described as "not unreasonable in the circumstances".

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