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The disputed claim on the Jay Weatherill page
One of Jay Weatherill's legal clients in late 1995 was Mr Kazimir Kowalski - about a workers compensation claim. Mr Kowalski has been complaining to Weatherill since February 1996 about taking $2,000 from Mr Kowalski's trust account without any legal right.
By Information and Summons in the Magistrates Court in September 2011, Mr Kowalski (Weatherill's client in 1995) alleged that on 15 November 1995 he was wrongly billed $3,120 by Lieschke & Weatherill and on 16 November 1995 $2,000 of funds held by that firm in its trust account on his behalf were wrongfully appropriated by Mr Weatherill towards payment of that bill.
The disputed claim on the Vexatious litigant page
Mr Kazimir Kowalski was declared to be a vexatious litigant against Mitsubishi Motors Australia Ltd by Bleby J of the Supreme Court of South Australia on 19 April 2005. On 22 November 2005 that decision that Bleby J decision was unanimously upheld on appeal to the Full Bench of the Supreme Court. Those 2005 orders didn't apply to State court litigation against parties that were not related to Mitsubishi Motors Australia Ltd, or the Federal Court. Mr Kowalski continued to litigate in the Federal Court without restraint until 2010 when Mitsubishi Motors Australia Ltd and the Registrar of the Federal Court of Australia applied for orders stopping him again. He was declared to be a vexatious litigant by Stone J of the Federal Court of Australia on 7 April 2011. On 8 December 2011 the Full Bench of the Federal Court unanimously refused to allow Mr Kowalski to appeal the decision of Stone J.
During 2010 Mr Kowalski also started lodging complaints against legal practitioners in the Legal Practitioners Conduct Board. This number of complaints against legal practitioners grew to more than 30 and included Robyn Layton QC, Frances Nelson QC, Ralph Bönig, Terry Forrest, Tim Bourne, Russell John Cole, Andrew Sim and Jay Weatherill. During 2011 the complaints against legal practitioners escalated to private Criminal prosecutions against Tim Bourne, Russell Cole and Others and then an attempt at Jay Weatherill. On 7 October 2011 Dr A.J. Cannon DCM ordered that the Criminal information proposed to be laid by Mr Kowalski against Jay Weatherill not be accepted at any South Australian registry.
Note: A legal practitioner cannot bring an action to recover legal costs unless a bill has been delivered. Within six months of the delivery of a bill a person may request a detailed itemisation of the bill. The Supreme Court may be asked to tax and settle that bill of costs. Monies can be applied from a trust account to meet a bill once it is rendered.
- Oct 1995 Simon Blewett (as Union in-house lawyer for AMWU) advised Kowalski that the Full Supreme Court appeal (on 14 Nov 1995) was too complex for him and recommended Jay Weatherill at Lieschke & Weatherill.
- 30 Oct 1995 Weatherill and Kowalski telephone attendance
- 31 Oct 1995 Weatherill and Blewett telephone attendance
- 2 Nov 1995 Kowalski paid $2,000 into Lieschke & Weatherill trust account
- 8 Nov 1995 Weatherill 1 hour meeting with Kowalski
- 14 Nov 1995 Weatherill represented Kowalski in Full Court trial for 2 hours
- 15 Nov 1995 Weatherill represented Kowalski in Full Court trial for 20 minutes
- 15 Nov 1995 Weatherill wrote a letter and invoice to Kowalski for $3,120 and indicated that he was going to appropriate $2,000 from the trust account, leaving $1,120 owing.
- 16 Nov 1995 Weatherill appropriated $2,000 of Kowalski's trust account money but never told Kowalski until 5 March 1996.
- 17 Nov 1995 Kowalski received by mail the 15 November 1995 letter and invoice from Weatherill and marked it up with the billed items he disputed.
- 17 Nov 1995 Kowalski contacted the Lieschke & Weatherill office and informed them that he was not prepared to accept the $2,000 being used as payment of the account and would consider it further after the Supreme Court decision was handed down.
- 17 Nov 1995 Kowalski went into the Central Market for groceries and served a copy of the disputed marked up bill on Lieschke & Weatherill
- 14 Feb 1996 Kowalski ceased to instruct Weatherill and requested a Bill in Taxable Form
- 5 Mar 1996 Lieschke & Weatherill sent Kowalski a memorandum of fees based on Supreme Court scale for an extra $416.16. This second invoice confirmed that Weatherill had ignored the 17 Nov 1995 verbal and written dispute and 14 Feb 1996 letter disputing the 15 Nov 1995 bill. It also confirmed Weatherill's clear intention to keep Kowalski's $2,000 and not entertain any discussion about a bill dispute.
- 7 Mar 1996 Kowalski wrote to Weatherill (HAVE NOT SEEN LETTER)
- 28 Mar 1996 Weatherill wrote the "first and only" trust account statement showing that he took $2,000 from the trust account on 16 Nov 1995
- 4 Apr 1996 Kowalski wrote to Weatherill and Weatheril failed to reply (HAVE NOT SEEN LETTER)
- 10 Apr 1996 Weatherill wrote to Kowalski about his 4 Apr 1996 letter (HAVE NOT SEEN LETTER)
- 11 Apr 1996 Kowalski wrote to Weatherill highlighting that he disputed the costs within the 6 months, did not admit owing the $2,000 in legal costs and highlighted that Weatherill was in breach of section 31 of the Legal Practitioners Act 1981 by transferring the $2,000 without authority. Kowalski gave Weatherill 7 days to return the $2,000 to his trust account or he intended to seek the assistance of the appropriate authorities.
- 18 Apr 1996 Kowalski alleges that Weatherill engaged in conduct that exploited his position of advantage over Kowalski. Kowalski alleges that Weatherill said "there is no point in further communication with you"(HAVE NOT SEEN LETTER)
- 19 Apr 1996 Kowalski filed a complaint against Weatherill in the Legal Practitioners Complaints Committee
- 5 May 1996 Kowalski wrote to Weatherill offering to settle the matter
- 7 May 1996 Kowalski alleges that Weatherill wrote a threatening letter to Kowalski
- 8 May 1996 Kowalski wrote to Weatherill reminding Weatherill that the LPCC views practitioners threatening ex-clients very seriously.
- 23 May 1996 Kowalski wrote to Weatherill (HAVE NOT SEEN LETTER)
- 13 Aug 1996 The LPCB made a finding of no unprofessional conduct on the part of Weatherill and a further finding that there had been no overcharging.
- 15 Aug 1996 Kowalski wrote to the Hamish Gilmore, the Lay Observer (Commissioner for consumer affairs) to review the LPCB decision
- 9 Sep 1996 Kowalski wrote to Weatherill requesting AGAIN the bill of costs so that he can have the bill taxed in the Supreme Court
- 12 Sep 1996 Gilmore wrote to Kowalski laying out his options.
- 27 Sep 1996 The Lay observer J Forbes wrote to Kowalski and backed up the LPCB decision.
- 12 Oct 1996 Kowalski wrote to Forbes pointing out to him that Master Kelly said Weatherill must comply with section 41 of the Act and serve a bill in taxable form.
- Jan 2002 Steven Dolphin joined Lieschke & Weatherill.
- Feb 2002 Weatherill became an elected Labor MP.
- 12 Jun 2007 Weatherill claimed to Stephen Dolphin of Lieschke & Weatherill that his legal costs had been taxed by the LPCT.
- Jun to Jul 2007 Kowalski wrote to Lieschke & Weatherill and Dolphin about the 1995/1996 events.
- 5 Jul 2007 Dolphin made certain enquiries and spoke with Weatherill and replied to Kowalski's letters as follows:
- We confirm receipt of your facsimile correspondences’ to us of 15, 15 (sic), 25 June and 4 July 2007.
- We reject your assertions in relation to any impropriety entirely. All trust monies were lawfully dealt with by us at the relevant time.
- Any action brought by you will be strenuously denied.
- 25 Apr 2010 Kowalski wrote to LPCB asking if they taxed Weatherill's bill of costs.
- 29 Apr 2010 The LPCB wrote to Kowalski stating they did not tax the bill of costs and there is no allocator. This LPCB letter also extraordinarily admits that the file contained secret correspondence to and from the Attorney-General Department that the LPCB wants kept secret
- 17 May 2010 Kowalski started a Federal Magistrates Court action against Steven Dolphin and Lieschke & Weatherill about the $2,000 taken from his trust account.
- 10 Jun 2010 LPDT decision ??(HAVE NOT SEEN THIS)
- 6 Nov 2010 Attorney-General article in The Advertiser about Kowalski - Government targets serial litigants clogging up the courts
- 17 Dec 2010 The Kowalski v Dolphin & Lieschke & Weatherill trial started.
- 13 Jan 2011 Kowalski v Dolphin & Anor [2011 FMCA 15 (13 January 2011)]
- 11 Apr 2011 Attorney-General started Vexatious Litigant application against Kowalski. (for some unknown reason it was "Fee Exempt")
- 20 May 2011 Kowalski v Dolphin [2011 FCA 502 (20 May 2011)]
- ? May 2011 Case Note: 'The Vexatious Litigant' - Soden v Kowalski; Mitsubishi Motors Australia Ltd and Others v Kowalski
- 14 Jul 2011 Kowalski v Dolphin (No 2) [2011 FCA 779 (14 July 2011)]
- 7 Aug 2011 Kowalski emailed the Attorney-General about laying charges against Weatherill in the LPDT
- 12 Aug 2011 Kowalski wrote to His Excellency the Governor about allegations against Weatherill
- 15 Aug 2011 Kowalski wrote to His Excellency the Governor about allegations against Weatherill
- 16 Aug 2011 The Attorney General wrote to Kowalski saying that his request was wholly inadequate or duplicative of earlier proceedings or both.
- 26 Aug 2011 Kowalski wrote to His Excellency the Governor about allegations against Weatherill
- 26 Aug 2011 The Governor caused to be written a letter to Kowalski saying he is obliged to follow the advice of the Government in the absence of any finding of illegality in relation to Weatherill by an authorised body or court.
- 30 Aug 2011 Kowalski started the criminal charges against Tim Bourne in the AMC.
- 30 Aug 2011 Kowalski wrote to His Excellency the Governor about allegations against Weatherill
- 5 Sep 2011 Mericka v WorkCover [2011 SAWCT 25 (5 September 2011)]
- 6 Sep 2011 Mericka article in InDaily Lone crusader defeats WorkCover on compo and Five year journey for Alex Mericka
- 7 Sep 2011 Kowalski started the criminal charges against Weatherill in the AMC
- 9 Sep 2011 Mericka article in AdelaideNow Legal advice provided by Jay Weatherill law firm 'inadequate'
- 13 Sep 2011 Kowalski wrote to His Excellency the Governor about allegations against Weatherill
- 19 Sep 2011 Kowalski wrote to His Excellency the Governor about allegations against Weatherill
- 21 Sep 2011 Kowalski started the criminal charges against Russell Cole, Andrew Sim and RJ Cole and Partners in the AMC
- 25 Sep 2011 Kowalski wrote to His Excellency the Governor about allegations against Weatherill
- 27 Sep 2011 Kowalski filed the criminal charges against Weatherill in the AMC
- 29 Sep 2011 The Governor caused to be written a letter to Kowalski saying in the absence of any finding of unlawfulness, Kowalski's allegations are not relevant to his constitutional functions. and finished UNTIL THESE ALLEGATIONS HAVE BEEN DETERMINED BY A COURT OF LAW, His Excellency will not continue discussions on the matter.
- 7 Oct 2011 Kowalski appeared in the Criminal Magistrates court before Dr A.J.Cannon (no appearance for Weatherill). No looking at evidence, no submissions, but Dr Cannon dismissed the summons and refused to allow the information about Weatherill to be filed.
- 28 Oct 2011 Mericka v WorkCover (No 2) [2011 SAWCT 35 (28 October 2011)]
- 4 May 2012 Mericka on Today Tonight WorkCover Alex Mericka
- 7 May 2012 Mericka on Today Tonight Alex Mericka WorkCover Update
- 9 Oct 2012 The Law Society published a "fact sheet" about "appropriating trust money for payment of fees", that says BEFORE you can appropriate money towards satisfaction of a claim for legal costs, you must ensure the bill, specifying the total amount of these costs and describing the legal work to which the costs relate, has been DELIVERED to the person liable. The Law society recommends "3 business days" be allowed to pass AFTER POSTING THE BILL BEFORE APPROPRIATION OF TRUST MONEY TOWARDS THAT BILL TAKES PLACE (unless the client objects to the bill in which case the money should remain in trust as the objection by the client constitutes a withdrawal of the client's consent to appropriate the money in trust for fees).
- 10 Oct 2012 WorkCover v Mericka [2012 SAWCT 42 (10 October 2012)]
- 29 Oct 2012 Ralph Bonig resigns from the SA Law Society.
- 6 Mar 2013 Hansard page 3302 Ann Bressington saying Mericka failed to serve Premier Weatherill because Mr Blewett would not allow it to occur
- 24 May 2013 Mericka in The Australian Tribunal accepts case against Jay Weatherill
- 24 May 2013 Mericka in Herald Sun SA Premier Jay Weatherill accused of unprofessional conduct as lawyer
- 25 May 2013 Mericka in The Australian 'Conflict of interest' in Weatherill case
- Attorney-General of SA v Kowalski (NO 6)  SASC 198
- MITSUBISHI MOTORS AUSTRALIA LTD v KOWALSKI  SASC 154
- KOWALSKI v MITSUBISHI MOTORS AUSTRALIA LTD  SASC 433
- Workplace Express: Vexatious litigant ruling stands
- Federal Court of Australia Annual Report 2010-2011
- Soden v Kowalski  FCA 31
- Kowalski v Mitsubishi Motors Australia Ltd  FCAFC 159
- Kowalski v Bourne  SASC 6
- Kowalski v Cole & Ors  SASC 20
- Attorney-General of SA v Kowalski (NO 1)  SASC 231
- Attorney-General of SA v Kowalski (NO 2)  SASC 99
- Attorney-General of SA v Kowalski (NO 3) SASC 100
- Attorney-General of SA v Kowalski (NO 4) SASC 101
- Attorney-General of SA v Kowalski (NO 5)  SASC 169
- Attorney-General of SA v Kowalski (NO 6)  SASC 198