Abbot Point.
Abbot Point. Peter Holt

Construction giant loses coal terminal stoush

ADANI has won the latest round of its ongoing multi-million dollar legal battle with construction giant John Holland.

The two companies remain at loggerheads over contracts issued in 2009 for the upgrading of the wharf and ship loading facilities at the Abbot Point Coal Terminal.

In documents previously filed to the court, John Holland sought $28.5 million in damages against Adani amid claims the company did not extend completion dates to account for weather and other difficulties experienced by the company at the time.

Adani lodged a $6 million counter claim, plus yet to be determined damages, for contract breaches and allegations about the quality of John Holland's work performance.

The long-running dispute is currently being dealt with through a series of hearings and arbitration awards in Queensland's courts.

In 2014, John Holland, which alleges the port's superintendent did not value and certify the company's work correctly, appealed one of the awards agreed upon by the two parties. It claimed the Ports Corporation of Queensland Ltd (now Adani) had breached its obligation to "ensure that the superintendent acted honestly and fairly" by interfering with his role.

The claim was rejected by the arbitrator following a 16-day hearing in February this year.

John Holland appealed the arbitrator's decision in Brisbane Supreme Court, filing more than 2000 documents to support allegations that the arbitrator had "misconstrued the express term" of the award and failed to apply legal principles to the facts.

In handing down his judgment on Monday, Justice David Jackson said the "snow storm" of documents filed by John Holland were tantamount to an abuse of process.

"The plethora of points taken by the applicant on this application makes it exceedingly difficult to meaningfully analyse the likelihood of the applicant's success in being able to terminate the contracts if the applicant were given leave to appeal and were successful on appeal," Justice Jackson said

"...It is not possible to assess in any practical way the likelihood that the applicant would or would not be able to make out a breach of contract justifying termination."

The appeal was dismissed. A hearing to determine costs will be held at a later date.