Mining mogul Ken Talbot’s widow has failed in her bid to hold a separate trial of legal questions in a complex legal battle.
Mining mogul Ken Talbot’s widow has failed in her bid to hold a separate trial of legal questions in a complex legal battle.

Judge rejects Ken Talbot’s widow’s bid in $500m lawsuit

Mining mogul Ken Talbot's widow has failed in her bid to hold a separate trial of legal questions in a complex legal battle for the Queensland mining magnate's fortune which was once worth $1.1 billion.

In the Supreme Court in Brisbane yesterday, Justice Peter Applegarth dismissed Amanda Talbot's application to have a hearing to decide whether her former lawyers Arnold Bloch Liebler (ABL) could have "compelled" Ken's then-law firm Boyd Legal by subpoena in 2011 to let ABL look at emails and legal notes created by Boyd Legal between 2006 and 2009 and used to draft Mr Talbot's new will.

Mrs Talbot, from Bulimba in inner Brisbane, also alleges in her claim that had ABL seen the file for the new will, ABL could have advised her to oppose lawyer Bill Boyd's appointment as trustee of Mr Talbot's estate in 2012 and she could have sued Mr Boyd for negligence earlier.

Macarthur Coal's Ken Talbot and wife Amanda.
Macarthur Coal's Ken Talbot and wife Amanda.

Mrs Talbot's lawyers allege that Mr Boyd, of Brisbane firm Boyd Legal, was negligent in preparing Ken Talbot's 2002 will and updating his new will, and that a document on Mr Boyd's file is "not genuine".

Although Mr Talbot considered changing his 2002 will, giving some instructions to Mr Boyd and receiving some legal advice, "it appears that he did not give final instructions about his testamentary intentions", Justice Applegarth noted in his decision.

So no new will was executed before Mr Talbot died in a plane crash in the Congo on June 19, 2010, so his 2002 will was the only current will.

Mrs Talbot claims Mr Boyd has also been incompetent as administrator by failing to swiftly sell Talbot's Mozambique coal assets worth about $500m.

Justice Applegarth dismissed Mrs Talbot's application saying in his reasons that the separate determination of the proposed questions would not save time and money in the case.

He also noted that another reason to reject the bid for a separate trial was that it was "highly unsatisfactory" that Mr Boyd should have to "give contentious evidence at two separate trials, particularly about related and overlapping subjects".

In her claim Mrs Talbot claims her dreams of running a private jet charter business from Brisbane Airport have been dashed by Mr Boyd' negligence and that she has been deprived of a $12 million villa in Italy's Lake Como, a $3.1 million Shanghai apartment and an $8.5 million prime riverfront home in Brisbane's Bulimba.

Mr Boyd and his firm Boyd Legal deny they were negligent, and ABL also denies it was negligent.

Amanda and Ken Talbot's daughters Claudia Elizabeth, 18, and Alexandra Cecile Talbot, 21, from Taringa, have also sued Mr Boyd for damages for breaching his duty of care, causing them to lose millions due to his alleged delays, in separate legal cases.

Originally published as Judge rejects Ken Talbot's widow's bid in $500m lawsuit



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