Wrights Tanks Ltd v MJ Custom Engineering Ltd [2017] NZDC 27923

Published 09 October 2018

Application for contempt orders — contempt of court — breach of injunction — mandatory injunction — terms of the injunction — remedies — costs. The plaintiff sought to have the defendant declared in contempt of court for breaches of a mandatory injunctions; seeking remedies for the breaches. The court had imposed a mandatory injunction on the respondent, requiring it to take certain actions including removing concrete from a wastewater sump, which the defendant argued was an ambiguous requirement as no time frame had been imposed on it to action this requirement. The court found that the requirement was not ambiguous on a contextual reading of the injunction as it required the defendant to return the sump to it's "full use" which should have taken place as soon as practicable. This was seen as a "substantial and serious breach of the interim injunction". The applicant also complained about the defendant's failure to supply adequate air supply, interference with the water supply to reduce water pressure, and dumping steel mesh in a way that also interfered with the plaintiff's ability to manufacture it's products. The last of these complaints was upheld as a "transitory" but "disruptive" breach of the injunction. The court upheld two of the complaints laid by the applicant, and found that the most appropriate remedy to the breach was to order payment of a substantial portion of the plaintiff's costs on a solicitor/client basis for having to bring the application to enforce the injunction. Judgment Date: 11 December 2017.