Michael O’Leary’s Belgian waffle, UPM and the ‘aw c’mon’ legal test

Footnotes: We read between the lines so you don’t have to

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary  in Brussels. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary in Brussels. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

 

Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary spoke last week at the Airlines 4 Europe (A4E) aviation summit in Brussels.

We all know he has a penchant for expressing himself in a facetious fashion – so much so that his linguistic antics are a bit of a bore at this stage, at least for an Irish audience.

The Belgians, however, are still believers in his schtick.

Here is an excerpt from O’Leary’s official bio in the conference handbook, which was helpfully passed on to us by an attendee: “Mr Michael O’Leary has served as Ryanair CEO since 1993. Born in a stable at Christmas 1961, he was a boy genius who excelled academcially and in the sports field . . .”

It says he “represented Ireland at bog snorkelling and flower arranging” before conquering Ryanair and the aviation industry with his “rugged good looks, supreme intellect and profound humility”.

The bio says he “bears a remarkable resemblance to George Clooney’s younger brother”, although that should probably read “older brother” as O’Leary is actually six weeks the senior.

“It is widely known that women find him (sadly) resistible and even his four chidren think he’s stupid.”

UPM, the US defendant in Digicel Haiti’s lawsuit alleging UPM frauduntly used the network of the Denis O’Brien-owned telco, is still trying to get the case thrown out of court.

Its latest attempt includes the application of a very curious legal principle, which it calls the “aw c’mon test”.

UPM says that when a defendant says it should not be held liable for concealment (the allegation Digicel makes), the proper legal test is to say “aw c’mon, all you had to do was [something simple]” and the effect of the concealment would be negated.

For example, aw c’mon . . . you only had to tell me the car you sold me was on hire purchase, and I would never have bought it from you.

UPM says its defence to Digicel’s case passes the “aw c’mon” test, because there was no technical way for it to tell Digicel it was using its network when a call came in.

“Aw c’mon, what, exactly?” UPM’s lawyers argued an affidavit.

Speaking of lawyers, the Law Society of Ireland has advertised for a “representation and member services manager” on the website of the Public Relations Institute.

One of the tasks of the role, the society very confidently asserts, is to “ensure a steady drumbeat of positive PR coverage”.

This is the legal profession we’re talking about. Do they want a representation manager, or a magician?

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