MCD sues Prince for cancelling Croke Park gig

Tue, May 26, 2009, 01:00

POP SUPERSTAR Prince is being sued for €1.6 million at the Commercial Court by promoters MCD over cancelling his planned performance at Croke Park last year.

MCD productions initiated proceedings against Prince Rogers Nelson late last year, claiming financial loss and damage to its commercial reputation over his cancellation on June 6th last of the concert due to be played on June 16th, 2008.

MCD’s Denis Desmond said that while it was normal industry practice for concert promoters to get insurance against cancellation, no policy would insure against cancellation by reason of “a whim” of the artist.

Insurance was only available for cancellation due to certain specific and unforeseeable circumstances and MCD could not recoup its extensive financial losses by bringing an insurance claim, Mr Desmond said. MCD had had to refund some 55,126 tickets purchased and its total losses exceeded €1.66 million, he added.

After initiating its High Court action last year, MCD subsequently brought further applications arising from difficulties encountered by its solicitors in serving legal documents on Prince.

Yesterday, Rossa Fanning, for MCD, said his side had pursued the case as assiduously as they could and were now seeking to have it dealt with by the Commercial Court, which fast-tracks business disputes. His side could not be criticised about delays given the extreme difficulty it had encountered in trying to serve Prince, he added.

Counsel said an appearance on behalf of Prince had been entered on May 13th last by Gerald Kean, solicitor, and the defendant was objecting to the case being transferred to the Commercial Court.

Richard Kean SC, for Prince, said his side was contending the MCD claim was “greatly inflated”. The case was not urgent, neither side had any issues of financial solvency and the proceedings should not be transferred, he argued.

Mr Justice Kelly said he would transfer the case to the Commercial Court as it fell within the remit of the court and the delays to date were mainly due to the problems effecting service.

The judge made directions for the exchange of legal documents and adjourned the case for further directions to July 20th.

MCD claims that while there is no written contract, Prince, through his agent Tony Goldring of William Morris agency, Beverly Hills, had entered into a contract with MCD to perform for a fee of $3 million (€2.14 million).