Supermac’s fails to get injunction against franchisee

Fast-food chain claimed franchisee breached agreement by refurbishing premises

Supermac’s claims it carries out refurbishment works itself to ensure high standards are maintained. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Supermac’s claims it carries out refurbishment works itself to ensure high standards are maintained. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

 

Supermac’s has failed to get a High Court injunction preventing one of its franchise holders carrying out refurbishment works on the premises.

The injunction was sought against John and Mary Lyons, who operate a Supermac’s outlet on Ennis Road, Limerick.

Supermac’s accepts that refurbishment works need to be carried out but claimed the couple were in breach of a franchise agreement that stipulates Supermac’s itself carries out refurbishment and repair works on its outlets.

Supermac’s claims it carries out such works to ensure high standards are maintained.

The couple denied they were in breach of contract and opposed the injunction, which was sought pending a full hearing of proceedings. They argued the owner of Supermac’s, Pat McDonagh, had known but had failed to carry out necessary refurbishments works for several years and claimed the injunction application was linked to other legal proceedings involving the parties.

In his ruling on Thursday, Mr Justice Senan Allen dismissed the injunction application.

He noted that Supermac’s and its owner had worked successfully for many years with Mr Lyons, who has operated several Supermac’s franchises.

However, that relationship had “rapidly deteriorated” in the past five years and Mr McDonagh and the Lyons had been involved in a Circuit Court dispute over the lease of the premises on Ennis Road.

High Court appeal

Last year the Circuit Court had ruled in the Lyonses’ favour but that decision was subject of an appeal due to be heard before the High Court next month.

Turning to the injunction proceedings, he said that because this was an injunction application he could not make any findings of fact.

He was satisfied from the evidence before the court that Supermac’s had not, in relation to its claim the Lyonses were in breach of a March 2000 franchise agreement, made out an arguable case likely to succeed at a full trial.

Arguments by Supermac’s regarding the 2000 franchise agreement “did not get out of the blocks”, he said.

It appeared from the evidence put before the court during the hearing that the 2000 franchise agreement had in fact originated in 1992, the court noted.

He also accepted the defence argument that damages would be an adequate remedy if Supermac’s were successful in its action.

It is not likely a businessman of Mr Lyons’s experience would carry out refurbishments that would have to be undone in a year or so, he said.

The balance of convenience also favoured dismissing the injunction application, he said.

He granted costs of the injunction proceedings against Supermac’s but stayed that order pending the outcome of the full case.