Mercury Engineering drawn into Athlone Town Centre action

Court refuses company claim that it is too late to join it to action over alleged negligence

A company that provided services, including communications technology for the Athlone Town Centre has failed to prevent a bid to join it as a third party in a High Court action alleging negligence due to deficiencies in the services.

Town centre developers, Abbiamo Ltd and Prefero Ltd, trading as joint venture Gallico Developments, are, along with Charleen Ltd, which leases the Sheraton Hotel in the centre, suing engineering firm RN Murphy & Associates, which provided mechanical and engineering services for the development.

RN Murphy sought to make sub-contractor Mercury Engineering Ltd also liable for any damages which could be awarded.

It is claimed there were numerous and serious defects in the manner in which the development was carried out, resulting in loss and damage for which the defendant is liable. The claims are denied.

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The case began in 2011. In 2015, RN Murphy & Associates applied to have Mercury joined as a third party, meaning it could seek an indemnity or contribution from Mercury, should the defendant be found liable by the court.

Mercury was a sub-contractor on the project providing mechanical, electrical and information/communication technology for the town centre which was opened in 2007.

Mercury asked the court to set aside the application to join it to the case. It argued the third-party notice was not served as soon as reasonably possible, as required by statute.

Mr Justice Charles Meenan dismissed Mercury’s application. He said the first statement of claim was delivered in March 2015 and RN Murphy delivered its defence in December 2015. The application by Murphy to join Mercury was delivered a day later.

“This time period has to be viewed in the context of what is undoubtedly a complex claim involving professional negligence,” the judge said. Taking these factors into account, he concluded the third-party notice was served on Mercury as soon as was reasonably possible.

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