A company in dispute with another firm over a €41,500 crane will have to lodge €50,000 with its solicitor pending the outcome of proceedings over the row, a High Court judge ruled.
Co Offaly-based Palfinger Ireland, a lifting and loading solutions specialist, and its managing director Seamus Kane, will have to provide the money as a condition for a stay being put on the enforcement of an order that the cost of the crane be returned to Pacific National Construction PTY Ltd, trading as Nowra Cranes, Mr Justice Charles Meenan ruled.
The court heard the row dates from March 2015 when Pacific, a company based in New South Wales, Australia, paid Palfinger €41,500 for the crane. The Tullamore company allegedly failed to deliver it due to an alleged debt that Palfinger and Mr Kane claimed was owed by a third party.
Pacific brought proceedings over this and a settlement was reached in which Palfinger agreed to provide the crane.
However, the settlement broke down and Pacific issued further proceedings seeking to have the contract rescinded and the €41,500 returned.
The Circuit Court, on January 22nd, found Mr Kane had frustrated the settlement, ordered the contract be rescinded, and the money returned to Pacific.
That court refused Palfinger’s application for a stay on the execution of the order pending an appeal.
Grounds for appeal
Palfinger and Mr Kane claim the grounds for appeal include that the Circuit Court judge’s decision was not supported by the evidence and that liability will be a genuine issue in the appeal.
As a result of this, Palfinger and Mr Kane appealed to the High Court asking it to overturn the refusal of the stay.
Pacific opposed the stay claiming, among other things, Palfinger’s most recent returns, for 2019, showed a loss of €1.8 million. Mr Kane said Palfinger’s 2020 accounts show it is solvent, with total assets less liabilities of some €1.2 million, and it continues to trade.
Mr Justice Meenan was satisfied to grant the stay on the basis there were arguable grounds for an appeal. He made it a condition that €50,000 be lodged with the defendants’ solicitors pending the outcome of the appeal.
He awarded costs against Pacific saying that once the defendants had made the offer to lodge €50,000 with their solicitor, there should have been no need to bring the stay application before the High Court.