Law firm sues three solicitors for breach of contract
Injunctions sought preventing them soliciting any of Augustus Cullen Law’s clients
A prominent law firm has brought High Court proceedings alleging breach of contract against three solicitors who resigned from the practice late last month
A prominent law firm has brought High Court proceedings alleging breach of contract against three solicitors who resigned from the practice late last month.
Augustus Cullen Law and Cullen Solicitors Services Ltd have sued solicitors Michael Boylan and Gillian O’Connor, their firm Michael Boylan Litigation Law Firm, and another solicitor, Ciara McPhillips.
Mr Boylan and his wife Ms O’Connor are well-known solicitors specialising in medical negligence.
On Thursday, the High Court was told Mr Boylan had been an equity partner at Augustus Cullen, Ms O’Connor had been a partner, and Ms McPhillips had been an associate solicitor with the plaintiffs.
In proceedings against the three solicitors and the firm Michael Boylan Litigation, Augustus Cullen claims the defendants have acted in breach of contract. The defendants have established a new firm and clients of Augustus Cullen may have been diverted to that, it was claimed.
The plaintiff is seeking various orders against the defendants including injunctions preventing them approaching or soliciting any of Augustus Cullen Law’s clients for the next 12 months.
The plaintiff also seeks orders requiring them to return materials, devices and property allegedly owned by Augustus Cullen Law allegedly in their possession.
The plaintiff also wants content on a website linked to the new law firm removed.
Rossa Fanning SC, for Augustus Cullen Law, said the proceedings are urgent from his client’s perspective.
The solicitors resigned from his client on June 25th last and Mr Boylan had cited difficulties with the partners at Augustus Cullen Law as a reason for his departure, counsel said.
As far as his client is concerned, Mr Boylan’s claim had “no substance” and was “self-serving”, he said.
His client had discovered the defendants had acted “in a clandestine way” and there was evidence they were looking at a premises to set up a new practice as far back as May 2017, and in January last were planning a web page for the new venture. Counsel said Augustus Cullen is also concerned about the possible impact the departures will have on the firm’s clients.
Counsel said it had corresponded with lawyers acting for the defendants but had not got satisfactory responses.
It was not his client’s wish to bring proceedings where matters would be aired in the public domain, but the plaintiff had “no alternative”, counsel said.
Permission to serve short notice of the proceedings on the defendants was granted, on an ex parte basis (one side only represented) by Ms Justice Caroline Costello, who returned the matter to next week.