Wednesday 7 December 2016

Agreement reached between Denis O'Brien and Dropbox over Red Flag documents - High Court

Published 19/07/2016 | 17:49

Denis O'Brien Photo: Bloomberg
Denis O'Brien Photo: Bloomberg

An application by businessman Denis O'Brien's aimed at accessing documents held in the Dropbox account of an employee of Red Flag Consulting has been struck out after the parties came to an agreement, the High Court has heard.

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Mr Justice Colm MacEochaidh was told on Tuesday discussions concerning access to material in the Dropbox facility of a Red Flag employee had resulted in an agreement on discovery.  California-based Dropbox Inc is an internet file hosting service.

Counsel for Mr O Brien said the material it sought to discover, described in court as being related to the distribution of a dossier, would now be provided by Dropbox to the defendant. The material would be then be subject to any discovery order made by the court.

The discovery applications against Dropbox Inc and Dropbox Ireland, could be struck out. It was also agreed Mr O'Brien would provide an indemnity towards Dropbox's costs.

Lawyers for Red Flag, which had opposed the motion for discovery against Dropbox, said it did not accept Mr O'Brien's side's description of the material at the centre of the application against Dropbox.

Mr Justice MacEochaidh who agreed to strike out the motions, remarked during the brief hearing that too much of what was being put before the court in the case was "for people other than me."

The judge also ruled Red Flag was entitled to its costs in respect of the motion against Dropbox, but agreed to place a stay on that order pending the final outcome of the action.

Both Red Flag and Mr O'Brien sought their costs in respect of the motion.

Previously the Court heard Dropbox had raised issues including whether, under US federal law, it could release the material sought without a court order to anyone but the employee involved, it was stated.

It had also said it lacked the technical ability to provide the categories of documents being sought to either the relevant employee or Mr O'Brien.

Following an initial failure to reach agreement with Dropbox, Mr O'Brien brought an application seeking non-party discovery against Dropbox Inc and Dropbox Ireland.

The discovery application was made as part of Mr O'Brien's action alleging conspiracy and defamation against Red Flag and some of its executives and employees.

Last week the judge reserved his ruling on Mr O'Brien's application for orders requiring Red Flag discover documents which may identify the client who commissioned it to prepare a dossier on the businessman.

Mr O'Brien wants the documents in advance of the full hearing of his action against Red Flag alleging the dossier evidences a conspiracy to damage him.

Red Flag claims it will suffer “irreparable harm” if ordered to disclose documents to Mr O’Brien revealing the identity of the client. It has agreed to provide a range of documents, including concerning the circumstances of its retainer concerning the dossier but insists it is entitled to maintain the client’s confidentiality.

Red Flag denies defamation and conspiracy and also pleads Mr O’Brien has failed to establish evidence of publication of the dossier. A hearing date for the businessman’s action has yet to be set.

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