Friday 26 May 2017

Titanic struggle over €1m exhibition fees

Tim Healy

A FIRM that exhibited Titanic artefacts at Dublin's Citywest Hotel is suing two Citywest companies over an alleged failure to pay €1m for the exhibit.

RMS Titanic Inc has brought a lawsuit against Citywest Productions Ltd, Citywest Park, Saggart, Co Dublin, and HSS, trading as the Mansfield Group, for $1.38m (€1.06m). The proceedings were transferred to the Commercial Court yesterday.

Rossa Fanning, for HSS receiver Martin Ferris, said his client does not intend to defend the proceedings because he has no role in relation to unsecured creditors. The court also heard solicitors for Citywest Productions Ltd would be applying to withdraw from representing that company.

In those circumstances, Mr Justice Peter Kelly said he would transfer the proceedings and would list the application to withdraw from representing for Friday next.

If the case was not defended, the plaintiff could bring whatever application it considered necessary to secure judgment in default of defence, the judge said.

RMS Titanic Inc, based in Atlanta, Georgia, claims it has the exclusive worldwide rights to present exhibitions of artefacts recovered from the wreck of the RMS Titanic.

It claims it had in November 2009 agreed to grant a licence to Citywest Productions Ltd (CPL) to present a touring exhibition of the artefacts at Citywest Hotel for six months beginning on December 19, 2009.

It claims the parties agreed CPL would pay the plaintiff company a non-refundable license fee of $500,000 (€386,000) and that the net exhibition revenues would be split on a 50/50 basis. CPL guaranteed RMS Titanic a minimum $500,000 from the net exhibition revenues, regardless of the revenue generated, it is also alleged.

The exhibition opened on December 19, 2009, and HSS held itself out at all times as wholly involved in the project and as assuming the responsibilities of CPL under the licence, it is alleged.

HSS made payments to RMS Titanic of $100,000 (€77,250) in November 2009, December 2009 and January 2010, being the sums due under the licence but had not made other payments due, it is claimed.

Irish Independent

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