Woman settles professional negligence case against Fine Gael TD
A WOMAN who sued her former solicitor - now government TD Charles Flanagan - for alleged professional negligence has settled her High Court action.
Mary Rigney Murray brought the case over the 2003 handling by Mr Flanagan and his firm Bolger White Egan & Flanagan Solicitors of an action against her employers, the HSE.
In her claim for negligence and breach of contract she alleged her legal representatives failed to prosecute her claim within the required time limits and allowed it to become statue barred. She also alleged Mr Flanagan, without her consent, had entered into talks aimed at halting her action with the HSE.
All her allegations were denied. Both Mr Flanagan and his firm rejected claims of negligence and breach of contract and argued that Ms Rigney Murray was not entitled to damages.
Today, the President of the High Court Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns was told the action had been resolved. No details were revealed in open court.
Speaking afterwards, Ms Rigney Murray's solicitor Caoimhe Haughey said the agreement between the parties was confidential.
The action, had it proceeded, was expected to last for a number of days.
Mr Flanagan (aged 56), who is a partner in the firm, is the current chair of the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party. He has served as TD for Laois Offaly from 1987 to 2002, when he lost his seat. He was re-elected to the Dail in the 2007 and 2011 elections.
In her action Ms Rigney Murray, of Lenamore, Clonfert, Ballinasloe, Co Galway alleged that in October 2003 she retained the defendants for an action against her employers the HSE.
She wanted to sue the HSE because she claimed that between June 2002 and September/October 2002 she was subjected to bullying harassment and intimidation at her workplace which resulted in her sustained personal injuries, loss, damage and expense.
However she claimed that Mr Flanagan and the firm failed to prosecute her claim expeditiously and had delayed unreasonably and without just cause in instituting proceedings.
She also claimed Mr Flanagan and the firm failed to act on her instructions, failed to warn her that her claim was expiring and at risk of being debarred by the courts.
She further alleged that in April 2006 Mr Flanagan met with a senior official with the HSE and lawyers representing that body.
She claimed Mr Flanagan falsely misrepresented her position to those other parties, and entered into discussions with a view to discontinuing her action against the HSE.
She also claimed that Mr Flanagan attended that meeting without her authority and was acting without her instructions.
Mr Flanagan and the solicitors firm, of Lismard Court, Fintan Lawlor Avenue, Portlaoise denied ALL the claims of negligence and breach of contract against them.
They denied that Ms Rigney Murray had been deprived of her the opportunity to prosecute her claim against the HSE.
Mr Flanagan met with the HSE in April 2006. During that meeting, and at all other times, Mr Flanagan said he and his firm had acted with Ms Rigney Murray's full knowledge and authority. He denied that he misrepresented her claim or entering into any discussions aimed at discontinuing her action against the HSE.
It was also denied that Ms Rigney Murray was not informed about what was discussed at the April 2006 meeting with the HSE.