Three companies involved in a dispute over shares in the Galway Clinic private hospital have secured a temporary High Court freezing order on the assets of a firm controlled by US-based doctor and businessman Joseph Sheehan Snr.
An injunction was secured by Marpole Ltd, BMD Investments Ltd and Parma Investments against Blackrock Medical Partners Ltd (BMPL), which allegedly owes the three firms over €800,000 in legal fees after it was unsuccessful in a High Court action against them. The freezing order was sought over the three companies' fears that funds BMPL recently received from the sale of shares may be dissipated.
The court heard that BMPL had up until recently been a shareholder in the Galway Clinic. It had sued Marpole, which is the holding company of the clinic, and BMD, which had until 2016 been a shareholder of the clinic.
It sued Parma too, which is also a shareholder in the clinic.
Last year, the High Court dismissed BMPL's action aimed at preventing BMD from transferring its shares in Marpole to Parma. The judge also awarded the three firms their legal costs of the action against BMPL.
Rossa Fanning SC for the three firms told the court yesterday that his clients fear BMPL, which recently came into funds of several million euro following a sale by a receiver of the shares it held in Marpole Ltd to Parma, may attempt to dissipate those funds beyond their reach.
Counsel said that the price paid to the receiver appointed to BMPL was confidential and commercially sensitive, but it considerably exceeded BMPL's estimated secured debts of over $21m (€19m).
Counsel said that it is his clients' case that the Irish-registered BMPL has a cash surplus following the sale of several million euro, and is in a position to discharge the legal costs due to the three other firms. Counsel said it was also the case BMPL and Mr Sheehan had defaulted on payment obligations to other parties.
Counsel said that undertakings not to move or transfer the funds were sought by his clients, but were not given.
The exact amount of costs incurred by his side in defending the action has yet to be quantified. However, they have been estimated at being approximately €800,000.
The temporary freezing order, which prevents BMPL from transferring, dissipating or moving its assets outside the jurisdiction, was granted on an ex-parte (one side only represented) basis. It prevents BMPL from reducing its assets, and in particular the proceeds of the sale of the Marpole shares, within the jurisdiction below €800,000.
The case continues.