Wednesday 18 September 2019

Supermac's fails to get franchisee injunction

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Tim Healy

The High Court has dismissed Supermac's application for an injunction preventing one of its franchise holders from carrying out refurbishment works on its premises.

The injunction was sought against John and Mary Lyons who operate a Supermac's in Limerick. Supermac's, which accepts refurbishment works need to be carried out, claimed the couple were in breach of a franchise agreement which stipulates that the company carries out refurbishment works. It claimed this ensures high standards at all its outlets are maintained. The couple denied the claims and rejected the contention they were in breach of contract. They argued Supermac's owner, Pat McDonagh, had known but had failed to carry out necessary works for several years.

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They also claimed the injunction application was linked to other legal proceedings involving the parties.

Yesterday, Mr Justice Senan Allen dismissed the injunction application. He said Supermac's and Mr McDonagh had worked successfully with Mr Lyons, who has operated several Supermac's franchises, for many years. That relationship had "rapidly deteriorated" in the last five years, he said. Mr McDonagh and the Lyonses had been involved in a Circuit Court dispute over the lease of the premises at Ennis Road, he said. Last year the Circuit Court had ruled in the Lyonses' favour, but the decision was the subject of an appeal due to be heard before the High Court next month, he said.

In this case, an injunction application, the court could not make any findings of fact. The judge was satisfied from the evidence that Supermac's had not made out an arguable case likely to succeed at a full trial. Supermac's arguments in regards to the 2000 franchise agreement "did not get out of the blocks", he said.

It appeared the 2000 franchise agreement had in fact originated in 1992, he noted.

The judge accepted the argument advanced by the defendants' lawyers that damages would be an adequate remedy if Supermac's were successful in its action. It was not likely that a businessman of Mr Lyons's experience would carry out refurbishments that would have to be undone in a year or so, he said.

The balance of convenience also favoured the dismissal of the injunction application.

Irish Independent

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