Thursday 22 August 2019

Dispute between Supermac's and tenants settled as accusation of forgery on document withdrawn

Pat McDonagh, owner of Supermac's pictured leaving the Four Courts after a High Court action Pic: Collins Courts
Pat McDonagh, owner of Supermac's pictured leaving the Four Courts after a High Court action Pic: Collins Courts

Aodhan O'Faolain

A legal dispute between Supermac's founder Pat McDonagh and tenants of one of the fast-food chain's outlets have been settled.

As part of the settlement between the businessman and John and Mary Lyons, who operate a Supermac's premises at Ennis Road, Limerick, the High Court was told that an allegation Mr McDonagh had forged Mr Lyon's signature on a document was withdrawn.

The settlement was over of a High Court appeal against orders by Limerick Circuit Court including one requiring Mr McDonagh to reimburse more than €150,000 in overpaid council rates and rent to the couple.

The appeal was listed for hearing before Mr Justice Garrett Simons on Tuesday and was expected to last two days.

However, Rossa Fanning SC, for Mr McDonagh, told the judge the case has been settled on terms including the withdrawal of the appeal and the respondent's cross-appeal against the Circuit Court's findings.

Mr Fanning said the Circuit Court's decision would remain in place.

It was also agreed that an allegation was being withdrawn in relation to a claim that a signature of John Lyons on a franchise agreement in respect of a Supermacs outlet had been forged by either Mr McDonagh or someone else.

They Lyons were "happy to accept that the signature presented as Mr Lyon's signature is his signature" and "was not forged by Mr McDonagh or anyone on his behalf", counsel said.

Sheila Finn Bl for Mr and Mrs Lyons said were consenting to the settlement agreement.

Last year the Circuit Court found Mr McDonagh had breached the terms of a long-standing oral tenancy agreement with the Lyons.

The court heard that as part of an agreement in 1995 the couple paid an annual rent of about €132,000 and that Mr McDonagh would discharge rates of about €22,000 to Limerick City Council.

Mr McDonagh stopped paying the rates in 2009. This meant the couple had to pay rates on top of the rent, totalling more than €154,000.

Mr McDonagh claimed the annual rent at about €196,000.

The Lyons claimed the annual rent should be €86,000.

They argued that while they were willing to pay rates, they were entitled to recover losses after they had overpaid.

Their claim was opposed by Mr McDonagh.

The Circuit Court agreed with the Lyons' valuation of the rent.

It found there was an overpayment, and the Lyons were entitled to a rebate and that the rent is reduced.

The court also ordered Mr McDonagh to reimburse the rates previously paid by them since 2009 by way of annual deductions to the new fixed rent at €125,000.

The parties were also involved in separate but related proceedings concerning the Ennis Road outlet.

Last month the High Court dismissed Supermac's application for an injunction preventing the couple from carrying out refurbishment works on the premises.

Supermac's, who accept that refurbishment works need to be carried out, claimed the couple were in breach of a franchise agreement which stipulates that it (Supermac's) carries out refurbishment and repair works on its fast food restaurant's outlets.

The couple denied the claims and argued Supermac's had failed to carry out necessary refurbishment works for several years and said that action was linked to the Circuit Court appeal.

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