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Former Tesco potato supplier fails to have action against supermarket fast-tracked to Commercial Court





A FORMER potato supplier to supermarket giant Tesco has failed to have an action for alleged breach of contract and personal injuries entered into the fast track Commercial Court list.

Paul Sweeney, trading as Paul Sweeney & Co, Newcastle, Co Dublin, is suing Tesco Ireland claiming he spent millions between 1998 and 2006 investing in facilities based on an agreement to supply potatoes for the Irish stores but which the supermarket firm terminated without reasonable notice.

Mr Sweeney is also claiming damages for bullying, nervous shock, assault and battery arising out of meetings and contacts with a Tesco executive during negotiations on the agreement to supply the stores.

Tesco denies his claims.

Mr Justice Brian McGovern Monday (June 8) declined to admit the case to the fast-track Commercial Court which means it will now go through the normal court list.

The judge said he was doing so because it relates to allegations dating between 2008 and 2011 and fell outside the scope of Commercial Court rules requiring that it deal with cases that need to be heard expeditiously.

There was also the fact that this case involved personal injuries which was also outside the scope of a Commercial Court case.

Richard Kean SC, for Mr Sweeney, earlier asked the judge for an adjournment of his application to admit the case to the commercial list because his side had only received a 33-page affidavit from the

Tesco side last Friday which he needed time to address. This included claims that the case should not be accepted into the Commercial Court because it had not be prosecuted with expedition.

Mr Kean said as a result of "catastrophic losses" arising out of the termination of his contract with Tesco, his client has been an in-patient in hospital for some time.

His client was making very serious allegations which he was standing over and which have also been referred to the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation.

Declan McGrath SC, for Tesco, in opposing the admission of the case to the commercial list, said the affidavit which had been filed on Friday was effectively setting out, for the benefit of the court, correspondence between the parties over the last number of years

Mr Justice McGovern said as Mr Kean was not now pressing the matter, he did not need to hear Mr McGrath further and he was exercising his discretion not to admit the case to the commercial list.  

He also awarded the costs of the application to Tesco.

Online Editors