Harry Potter actor who played Irish student being sued by ex-agent for €286k commission fees
An actor who played the role of an Irish student in the Harry Potter film series is being sued by his former agent for €286,000 in commission fees.
Devon Murray (27), who played "Seamus Finnigan", is being sued by Neil Brooks, trading as Neil Brooks Management, Cape Town, South Africa.
His parents, Michael and Fidelma Murray, of The Lawn, Oldtown Mill, Celbridge, Co Kildare, are also being sued as their son was a minor when he entered the contract with Brooks in 1998.
In a counter-claim, the Murrays seek the return of around €98,000 they say they paid Brooks.
The case was before the High Court Tuesday (April 5) when the Murrays' solicitor applied and was granted permission to cease representing them. The law firm said they had not received proper instructions or funds for junior and senior counsel since taking on the case.
The Murrays said they did not object to the law firm coming "off record" and did not have any other representation but would deal with the case themselves.
Mr Justice Seamus Noonan adjourned the case to Wednesday and said it would hopefully go on ahead then. While the time was short, they still had until then to see if they could get new representation, he said.
In his action, Mr Brooks says he was appointed sole agent for Devon in October 1998 under an agreement in which he became entitled to commissions of 12.5 per cent for his film and TV earnings, 15 per cent from TV commercials and seven per cent from theatre work.
Mr Brooks says he successfully negotiated for Devon's role in Harry Potter 1 and 2.
In January 2003, he said the Murrays agreed that, in consideration for successful negotiation for an increase in fees for his work in Harry Potter 3 and 4, that Brooks would be entitled to an increase in commission payments of 15 per cent for the two films and 20 per cent of all residual fees due from all Harry Potter films up to and beyond the fourth.
It is claimed that in breach of that agreement, the defendants have since in and around August 2005 failed, neglected and refused to make payments falling due.
As of March this year, the total sum due, including interest, is €286,375, it is claimed.
Gary McCarthy SC, for Brooks, said his side was anxious that the case should go on and were claiming that Devon Murray earned some €1.2m from his roles in the Harry Potter films.
In the defence filed by their former solicitors, the Murrays say the increase in fees was agreed in January 2003 but, it is claimed, the increase negotiated with the film makers Warner Brothers was done independently of any negotiation carried out by Brooks.
It is denied therefore Brooks are entitled to a 15 per cent commission of Harry Potter 3 and 4 because of the non-performance of the condition in the agreement that the increase would be based on successful negotiation by Brooks.
In the counter-claim, they say they are entitled to the recovery of €98,955 paid to Brooks and, without prejudice to their denial, they will seek to set off that money against any liability they may have.