Friday 23 March 2018

Playwright sues law firm over alleged professional negligence

Dr Bisi Adigun at the High Court yesterday. Photo: Collins Courts
Dr Bisi Adigun at the High Court yesterday. Photo: Collins Courts

Tim Healy

A DRAMATIST who previously settled legal proceedings over the staging at the Abbey Theatre of a modern version of the “Playboy of the Western World” has sued a law firm over alleged professional negligence.

Bisi Adigun has alleged negligence against Patrick Moran, practising at the relevant time under the style and title of Moran Solicitors, 33 Pearse Street, Dublin, arising from alleged dealings with his dispute with the Abbey Theatre over royalties and other issues arising from that modern version, co-written by himself and novelist Roddy Doyle.

Mr Adigun claims in the High Court he sought legal representation on his own behalf as well as on behalf of his company, Arambe Productions.

The firm denies any negligence and denies Mr Adigun – as opposed to his company - was ever a client. It also argues any involvement of the firm with Arambe is confined to dates between November 2007 and March 2008.

Documents show Arambe was the client at all times, Michael Tuite SC, for the firm, said.

Even if Mr Adigun could be found to be the client, there was no negligence and the firm also pleaded, even if negligence was found, Mr Adigun had suffered no damage.

Without prejudice to those denials, Mr Tuite told Mr Justice Colm MacEochaidh it would accept responsibility should any negligence be found against Linda McEvoy while she was working as a locum solicitor with the firm from October 2007 to about May 2008.

After Mr Adigun, representing himself, indicated that approach was satisfactory, the judge directed Ms McEvoy be taken out of the case.

Ms McEvoy earlier told the judge it had previously been decided no prima facie case of misconduct had been made out against her arising from the issues raised by Mr Adigun.

She was in court under a subpoena of the defendant and had not entered an appearance due to issues concerning service of the proceedings on her, she said.

The case arises from a modern version of John Millington Synge’s play which was co-authored by Roddy Doyle and Mr Adigun and performed in 2007. In that, the playboy, Christy Mahon, is a Nigerian asylum seeker.

In a previous action, Mr Adigun, Moorefield Cottages, Roebuck Road, Clonskeagh, Dublin, and Arambe Productions, claimed 120 changes to the co-written version were evident when the Abbey, in conjunction with Mr Doyle, remounted a “distorted” version of the play in 2008/09, produced by Jimmy Fay.

In 2013, Mr Adigun settled those proceedings against Mr Doyle, the Abbey and Mr Fay on terms including an agreement by Mr Doyle to transfer all his rights in the co-authored version to Mr Adigun.

It was acknowledged royalties were due to Arambe from both productions of the modern version and that certain changes were made to the script for the second production which were not authorised by Mr Adigun in recognition of which the Abbey would make certain payments to him.

It is understood Mr Adigun received some €200,000 under the settlement.

On Wednesday (June 8), Mr Adigun told the court he founded Arambe in 2003 and approached Linda McEvoy later in relation to litigation after the Abbey failed to pay a second instalment of royalties.

In evidence, "Fair City" actor Donna Anita Nikolaisen said she first met Mr Adigun about 2006 just after she completed a play in the Abbey.

Mr Adigun asked her to play a role in later productions. She was also contracted to design a website for Arambe and acted as its company

secretary for a short time.

She agreed a letter was sent by Mr Adigun to other members of the board of Arambe. She did not sign that as she had a very good relationship with the Abbey Theatre and did not want to be involved in his dispute with it, she said.

The case continues.

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