Friday 23 March 2018

TV chef Lee Bradshaw refused injunctions in restaurant dispute

Lee Bradshaw
Lee Bradshaw

A chef has been refused High Court injunctions in a dispute over his dismissal and over an alleged partnership agreement at a Dublin restaurant.

Lee Bradshaw, who claims he helped establish the Copper Bar and Grill at the Beacon South Quarter in Sandyford, sought the injunctions pending the hearing of his full action against partners in the restaurant.

Mr Bradshaw, who has appeared on RTE's "The Restaurant",  contended he was a partner in the venture with William Murphy

He initiated court proceedings arising from his purported dismissal late last year, and, pending the full hearing, sought injunctions against William and Claire Murphy, Banna Road, Ardfert Tralee, Co Kerry; Joseph Murphy, Skhanagh, Tralee and the Copper Bar and Grill Ltd.

The Murphy brothers are shareholders of the company while Ms Murphy is a director. They deny Mr Bradshaw has a partnership agreement and allege he is an employee.

Ms Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan yesterday refused injunctions restraining termination of Mr Bradshaw's employment in circumstances including the defendants undertakings not to dismiss him on grounds of misconduct, including matters raised by William Murphy at a meeting on December 11 last and what the judge said was a "Facebook issue".

Mr Bradshaw and William Murphy dispute what occurred at that meeting. Mr Bradshaw claims he understood he was being put on paid leave for a month pending review but William Murphy claims he told Mr Bradshaw he was being dismissed but would be paid for four weeks on conditions.

Mr Bradshaw then brought his court action aimed at preventing both his dismissal and dissolution of his alleged partnership with William Murphy.

Last month, the defendants offered undertakings, including not to dismiss Mr Bradshaw or interfere with his share in the alleged partnership.

Mr Bradshaw pursued his application for injunctions concerning his employment and alleged partnership and, at the end of that hearing, the defendants offered undertakings not to dismiss him for alleged misconduct and not to dispose of the restaurant business without giving him seven days notice when he could re-enter his injunctions application.

Yesterday, the judge said Mr Bradshaw had raised a serious issue to be tried relating to whether fair procedures were applied concerning his purported dismissal last December.

However, there was no serious issue to be tried concerning the company's entitlement to terminate his employment without cause in accordance with the relevant contract, she said.

Dealing with the partnership issue, the judge said it seemed Mr Bradshaw and William Murphy had a broad agreement to form a company which was intended to carry on the proposed bar and restaurant business.

But she was not satisfied Mr Bradshaw had an arguable case that he and Mr Murphy had agreed they would personally carry on a business for profit.

However, Mr Bradshaw had made out an arguable case he was to receive certain financial payments for his contribution to the organisation and establishment of the business.

It was unnecessary for her to decide if that was a partnership agreement as damages would be an adequate remedy for Mr Bradshaw should he succeed at the full hearing.

It was important to note Mr Bradshaw resigned as a director of the company in August 2012 and transferred his shares in the company in January 2013, long before the current dispute, she added.

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