Thursday 22 August 2019

Madigan's family's law firm in line for €11,500 if Bailey case was won

Case dropped: Fine Gael TD Maria Bailey. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Case dropped: Fine Gael TD Maria Bailey. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Minister Josepha Madigan's family's law firm would have been in line for fees of up to €11,500 if the Maria Bailey personal injury claim had been fought and won, legal sources have said.

Fine Gael TD Ms Bailey was represented by Madigans Solicitors in her now dropped claim against Dublin's Dean Hotel for injuries sustained after a fall from a swing.

The legal action was taken in the Circuit Court where damages of up to €60,000 can be awarded.

The hotel denied liability and intended to fight the case before it was abandoned by Ms Bailey amid the massive controversy over the claim.

Legal sources have said that - based on figures from recent cases provided by legal cost accountants - fees of between €11,000 and €11,500 are allowable in fully fought Circuit Court cases where damages of up to €60,000 are awarded.

Where the damages are in the order of €30,000, fees of between €8,000 and €8,500 have gone to the complainant's solicitors.

The defendants or their insurers pay the legal costs over and above the damages paid to the complainant.

Madigans Solicitors is owned by Ms Madigan's brother Patrick. The Culture Minister, Ms Madigan, left the practice in June 2017.

The Irish Independent asked the firm about the estimated fees and what it would have expected to be paid if Ms Bailey's case had gone to court and been won. "We would be in breach of our professional obligations to our clients to comment in any way on the details of their cases or any other work done on their behalf," Patrick Madigan said last night.

He said that in general "costs vary greatly from case to case" due to a number of factors including the complexity of the case.

"It is not possible to state what the costs would be in any case without having regard to the work done by the lawyers (solicitor or solicitor/barrister), the amount of time involved and the costs of medical, engineering or any other expert witnesses.

"The costs involved depends greatly on the stage at which proceedings are resolved," he added.

Ms Madigan has been refusing for weeks to answer questions on what advice she gave to Ms Bailey while she was still at the firm, citing client-solicitor confidentiality.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he won't publish the report resulting from the Fine Gael inquiry into the Bailey case carried out by barrister David Kennedy. He has said he is satisfied Ms Madigan has no questions to answer over the case. He said Ms Madigan gave Ms Bailey "initial legal advice" and assisted in an application to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB). He said the hotel did not engage with the PIAB and Ms Madigan "did not deal with the subsequent legal proceedings".

Ms Madigan has previously said she is "very satisfied" with the report's findings on her.

Timeline: The minister and the swing case

May 23, 2014: Fine Gael's Josepha Madigan and Maria Bailey win seats on Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council.

July 10, 2015: Maria Bailey falls off a swing in The Dean Hotel.

August 3: Ms Bailey runs 'The Bay 10k' in 53 minutes. Despite this, later court papers from the claim say that she "could not run at all for three months post-accident".

February 26: Both Ms Madigan and Ms Bailey are elected to the Dáil. During Ms Madigan's time as a backbench TD she gave Ms Bailey initial legal advice and helped her with a Personal Injuries Assessment Board application.

2017: Ms Madigan leaves Madigans Solicitors in June and is appointed minister in November.

May 20, 2019: The Irish Independent reveals how Ms Bailey lodged a compensation claim against The Dean Hotel.

May 21: Ms Madigan refuses to comment on the Bailey case for the first time.

May 25: The Irish Independent reveals details of Ms Bailey's 10km run and it emerges later that day that Ms Bailey is dropping the case.

May 27: Ms Bailey's infamous interview with RTÉ's Sean O'Rourke. She says that she took legal advice and was "told I had a clear-cut case". She refuses to say if Ms Madigan was involved in advising her.

May 29: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar brings in senior council David Kennedy to investigate Ms Bailey's claim.

May 30: Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin calls on Ms Madigan to be "candid" on any role she played.

July 10: Ms Madigan says she is "very satisfied" with what Mr Kennedy's report says about her but won't comment on the case due to "client-solicitor confidentiality".

July 23: The Taoiseach releases a statement on Mr Kennedy's report into the Bailey case. He 'demotes' Ms Bailey from her position as Housing Committee chair.

July 24: Ms Madigan declines to answer a series of questions posed by the Irish Independent about her involvement in the case.

July 25: The Cabinet meets in Donegal. Ms Madigan ignored journalists as she arrived.

Irish Independent

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