Wednesday 13 December 2017

Singer can't sue ex-bandmates in wedding band Eden over falling-out

Edmond Kenny, of Carrick Vale, Edenderry, Co Offaly, pictured arriving at the Four Courts for a High Court action
Edmond Kenny, of Carrick Vale, Edenderry, Co Offaly, pictured arriving at the Four Courts for a High Court action

TIM HEALY

A FORMER lead singer and drummer in a three-man wedding band cannot bring a legal action arising from a falling-out with his two fellow musicians, the High Court has ruled.

The "Eden" band is owned by a company called Eden Music Ltd in which lead singer Ed Kenny, lead guitarist Robert Pender and keyboard player David Lynch are equal shareholders and directors.

After the relationship between Mr Kenny and the other two musicians broke down irretrievably, he asked the court for leave to bring an action on behalf of the company seeking a number of orders including that the Eden name could no longer be used by any new group because it amounts to trading on or wrongfully using an asset belonging to the company.

A new lead singer had been brought in to replace Mr Kenny, who had since formed his own wedding band called All The Best.

Yesterday, Mr Justice Michael White refused Mr Kenny permission to bring an action in the name of the company, and to be indemnified against any costs of such an action, in relation to his claims, including that there had been an attempt to "steamroll" the firm into liquidation.

There was a dispute about whether future bookings made by the two other musicians had been disclosed to Mr Kenny, the judge said.

Mr Kenny had alleged that his former colleagues made payments from the company account without authorisation, stopped paying him his salary as a director, brought in a new lead singer and formed a new group called the Eden Wedding Band, the judge said.

Mr Pender and Mr Lynch claimed Mr Kenny arbitrarily kept the company van and removed them from the insurance policy on it, although he (Mr Kenny) said it was still available to fulfil engagements. They also claimed he originally agreed to a voluntary winding-up of the company, but later reneged on this, the judge said.

While Mr Kenny's salary had been restored at €323 net per gig, he said he was entitled to the gross amount of €440.

His co-musicians had claimed the working relationship had deteriorated over a period of time and was exacerbated when Mr Kenny acquired a catalogue of backing tracks and musical equipment to facilitate him as a solo performer, the judge said.

While an objective observation of the activities of Mr Pender and Mr Lynch revealed the company's asset (future bookings) being threatened, the two men had "gone a long way" to rectifying matters, including restoring money to the company which they had said was for the purpose of the agreed winding-up.

They had also restored Mr Kenny's gig fee and paid the alternative singer in relation to bookings already made.

The judge said Mr Kenny had previously indicated he was agreeable to a winding-up of the company and had removed the van "in controversial circumstances" as well as taking his colleagues off the insurance.

Mr Kenny had accepted it was open to individual group members to operate a new wedding band, provided it did not infringe on the company's band.

This company had limited resources, and bookings will not ultimately be an asset until they take place, the judge said.

It would be "to the overwhelming disadvantage of the company" if the court were to allow Mr Kenny to bring an action.

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