Law firm sues three of its former solicitors
A prominent law firm has brought High Court proceedings for alleged breach of contract against three solicitors who resigned from the practice late last month.
Augustus Cullen Law and Cullen Solicitors Services Limited are suing solicitors Michael Boylan and Gillian O’Connor, their firm Michael Boylan Litigation Law Firm, and another solicitor, Ciara McPhillips.
Mr Boylan and his wife, Ms O’Connor, are well-known solicitors who specialise in the area of medical negligence.
Yesterday, the High Court heard that Mr Boylan had been an equity partner at Augustus Cullen, Ms O’Connor had been a partner, while Ms McPhillips had been an associate solicitor.
In proceedings against the three solicitors and the new firm, Augustus Cullen claims the defendants have acted in breach of contract in the process of establishing a new firm and allege that clients of Augustus Cullen may have been diverted to the new business.
As a result, the plaintiff is seeking various orders against the defendants, including injunctions preventing them from approaching or soliciting any of Augustus Cullen Law’s clients for the next 12 months.
The plaintiff also seek orders requiring them to return materials, devices and property allegedly owned by Augustus Cullen Law which it claims are in the possession of the defendants, and to have content on a website linked to the new law firm removed.
At the High Court yesterday, Rossa Fanning SC for Augustus Cullen Law said the proceedings are urgent from his client’s perspective.
He said the three solicitors resigned on June 25th, with Mr Boylan citing difficulties with the partners at Augustus Cullen Law as a reason for his departure. However, as far as his client is concerned, counsel said Mr Boylan’s claim had “no substance” and was “self-serving”.
Mr Fanning said his client had discovered that the defendants had acted “in a clandestine way”, as they were looking at a premises to set up a new practise as far back as May 2017 and were planning a website for the new venture in January.
Augustus Cullen is concerned about the possible impact the departures will have on the firm’s clients and had corresponded with lawyers acting for the defendants but had not got satisfactory responses.
Mr Fanning said it was not his client’s wish to bring proceedings where matters would be aired in the public domain, but Augustus Cullen had “no alternative”.
Permission to serve short notice of the proceedings on the defendants was granted, on an ex parte basis, by Ms Justice Caroline Costello, who made the matter returnable to next week.
Aodhan O Faolain, Ireland International News Agency Ltd.