O'Neill v Ryan

JurisdictionIreland
Judgment Date01 January 1993
Date01 January 1993
CourtSupreme Court
(S.C.)
(H.C.)
O'Neill
and
Ryan (No. 1)

- Rule in Foss v. Harbottle - European Community - Alleged breach of competition rules - Former shareholder allegedly suffering damage by reason of reduction in share value - Whether rule in Foss v. Harbottle applicable - Whether shareholder able to bring a personal claim against a party causing damage to a company - Whether EC law provides shareholder with cause of action -EEC Treaty, Arts. 85, 86. Practice - Action -Application to strike out - Whether reasonable cause of action disclosed - Whether claim clearly unsustainable - Rules of the Superior Courts, 1986, O. 19, r. 28.

The plaintiff claimed damages and other relief for breach of contract and wrongful dismissal against the first and second named defendants. The plaintiff also made claims against the last four named defendants singly, collectively, and collectively with the first named defendant for alleged breaches of Articles 85 and 86 of the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community. The last four named defendants brought a motion to dismiss or stay the plaintiff's action as against them on the ground that the pleadings disclosed no reasonable cause of action. The essence of the plaintiff's claim was that the alleged conduct of the last four named defendants caused damage to the second named defendant and thereby to the plaintiff by reducing the value of his shareholding in the second named defendant. The last four named defendants submitted that the rule in Foss v. HarbottleDLRM applied. Lynch J. dismissed the plaintiff's action against the last four named defendants (see [1990] ILRM 140) and the plaintiff appealed. By the time the appeal was heard the plaintiff was no longer a shareholder in the second named defendant. Held by the Supreme Court (O'Flaherty and Blayney JJ.; Finlay C.J., Egan and Denham JJ. concurring) in dismissing the appeal and confirming the order of the High Court, 1, a court will exercise its jurisdiction to strike out a plaintiff's action where it is established by satisfactory...

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1 books & journal articles
  • The position of the 'quasi-partnership' type private company in irish law
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