Judge rejects ‘Alice in Wonderland’ claims by Dunnes over Point Village settlement

Dunnes Stores loses appeal over Ђ15.5m payment to receivers relating to Point Village development

The receivers had claimed the Ђ15.5 million was due under a 2010 settlement between Dunnes and Point Village Development Ltd

Dunnes Stores has lost its appeal over orders requiring it to pay for Ђ15.5 million into the receivers of a business of businessman Harry Crosbie so as to adhere to agreed terms of settlement of a legal dispute concerning the planned Point Village development.

Dunnes was effectively asking the Court of Appeal to grant an “Alice in Wonderland” license to it to interpret words in the settlement as Dunnes wishes “depending in the total result they sought to achieve”, Ms Justice Mбire Whelan said.

The receivers had claimed the Ђ15.5 million was due under a 2010 settlement between Dunnes and Point Village Development Ltd (PVD) negotiated by PVD chairman Mr Crosbie before NAMA appointed receivers that are joint the organization in 2013 by walking of a Ђ450 million debt.

PVD brought proceedings during 2009 alleging Dunnes had neglected to honour a 2008 agreement reached as part of a deal under which Dunnes was to become the main, or anchor tenant, at the heart.

Dunnes denied the claims and counterclaimed PVD had not complied with some of their obligations under the agreement.

The case settled in the High Court this year but disputes that are further therefore the sides later negotiated supplemental terms of settlement.

The 2010 settlement provided PVD was released from obligations to make an “iconic” 39-storey Watchtower and a Spine Building intended to house the U2 Experience museum.

The agreement also varied terms of the lease to Dunnes and reduced a Ђ46 million sum Dunnes had contracted to cover the website to Ђ31 million, which latter sum was put into a account that is nominated.

Dunnes paid PVD some Ђ11.8 million from the account that is nominated late 2010 but made any further payments.

The receivers engaged with Dunnes concerning completion of matters outstanding under the development agreement for the centre and the settlement agreement in 2013, after joint receivers were appointed over certain assets of Mr Crosbie and PVD.

PVD argued it had complied with its obligations under the settlement agreement and Dunnes needed to release some Ђ15.5 million, plus accrued interest, to it.

Dunnes argued, among other claims, PVD was required to secure “high end” tenants for units at the heart before Dunnes was obliged to release the monies.

Dunnes would not deny it was obliged to discharge sums payable under clauses of the agreement but argued it was “inappropriate” to do so when the parties were otherwise in dispute.

Proceedings issued when the High Court’s Ms Justice Caroline Costello was asked to choose what was necessary to satisfy the terms of the settlement agreement.

The judge upheld PVD’s claims it had met obligations under the settlement agreement and said Dunnes was obliged to release Ђ15.5 million to Point Village “forthwith”, plus accrued interest in a 2017 judgment.

Dunnes appeal against that decision was dismissed on Tuesday by a three judge Court of Appeal.

In a judgment that is detailed Ms Justice Whelan said Dunnes had failed to demonstrate or establish manifest error within the construction and operation by PVD for the terms of settlement.

Dunnes claim was “wholly lacking” in just about any basis that is valid would warrant the court exercising its exceptional discretion to admit extrinsic language to undermine the “very clear” language regarding the clauses in dispute, she said.

The substance of Dunnes contention distills to a claim the “perfectly clear” word “tenants” within buy essay online the terms of settlement negotiated because of the parties, “and signed off with extensive legal and expert advice”, should really be construed to mean “tenants of a high quality”.

The COA also dismissed a separate appeal by Dunnes against a top Court refusal to direct that Dunnes could inspect certain documents regarding the agreements for lease.