Supermac's fails in injunction bid against franchise holder of Limerick restaurant

Aodhan O'Faolain


Aodhan O'Faolain

Supermac's fails in injunction bid against franchise holder of Limerick restaurant

Supermac's Pat McDonagh at his Ballysimon Road premises | Picture: Eamon Ward

THE HIGH COURT has dismissed Supermac's application for an injunction preventing one of its franchise holders from carrying out refurbishment works on the premises. 

The injunction, which if granted would have been put in place pending the full hearing of the dispute, was sought against John and Mary Lyons who operate a Supermac's outlet at the Ennis Road, Limerick. 

Supermac's, who accept that refurbishment works need to be carried out, claimed the couple were in breach of a franchise agreement which stipulates that it carries out refurbishment and repair works on its fast food restaurant's outlets.    

Supermac's claim that it carries out such works to ensure high standards at all its outlets are maintained. 

The couple denied the claims, rejected the contention they were in breach of contract and had opposed the application.  

The argued that the company had known but had failed to carry out necessary refurbishments works for several years, and said the injunction application was linked to other legal proceedings involving the parties. 

In his ruling on Thursday Mr Justice Senan Allen said he was satisfied to dismiss the injunction application. 

In his decision, he noted that Supermac's and its owner Mr Pat McDonagh had worked successfully with Mr Lyons, who has operated several Supermac's franchises, for many years.

That relationship had "rapidly deteriorated" in the last five years, the Judge said adding that Mr McDonagh and the Lyons had been involved in a Circuit Court dispute over the lease of the premises at Ennis Road. 

Last year the Circuit Court had ruled in the Lyons' favour, but the lower court's decision was the subject of an appeal due to be heard before the High Court next month the Judge said. 

Turing to the proceedings before the court the Judge said that as this was an injunction application the court could not make any findings of fact.

The Judge said he was satisfied from the evidence put before the court that Supermac's, which claimed the Lyons were in breach of a March 2000 franchise agreement, had not made out an arguable case likely to succeed at a full trial. Supermac's arguments in regards to the 2000 franchise agreement "did not get out of the blocks" the Judge said. 

It appeared from the evidence put before the court during the hearing that the 2000 franchise agreement had, in fact, originated in 1992, the court noted. 

The judge said he accepted the argument advanced by the defendant's lawyer's that in this case, damages would be an adequate remedy if Supermac's were successful in its action. 

The Judge added that it is not likely that a businessman of Mr Lyons's experience would carry out refurbishments that would have to be undone in a year or so. 

The balance of convenience also favoured the dismissal of the injunction application, the Judge added.

The Judge also made the costs of the injunction proceedings against Supermac's but placed a stay on that order pending the outcome of the full hearing of the action.