Wednesday, July 13, 2022

High court reporters

The “Mr Price” group is to appeal a High Court ruling that it cannot sell certain grocery items from a store in a retail park where Dunnes Stores is the anchor tenant.

Last month, Mr Justice Mark Sanfey ruled that Dafora Unlimited Co was in breach of its lease at Barrow Valley Retail Park on the Carlow/Laois border by selling certain items from its Mr Price store in the centre.

This is because there is a clause in the retail park lease which prohibits a competing supermarket to operate alongside the anchor tenant, Dunnes.

The judge found that “groceries”, as contained in a lease agreement, “extends beyond food or food products.”

Groceries meaning

He said groceries include “non-durable consumable household items which are purchased frequently”.

Other items include healthcare products, household and cleaning products; pet care and pet food; bathroom toiletries; hair care products, detergents; washing powder; cleaning products; shampoos; toothbrushes; toothpaste; kitchen towels and toilet rolls, he found.

Dunnes, and the retail centre landlords, Camgill Property A Sé Ltd, had brought proceedings against Dafora, trading as “Mr Price Branded Bargains”.

A permanent injunction was sought to prevent the Barrow Valley Mr Price outlet from selling certain items. Dafora opposed the application.

Mr Justice Sanfey, in his ruling, granted the injunction.

The case returned before the judge on Wednesday when Rossa Fanning SC, for Dafora, said his client would be appealing the decision and was separately looking for a stay on an award of costs to Dunnes.

The judge granted the stay on costs and following a request for clarification from Martin Hayden SC, for Dunnes, also said the stay did not apply to the order the court made prohibiting the sale of the the names items from the Mr Price store.

Earlier, following submissions from Mr Hayden, the judge also said he would look at the exact terms of his order over the next week before it is released to the parties.

He did not want to make “a general form of injunction” which might result in an application by Dunnes to sequester the assets of Dafora for breach of the court order.

The court also heard that an issue remains between the parties over Dunnes’ application that Dafora make an account of profits as a result of the breach of the lease condition.

Dafora opposes the application for reasons including that it says Dunnes did not look for damages in its action.

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