Director Jim Sheridan sues law firm over sale of £10m former home

Oscar-nominated filmmaker Jim Sheridan is suing a law firm involved in the sale of his former multi-million dollar beachfront home.

The High Court action is the latest dispute Mr Sheridan has been involved in over the property known as Martha’s Vineyard, in Dalkey.

He bought the property for 10 million euros in 2008 and spent several million euros to build a 3,400 square foot villa.

However, it was an unfortunate investment as the property was plagued with structural issues and he sold it for €2.3million in 2016.

A number of legal disputes related to ownership still need to be resolved.

The latest of these relate to disputed allegations that solicitor John Murchan failed to disclose the full client file relating to the sale to Mr Sheridan and that he unlawfully withheld €68,756 belonging to the filmmaker and to his late wife, Fran.

Mr Murchan, who practices as Murchan and Company Solicitors in Dublin, denies the allegations.

The sale was initially led by another Dublin law firm, Kirwan McKeown James.

Mr. Sheridan and his wife waived their services and Mr. Murchan was hired to finalize the transaction.

Mr. Sheridan claims that Mr. Murchan breached the terms of a 2014 agreement by not releasing the entire client file relating to the sale.

He also claims that Mr Murchan demanded payment of an outstanding amount of €21,280 before releasing the file.

However, although this was paid for, only “a partial file” was provided, Mr Sheridan alleges.

He says the partial file only contained correspondence and documents dating from after mid-2016, when the transfer of ownership transaction began in July 2014.

Mr Sheridan said that serious problems had arisen in relation to the transfer of ownership and that it was essential that he obtain the complete file to establish where the legal responsibility lies for various matters.

In his statement, he also alleges that Mr Murchan had kept €68,756 belonging to him and his wife since 2014 and refused to repay the sum despite requests to do so.

Mr. Sheridan alleges that Mr. Murchan asserted that the money was the subject of an undertaking provided by the lawyer to Kirwan McKeown James.

However, the filmmaker claims that no commitment was ever made.

The case came to the High Court yesterday, when Mr Sheridan brought a motion for judgment against Mr Murchan in default of appearance.

However, Judge Paul Coffey was advised by Cormac Ó Dúlacháin SC, for Mr. Murchan, that the motion could be struck out on consent and that the record Mr. Sheridan was concerned about had been returned to him earlier.

Mr Sheridan, who represented himself in court, said Mr Murchan appeared last Friday and emailed him with his defence.

In his defence, Mr Murchan denied Mr Sheridan’s allegations and said he carried out his contractual obligations in a competent and professional manner.

He said he complied with requests for the files in 2018 and last year and on both occasions they were given to Mr Sheridan’s wife.

He said he was entitled to demand payment of the fees before releasing the file.

Mr Murchan also said he legally held €60,208, not €68,756 as Mr Sheridan alleged, based on a recognizance to Kirwan McKeown James.

This company is suing Mr. Sheridan for €68,000 which it claims to be owed to him. Mr Sheridan maintains that there was a fixed fee agreement to charge him and his wife €5,000.

That row was due for a hearing at the Office of Legal Costs Arbitrators in March, but was referred to the High Court after Mr Sheridan made allegations of negligence, which the firm denies.

About Bernice Dyer

Check Also

Law firm signs long-term lease at Paramus’ Nexus 17

Nexus 17 at Paramus is a pair of five-story, 250,000 square foot office buildings located …