The detail of a €4m claim by film director Jim Sheridan and his wife, Fran, over alleged defective works on their luxury seafront home in Dalkey, Co Dublin, has been challenged in the High Court.
Barrister Marcus Dowling, representing one of eight defendants being sued by the Sheridans, yesterday asked Mr Justice Frank Clarke not to allow the couple to expand on their original claim.
He told the court that the original Statement of Claim delivered by the couple’s legal team in December 2008 had last month been stretched to include allegations of negligence not previously listed.
The Sheridans claim that as a result of negligence on the part of various contractors and professionals engaged in the building of their four-bedroomed home, “Martha’s Vineyard” on Coliemore Road, Dalkey, the house had suffered from extensive water damage.
They allege the damage, allegedly caused by the ingress of water, frustrated efforts to sell the property in 2007 at a time when it would have achieved a price in the region of €7m.
They claim two potential purchasers who were aware of the water problem had pulled out and that the property was now worth between only €3m and €4.5m.
Mr Dowling, who appeared for architects De Blacam and Meagher, St Catherine’s Lane West, Dublin, who is the second defendant in a list of eight, said the loss of opportunity of sale constituted the bulk of the Sheridan’s claim.
Earlier the court was told the Sheridans intended their home, the site of a former fisherman’s cottage they bought in 1997, to be one of the finest and most spectacular coastal properties in Ireland and were now servicing mortgages on two exceptionally expensive properties.
They had another property at St Mary’s Road, Ballsbridge.
Mr Dowling told the court yesterday that a London-based company, Gilmac Building Services Ltd., now insolvent and no longer participating in the litigation, was “recognised by everybody as the villains of the peace who had made a complete mess in building the house”.
He said new particulars of the alleged cause of water ingress, other than alleged defective waterproof concrete used in the construction, had been served on De Blacam and Meagher only last month and included an all-new extended claim against his clients.
Michael Vallely, counsel for Cementaid (UK) Ltd and Cementaid, Dublin, told the court that experts had identified 17 water ingress issues which had nothing to do with the concrete supplied by his clients.
Other companies being sued, and who fully deny and defend all claims against them, are Simon Hollingworth and Associates Ltd., London; Walsh Goodfellow Consulting and Structural Engineers, Dublin; Moortown Construction (Ireland) Ltd., Co Mayo and Moortown Construction Ltd., West Yorkshire.
Judge Clarke will on Friday rule on the admissibility of the new list of particulars alleged by the Sheridans.