Building firm sues Irish Asphalt for alleged deceit over product ‘not fit for purpose’

A building company has sued Irish Asphalt Limited (IAL) for loss and damage for alleged deceit over putting on the market an in-fill product when it allegedly knew it was “not fit for purpose” and contained excessive amounts of reactive pyrite.

James Elliott Construction Ltd says, arising from its use of the in-fill product supplied by IAL, legal action has been brought against it by St Canice’s Boys National School and Forest Tosara Ltd.

It is also concerned about potential claims relating to some 14 other building projects including Mulhuddart Enterprise Centre, Power City at Coolmine, Santry Student Accommodation and projects including at Blanchardstown, Donabate and Park West.

It claims Irish Asphalt Limited (IAL) misrepresented the quality of the product sold by it and either knew, or was reckless, whether its representation of the product was true or false.

James Elliott Construction is also suing Lagan Holdings Ltd, with registered offices at Clarendon Dock, Belfast, and three of its directors — Kevin Lagan, Hampton Park, Belfast; Terry Lagan, Ulverton Road, Dalkey, Co Dublin, and John Gallagher, Farmleigh Close, Stillorgan, Co Dublin.

It alleges the other defendants are liable to it over allegedly knowingly procuring the alleged deceit of IAL. It is alleged the three Lagan director defendants were the directors of IAL when allegedly fraudulent misrepresentations were made and had authorised the alleged mispresentations when they knew of test results concerning the quality of the rock used.

It claims Mr Gallagher was managing director of IAL at the relevant time and was a very experienced engineer with an “in-depth” understanding of aggregates.

JEC is claiming an indemnity against the Lagan defendants in relation to claims made against James Elliott Construction over the in-fill material.

The Elliott company is basing its claim on material that emerged from other legal proceedings relating to the use of in-fill.

The cost of the product supplied to it by IAL was some €525,582 but the potential value of legal claims against it is “many multiples” of that, James Elliott Construction claims.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly yesterday granted an application by Bill Shipsey SC, for James Elliott Construction, to fast-track the hearing of the case in the Commercial Court.

Brian O’Moore SC, for the Lagan defendants, said his side would consider bringing an application requiring James Elliott Construction to provide security for costs of the case.

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