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Case Details

Case Details
National ID [2016] IEHC 456
Member State Ireland
Common Name O’Meara v Goodbody Stockbrokers
Decision type Other
Decision date 29/07/2016
Court High Court
Subject
Plaintiff John O’Meara
Defendant Goodbody Stockbrokers
Keywords misrepresentation, unfair commercial practices

Distance Selling Directive, link Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, link

Replies to particulars deemed inadequate in an action against stockbrokers. Sufficient detail is required so as to let a party know in broad outline the case it will have to meet.
In January, 2008, Mr O’Meara acquired shares in Anheuser-Busch. He claimed that as a result of the actions of the defendants, he missed out on a rights offer that was extended to existing Anheuser-Busch shareholders. He instituted proceedings claiming that the defendants are liable to him for losses sustained by virtue of alleged breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, breach of duty of care, misrepresentation, loss of opportunity and unjust enrichment.

As part of the pre-trial proceedings, Goodbody Stockbrokers served a notice seeking particulars on 13th January 2016. On 19th January, the solicitors for Mr O’Meara responded with replies. Goodbody Stockbrokers maintain that the replies received are inadequate and brought an application for further and better particulars.
Is a Plaintiff required to put forward details of the claims made against the Defendant when preparing a statement of claim and replies to particulars?
The High Court granted an order requiring a shareholder in a public limited company to provide more detail in replies to a notice for further and better particulars, where he had brought proceedings against a number of defendants including his stockbrokers alleging that their wrongdoing had led him to miss out on the benefit of a rights issue.

It was held that the particulars sought were a legitimate and reasonable attempt by Goodbody Stockbrokers to get an appropriately informed sense of the case that they would have to meet. Barrett J. noted that even the most basic information relevant to the case being brought was not put forward by the Plaintiff, including information relating to the loss and damage he had allegedly suffered as a result of the defendants conduct. He also declined to detail his claim for misrepresentation against the financial services provider.

He stated that “The effect of Mr O’Meara’s statement of claim, coupled with the above replies to particulars, is that Goodbody Stockbrokers are left at this time with a ‘dot to dot’ impression of the case that is being made against them; it behoves Mr O’Meara now to draw the lines between those dots, so that the broad outline of the case he seeks to make is clear, with the full colour of that case to be sketched at the court of trial.”
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The court ordered that further and better particulars be provided