An extraordinary legal battle between one of the country’s largest suppliers of building materials and its former CEO and one of its main competitors has been settled.
The commercial court case, issued by Home Project Center Ltd (HPC), trading as TJ O’Mahony, C&D Providers and PH Ross, focused on claims that its former managing director, Dennis O’Connor, owned a 10 per cent stake sold Fosglow Ltd to a competitor for €1.1m and shared trade secrets.
The directors of HPC refused to register the transfer of Mr O’Connor’s shares to Fosglow, which owns Core Builders Merchants, the company formerly known as Clondalkin Builders Providers.
Under the terms of the settlement, Mr. O’Connor must pay HPC damages of €130,000 and be prevented from disclosing his trade or business secrets. HPC is the second largest building materials company in the country after the Grafton Group, operating from 18 locations and employing almost 400 people.
Mr O’Connor (50) from Aghadoe, Killarney, County Kerry left HPC in January last year after nine years with the company. During his time there, he had built up a 10 percent share as part of an employee stock option plan.
Eight months after his departure, however, he was sued by HPC, alleging he had sold the interest in Fosglow and shared trade secrets with her.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Mr. O’Connor has been commercial director of Core Builders Providers since June of last year.
The court was told that Mr. O’Connor had agreed to protect the confidentiality of HPC’s information under a severance agreement.
However, HPC alleged that between November 2020 and January 2021 Mr. O’Connor transmitted confidential and commercially sensitive company documents, including information about his customers, operations, plans and employees, to a private email address prior to sharing trade secrets with Fosglow.
HPC and its directors Sean Moran, Emily Moran and Sean McNamara sued Mr O’Connor, Fosglow Ltd and its owners, Foxrock husband and wife Alan Hegarty and Emma Maye. Ms Maye is a daughter of the late Dundrum Town Center developer Liam Maye.
Fosglow later instituted proceedings of his own against HPC, the Morans and Mr McNamara.
When the dispute was raised before Justice Denis McDonald on Monday, he was told the matter had been settled.
Under the terms of a consent order, the court found that the HPC directors’ decision not to register the transfer of the shares was a lawful exercise of their powers.
In addition, judgment against Mr. O’Connor for the sum of €130,000 in favor of HPC and its directors in relation to an action for damages.
Injunctions have also been agreed to prevent Mr. O’Connor from violating HPC’s trust and disclosing, copying, keeping or using any of the company’s trade or business secrets or confidential information or documents.
Fosglow declined to comment.
https://www.independent.ie/business/irish/lawsuit-against-former-managing-director-of-builders-providers-settled-42058996.html Lawsuit against former general manager of property development company settled