A Web Summit shareholder filing one of several lawsuits involving the tech events company is seeking financial information and other documents that he believes will support his case.
The High Court is hearing a discovery petition brought by David Kelly and his corporate body Graiguearidda Ltd, which owns his 12% share in Web Summit.
The court heard various documents were required by Graiguearidda for his claim that Web Summit funds may have been used in a defamation payment over a tweet by the company’s chief executive, Patrick Cosgrave, as well as to promote some of the tweets personal and frequently political Mr. Cosgrave. .
Graiguearidda is also looking for specific financial records going back several years to make an assessment of the company and Mr. Kelly’s stock.
Among Mr Kelly’s disputed claims is an allegation that he received an offer on behalf of Mr Cosgrave to have his stake purchased for 1.25 million euros. Mr Kelly claims this is a ‘gross understatement’ of his actions, his lawyer, Frank Kennedy, said on Tuesday.
The requests are denied and the court has heard the respondents believe that much of the documents requested are superfluous, too historical and/or irrelevant to the issues pleaded by him.
profit sharing agreement
Graiguearidda Ltd is suing Mr Cosgrave, his entity, Proto Roto Ltd, and Web Summit’s holding company Manders Terrace Ltd. Graiguearidda alleges oppression of shareholders’ rights under section 212 of the Companies Act 2014.
Mr Kelly has also launched separate personal proceedings against Mr Cosgrave and Manders Terrace alleging breach of a profit-sharing agreement.
Daire Hickey, whose Lazvisax Ltd retains its 7% stake in the tech conference company, has also brought independent personal proceedings alleging breach of the same agreement.
Through Lazvisax, he also filed a Section 212 action against Mr. Cosgrave, Proto Roto and Manders Terrace, claiming he was oppressed as a shareholder.
Manders Terrace has brought a separate action in the courts of Ireland and the United States, alleging that Mr Kelly has failed in his duty to the company.
Complaints in all cases are rejected.
On Tuesday, the court heard that several discovery motions, filed in various ways by parties involved in some of the actions, had been resolved without court assistance.
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However, Mr Kennedy said there remained a “clear conflict” between the independent experts involved in the actions taken by his clients, Mr Kelly and Graigueridda, over what level of documentation should be disclosed.
Mr. Kelly, the lawyer said, went to great lengths to obtain an analysis from a Grant Thornton financial adviser to support his discovery claim. It is not for the Respondents, or the Respondent’s independent expert, to limit the elements of assessment that Mr. Kelly’s expert deemed relevant and necessary to Graigueridda’s claim.
The information sought is “extremely targeted”, Mr. Kennedy continued, and if some of the material is found not to exist, the defendant can simply say so in an affidavit.
The court heard the respondents argue that certain historical financial information requested was not necessary for purposes of assessing the current value of the business.