A firm of architects is entitled to seek a winding-up order against a company which it claims owes fees of almost €1 million for a hospital project in Donegal, the High Court has ruled.
Horan Keogan Ryan Ltd (HKR) formerly based in Dublin, but now with headquarters in London served a notice on D&F Partnership Ltd (D&F) last June seeking payment of fees and interest totalling €935,295, the Sunday Business Post report.
It warned that it would apply to have D&F wound up if the money was not paid within 21 days.
D&F asked the High Court to prevent the architects presenting the winding-up petition. It said it was ‘‘manifestly clear’’ that the money was owed by another company, and there was substantial dispute about the debt, so it was inappropr iate to use this ‘‘swingeing provision’’.
The architects had sent D&F proposals in April 2007 for the development of a private hospital in Letterkenny, Co Donegal, said the paper.
The letter set out a scale of fees based on an estimated construction value of e32 million. A director of the Health Partnership ^ the business name of D&F ^ confirmedHKR’s appointment. The architects submitted invoices to NorthWest Health Services, c/o the Health Partnership in Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin. Six invoices totalling e596,345 were paid ^ four in the name of North West Healthcare Development Co Ltd and two by D&F.
Noel Daly, a director of D&F, said the payment of the two invoices by D&F was ‘‘an exceptional situation’’. He said the architects’ fees depended on investor funding and on the project’s final value, which would be ‘‘substantially less’’ than e32 million.
He also said thatHKRwas a consultancy with just five employees, which had neither the resources nor expertise to develop and build a hospital, and was being targeted ‘‘simply because it is a mark’’.
Jerry Ryan of HKR said D&F had accepted that the fees were due, and there was nothing in the original agreement making fees dependent on third-party funding.There was no reference in the agreement toHKRacting as consultant or agent, and HKR had never agreed to accept North WestHealth Care Ltd as its client. Mr Justice Sean Ryan, in his judgment, said it was ‘‘undeniable’’ that the Health Partnership had engaged HKRon the terms in the letter of April 2007. The architects had sent invoices to NorthWest Health Services because they had been told to do so.
He said D&F had never stated that it was acting as agent for anyone else and there was ‘‘no basis for considering the April 2007 agreement as anything other thanwhat it says’’. The fact that there was a dispute about some of the debt was not a reason for preventing the petition, he said. He refused the application for an injunction.