Unhappy customer’s court case rejected

editorial image

An unhappy customer’s High Court action against a furniture trader has been dismissed for being “vexatious”.

James Joseph Rooney’s lawsuit over the purchase of a sofa, chair, table and rug also amounted to an abuse of process, a judge held.

Mr Rooney brought proceedings against Kieran Kelly, trading as JKL Furniture Warehouse, following previous unsuccessful claims.

The case centred on goods he bought back in the spring of 2010.

He alleged that he was the victim of fraud and deceit, and that what he bought was not fit for purpose.

His complaints included: the table fell apart after a week; the design on the rug was coming off, and that the leather sofa supplied was in fact plastic.

Mr Kelly vehemently denied any wrongdoing.

The claim brought against him had already been dismissed by a small claims court and a district judge.

However, in July last year Mr Rooney wrote to the businessman stating: “If you don’t give me my money back, I will get the High Court to issue this writ against you.”

Following commencement of those proceedings the defendant sought to have the case struck out for being an abuse of process.

Ruling on that High Court application, Master Bell pointed out that an adjudication was previously reached on allegations about the quality of the goods.

“I inevitably conclude therefore that these second set of proceedings are in effect an attempt to relitigate the same or essentially the same issue that was decided in previous proceedings before the Small Claims Court,” he said.

In a newly published judgment the Master held that the proceedings amounted to an abuse of process.

So-called vexatious proceedings were also defined as those with little or no basis in law, but which subjects the defendant to inconvenience, harassment and expense out of all proportion to any potential gain for the claimant.

Master Bell added: “I have also concluded that the plaintiff’s action falls within that category of proceedings described as vexatious litigation

“I therefore have no hesitation in reaching the conclusion that I must dismiss the plaintiff’s action and order costs of the action to the defendant”.