Sean Dunne’s lawyer claims ‘justice delayed is justice denied’
Posted on 27th April 2020 at 20:07
Bankruptcy trustee says representative engaged in ‘blatant forum shopping’ in US
Expressing concern that “justice delayed is justice denied”, bankrupt developer Sean Dunne’s lawyer is seeking a status call with the judge who will make a key ruling in his bid to block dispersal of certain funds to settle his long-running US bankruptcy case.
Attorney Luke McGrath sent US district judge Analisa Torres a letter dated Friday in which he expressed understanding for the court’s slowness in acting given the Covid-19 crisis, while asking for a status call with her.
“The passage of time may lead to ‘a justice delayed equals justice denied’ situation,” Mr McGrath said in the letter.
At issue is Mr Dunne’s legal action against his grown son from his first marriage, John Dunne. The action seeks to prevent the younger Mr Dunne from allowing use of $14 million to settle a US jury verdict last year finding the elder Mr Dunne fraudulently transferred millions of euro in assets to his then-wife Gayle Killilea to evade creditors. John Dunne is also a defendant in the case. The money, Sean Dunne alleges in the action, is intended to benefit his four minor children from his marriage to Ms Killilea. The couple are now divorced.
“The core issue in the state court complaint . . . is the unlawful use of minors’ trust funds in the sum of $14,000,000 to pay a judgment and settlement related to plaintiffs’ mother and step-brother,” Mr McGrath said in the letter.
The bankruptcy trustee has dismissed as untrue Sean Dunne’s claims that the funds were to benefit his minor children.
Sean Dunne filed the action in January after learning Ms Killilea, who was ordered by the jury to surrender €18.1 million to his bankruptcy estate for distribution to creditors, had reached a deal to settle the case using proceeds from the sale of Walford, Ireland’s most expensive home. The funds were in a Cypriot special use vehicle called Yesreb controlled by John Dunne, leading Sean Dunne to sue his son to prevent their dispersal. The money has since been transferred to an account controlled by the bankruptcy trustee, according to court papers.
Instead of filing the action in the US court in Connecticut where Sean Dunne’s case has played out for years, Mr McGrath sought an injunction in state court in New York city, where John Dunne lives. That led the bankruptcy trustee to accuse Mr McGrath of “blatant forum shopping”. The trustee successfully argued that the matter should be sent to US court in New York city, where Judge Torres will decide whether to send it back to state court or US court in Connecticut.
Mr McGrath’s office declined to comment on Monday. Lawyers for the trustee and John Dunne did not return voice mail messages seeking comment on Monday.
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