Mr. Justice Michael Twomey of the Irish High Court recently delivered a seminal judgment in the area of Company Law, in which he found in favour of William Powers in the case taken by him against Greymountain Management Limited (In Liquidation), Ryan Coates, Liam Grainger, David Cartu and Jonathan Cartu.  James Bardon, a Partner in Crowley Millar, represented Mr. Powers with John O’Regan B.L and Marcus Dowling S.C.  Michael Jennings of BDO Northern Ireland provided expert evidence on behalf of Mr. Powers. 

In his judgment, Mr. Justice Twomey considered whether the directors and shadow directors of Greymountain should be allowed to evade their responsibility for that company’s unlawful actions by hiding behind the veil of incorporation.  He noted that to date, no Irish Court has held that the corporate veil should be pierced in order to allow directors to be personally held liable for the acts or omissions of their company.  This well-established legal principle emanated from the case of Salomon v Salomon in 1897, where it was held that a company is a separate legal person.

In his judgement, Mr. Justice Twomey concluded that while lifting the corporate veil was not done lightly, it seemed to him that in the circumstances of this particular case, it was entirely warranted.  He therefore held the directors and shadow directors of Greymountain personally liable to Mr. Powers for the loss he sustained as a result of their actions. 

Mr. Justice Twomey determined that the shadow directors, David Cartu and Jonathan Cartu, had knowingly siphoned off funds from Greymountain, which led to it being unable to discharge its liabilities to Mr Powers.  He found that the company directors, Mr. Coates and Mr. Grainger, were in complete dereliction of their duty not to be aware of what the company was doing. 

Further he found that they abrogated their duties to the Cartu brothers who used that opportunity to defraud investors, one of whom was Mr. Powers.  Mr. Justice Twomey concluded that this impropriety and dereliction of duty on their part was of such a degree as to justify both Mr. Coates and Mr. Grainger being liable to Mr. Powers for the return of $124,027 to him.  The Judge made a similar Order against the Cartu brothers.  

The costs of the proceedings were awarded against the Defendants.  

The judgment can be found here

If you have any queries relating to the judgment, please contact James Bardon, Partner at


Crowley Millar Disclaimer:  This is a general information note and is intended for brief guidance and information only.  It does not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as a substitute for legal or other professional advices.  Such advice should always be taken before acting on any of the matters referenced in this information note.