Judge urges family members in dispute over Claddagh rings to resolve differences


A High Court judge has urged a family whose firm sells and makes jewellery including the world-famous Claddagh rings to make renewed efforts to resolve their differences.

The dispute involves brothers Andrew and Philip Fried, shareholders of Claddagh Jewellers Ltd, which operates stores in Galway and Dublin as well as selling its products online.

The advice to try and resolve the row was made by Mr Justice Mark Sanfey who in two judgments made orders on Thursday in relation to the ongoing and lengthy disputes, which went to mediation but were unsuccessful.

In one set of proceedings Andrew Fried, of Leac Lian, Barna, Co Galway, claimed Philip Fried who had in conjunction with their father Laszlo, who is not a shareholder nor a director of the firm, attempted to interfere with and frustrate the business of Claddagh Jewellers Ltd.

The claims were denied, and in his defence Philip Fried claimed he was the one in the company who was being Allegedly oppressed.

In his judgment, Mr Justice Sanfey said that shortly before those proceedings were due to heard last month Andrew Fried’s legal team came off record, due to a lack of instructions from their client.

Andrew Fried, the judge said, did not attend court when that set of proceedings was heard.

Arising out of that non attendance Philip Fried’s lawyers Martin Hayden and Stephen Moran, sought various orders against Andrew Fried, including one directing that Philip be restored as a company director, and that Andrew immediately hand over all of the company’s assets.

Other orders sought include that Andrew Fried account for all monies spent by the firm.

In his ruling, the judge said he was satisfied he had jurisdiction to make the orders sought by Philip Fried, and to strike out the action brought by Andrew Fried.

The judge said he was prepared to make an order directing that Philip Fried be restored as a director of the company Claddagh Jewellers Ltd, which the judge said was appropriate.

However, the judge declined to make other orders sought in relation to the company until the matter returns before the court later this month.

In separate, but related, proceedings against Andrew Fried and Claddagh Ring Ltd, Philip Fried, of Thornberry, Barna, Galway, claims he is the sole owner of the trademark “Claddagh Jewellers”.

In that action, Philip Fried seeks various orders and declarations including one restraining his brother and the company from infringing what he claims is his trademark.

Andrew Fried accepted the trademark had been registered in his brother’s name, but denied Philip had ever owned it.

In a ruling in relation to those proceedings, Mr Justice Sanfey said he was satisfied to grant Philip Fried an injunction, which is to remain in place pending the final outcome of the proceedings, restraining Andrew from using or infringing the mark ‘Claddagh Jewellers.”

Mr Justice Sanfey, who said that he could only urge the brothers to make renewed efforts to resolve matters without further recourse to outings in the court which would likely harm the business, deplete its resources, damage its reputation and put employees jobs at risk.

Another set of proceedings brought by financial fund Promontoria Aran Ltd, and receivers over a premises in Galway City in relation to a company called Jaszai Ltd, linked to Mr Laszlo Fried remain pending before Mr Justice Sanfey, and will return before the judge later this month.

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