Court dismisses man's case alleging he wrote song on U2 album

High Court reporters

A €12 million damages claim brought by a man who allege he wrote a song on one of U2's albums has been dismissed by the High Court.

Maurice Kiely had sued U2 Ltd, a limited liability company linked to the band, alleging the song ‘A Man and A Woman’ was written by him in 1998.

He claimed he performed it for US model Cindy Crawford, and it was included on U2’s album How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb.

U2 Ltd denied his claims and had argued the lyrics were written by Bono, otherwise known as Paul Hewson, and the music was composed by all four members of the band.

On Friday, Mr Justice Mark Sanfey agreed, following an application by the defendant to strike out the entire proceedings.

Paul Coughlan Bl, for U2 Ltd, said Mr Kiely, who had been representing himself in the action, had brought a motion seeking 'interrogatories' or answers to certain questions from the defendant.

This, counsel said, was the second time Mr Kiely had brought such a motion in the action. His previous application had been refused by the court.

Counsel said Mr Kiely, in response to communications from the defendant's lawyers, had said he was not continuing with the action.

Mr Kiely had also asked the defendant's lawyers to stop harassing him, and only to contact him if they wished to pay him money.

Counsel said that Mr Kiely had also said in some emails sent earlier this month that he would not be in court when the matter was listed for mention, but in other correspondence had indicated that he might attend.

Counsel said Mr Kiely was not in court when the matter was called, but had been in court earlier on Friday.

Counsel said that given the circumstances, added to the fact that his client has brought a motion seeking to dismiss the action over the plaintiff's alleged failure to make full and proper discovery, the case should be dismissed.

'Still hasn't found what he was looking for'

Mr Justice Sanfey adjourned the matter for a period to see if Mr Kiely could be located and if he wished to make any submissions about the application to strike out the case.

When Mr Coughlan returned to court, he said Mr Kiely had been emailed about the strike out application, but could not be located in the precincts of the Four Courts.

In reply, the judge asked counsel if it was the case that he "still hasn't found what he was looking for".

Ruling on the defendant's application, the judge said he was satisfied that there had been an amount of "flip-flopping" by Mr Kiely.

The judge said the case had been listed for mention before the court on Friday to allow Mr Kiely an opportunity to clarify if he wished to progress his claim or not.

Based on the contents of the emails and the fact that the plaintiff had opted not to appear when the matter was listed before him, the judge said the proceedings in their entirety should be dismissed.

The court noted that the defendant also had a motion pending before the court to have the matter dismissed over an alleged failure to comply with his discovery requirements.

The judge also said that U2 Ltd was entitled to an order that its legal costs be paid by Mr Kiely.

In his claim, Mr Kiely had alleged U2 was short of material for its 2004 album and that he entered into an oral agreement with the band's bassist Adam Clayton allowing the use of the song on the album on certain terms.

He further claimed the song would only be used on the album and would never be performed live by U2 or registered as their own composition.

A pretrial motion in the action came before Mr Justice Brian O'Moore last year, who dismissed Mr Kiely's bid to order U2 Ltd to answer pre-trial questions under oath, known as interrogatories.

Mr Kiely wanted several questions answered by Mr Clayton and the band regarding the song as part of his claim.

In his ruling, Mr Justice O'Moore said the plaintiff's application should fail due to the nature of the questions posed. The interrogatories are inappropriate and not ones the court should compel U2 Ltd to answer, the judge said.

He added that some of the interrogatories have “nothing whatsoever to do with” Mr Kiely’s case.

Afterwards, Mr Kiely indicated that he intended to appeal Mr Justice O'Moore's ruling.