Irish composer Mick Kiely brings legal action against former company Hyph

Kiely founded Hyph in 2013 and the company grew to have locations in Dublin, Stockholm and Los Angeles

An Irish entrepreneur and composer who was recently granted a record award by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) for unfair dismissal has filed High Court proceedings seeking €176,000 in unpaid notice pay.

The case is the latest development in a legal dispute between Mick Kiely and Hyph, a company that he founded to build an AI-driven music composition platform.

According to his High Court filings, Mr Kiely states that his contract of employment with Hyph provided him with an annual salary of $383,999, equivalent to €353,429.84.

He was also entitled to a six-month notice period in the event the contract was terminated, in lieu of which the company could make a lump-sum payment.

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He claims the company owes him €176,714 in respect of the notice period, and has asked for the court to make a judgment in his favour, including interest and costs.

Mr Kiely founded Hyph in 2013 and the company grew to have locations in Dublin, Stockholm and Los Angeles. It also hired a number of experienced Swedish executives, such as Max Renard, Anders Thorsell, and Anders Carlsson, who has written hits for Westlife, Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, Celine Dion, Bon Jovi, Ricky Martin and Jedward.

In a lawsuit in California, Mr Kiely alleges he was “improperly [ousted]” from the company in 2021, and “duped into selling certain of [his] shares in that company at a significant discount”.

After he was ousted, Mr Kiely initiated litigation against the company in California and the WRC in Dublin. In February, the WRC awarded Mr Kiely €464,000 having concluded the trust between him and the company “was breached in a particularly cruel manner”, and that the conduct of the company was “oppressive and caused very significant financial hardship having regard to the manner of his dismissal”.

Mr Kiely had claimed his “dismissal was contrived based on an allegation that his visa status did not comply with US law”, and that he struggled to mitigate his losses because of a non-compete clause imposed by the company.

Brian Dalton, the WRC adjudicator, concluded that “the manner of his summary dismissal did impact on his ability to mitigate his loss and extended the time for him to commence his new venture”. Hyph has since brought an appeal against that award to the Labour Court.

Meanwhile, in the US, Mr Kiely is involved in two cases involving the company, one in California and one in Delaware. In December 2023, the judge in the California case ruled the state was not the proper jurisdiction. The judge stayed the case rather than dismissing it outright because Mr Kiely told the court he was planning litigation in Sweden, though so far no proceedings have been initiated there.

The Delaware case centres on what the company claims are two unpaid loans, one of $210,000 and the other for $60,000. Mr Kiely is defending that case.