Fewer court applications from Trump than Law Society president facing defamation action, judge told

Maura and Patrick Derivan are being sued for €50,000 damages by Co Tipperary accountant Bobby Fitzgerald

Donald Trump has had fewer court applications relating to his cases before the US courts than the current president of the Law Society has brought in defending a defamation of character claim brought against her and her husband by a Co Tipperary accountant, a judge has heard.

Maura and Patrick Derivan, who are being sued for €50,000 damages by Bobby Fitzgerald, had asked Judge John O’Connor in the Circuit Civil Court to postpone a trial date because it clashed with a conference in Paris that she felt she had to attend in her official capacity.

Judge O’Connor, having been told that the 14-year-old defamation case had been transferred from the southeastern circuit to Dublin and mentioned in courts 24 or 25 times, told the Derivans’ legal team that the “case cannot continue in this fashion any longer”.

Although clashing with the annual conference of the International Bar Association in the French capital, Judge O’Connor said he would allow the fixed trial dates of November 1st and 2nd to remain in place.


“It has gone on too long and the dates assigned for the hearing of the case must stand,” he said.

Attempting to frustrate

The action was taken against the Derivans by Mr Fitzgerald, a chartered accountant and head partner of Fitzgerald Fleming Long of Carrick-on-Suir, in 2009. In an earlier application, the Derivans were criticised for attempting to frustrate the hearing of the action against them. The couple practice as Derivan Sexton and Co Solicitors.

In the latest application to postpone the hearing until after November 11th, which is Ms Derivan’s last day as Law Society president, solicitor Neil Brehany for a third defendant, Bernard Brophy, told Judge O’Connor: “I can think of another president whose litigation has not brought him before the courts as often as president Derivan.”

Mr Brehany, of Sean Ormond Solicitors, Waterford, objected “very strenuously” to a change of dates and said notice of the Paris conference had been up on the Law Society’s website long before the November trial dates were selected. He said details of the association’s annual conference in Mexico next year had already been published on the society’s website.

The case arises from written correspondence allegedly initiated and published by Derivan Sexton and Co in matters relating to their client, Mr Brophy, concerning the proposed purchase of a development unit by him and involving Mr Fitzgerald’s company.

A full defence, denying all and any issues relating to the alleged defamation against Mr Fitzgerald, has been entered on behalf of the Derivans and Mr Brophy, of Owning, Piltown, Co Kilkenny, previously referred to as “the man in the middle”.