‘We will, obviously keep members fully informed as matters progress.’
Good morning Allan. Mrs. Mortonjag and several other members of the G.M.S.T. are eagerly awaiting your promised update. Has there been any progress please?
Secondly Allan, please confirm that Mortonjag is again a paid up member of the Trust as you have recently taken £10 from Mortonjag’s account.
THIRDLY ALLAN, AND SINCE YOU PERSISTENTLY BLANK ALL ATTEMPTS TO ENTER DIALOGUE THROUGH CONVENTIONAL MEANS – WHICH LEGAL FIRM WAS THE SOURCE OF THE INFORMATION SUPPLIED TO THE MEMBERSHIP IN THE FOLLOWING CIRCULAR, AS MR. HARVEY OF BLAIR AND BRYDEN HAD NO KNOWLEDGE OF THIS LETTER LAST DECEMBER, AND ASKED ‘WHO IS FEENEY?’
HOPEFULLY YOU HAVEN’T BEEN TELLING THE MEMBERS WEE PORKY PIES ALLAN!
Message Received: Oct 07 2016, 08:50 AM From: firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Court case – Greenock Morton Supporters Society Limited v James Gallacher7 October 2016
Dear fellow Morton Supporter,
At the recent AGM, the board gave notice that they proposed to hold a special general meeting to consider and discuss the position in regard to our small claims action against Mr Gallacher. Since then we have had legal advice that such a meeting would be inappropriate as we would be discussing matters relating to the case which are not really for the semi-public forum that a general meeting inevitably is. In particular, there is the potential for everything discussed at the meeting to reach Mr Gallacher’s defence team and it is simply not in the best interests of the trust for that to happen.
Your board believe that that would be an inevitable consequence especially in the light of new members who joined after the AGM and who may potentially be sympathetic to Mr Gallacher or expelled member, Dr Ernest Newall who is leading Mr Gallacher’s defence.
We are writing to appraise you of the background to the case, much of which has been discussed at previous meetings
As members will know, the Supporters Trust raised a small claims action against James Gallacher in the wake of the Stars of 79 dinner in 2009. His “cause” was taken up by Dr Ernest Newall who at the time was also a member of the trust (since expelled) and we believe he organised funding for legal costs in relation to the defence. Jim Gallacher signed a trust deed for creditors in 2010 and this has had the effect, amongst other things, of putting the proceedings in hold until recently. Jim Gallacher, Dr Newall and a number of others are claiming that they expect to win the case leaving the trust exposed to significant costs and figures of £20-30,000 have been bandied about. In response to that:
Your board believe and have legal advice that we have a solid case and that a successful defence of all elements by Mr Gallacher is extremely unlikely. Even if there were a successful defence of all elements, legal advice is that costs that might be awarded against us are nothing like the figures being mentioned. In a small claims action which this is, generally costs are limited to 10% of the sums sued for which would limit our exposure to here to around £230! A sheriff has some discretion here if he believes that either party has acted unreasonably but it is not believed that there is any way that the trust’s actions can be regarded in that way.
Mr Gallacher’s solicitors have averred that this should not be a small claims action, rather an action of count, reckoning and payment. This has already been rejected once at an earlier hearing by the court but if they were successful this time, such an action has a higher scale of charges. That of course is a two way street and would mean potentially higher costs awarded against Mr Gallacher if he is found to owe the trust anything.
Jim Gallacher through his solicitor is seeking to be indemnified against the costs of a successful defence of this action by the operation of clause 105 of our rules which essentially says that any officer of the society is to be indemnified losses unless as a result of his own dishonesty or gross negligence. He is also to be indemnified against the costs of any legal action in connection with his duties where it is successfully defended.
In this respect, legal advice is that clause 105 is unlikely to be enforceable both in terms of the facts of the case but also in terms of the enforceability of such a clause in Scots Law.
Your board has considered the option of settling the case on an agreed basis before it calls in court on 2 November next. This would involve a complete and public exoneration of Mr Gallacher and a “substantial” payment towards his costs. At our AGM we made enquiries of Jim Gallacher who was present as to what “substantial” meant and had a response to the effect that his costs at the moment were approximately £20,000 and they were pursuing full recovery. It was for us to make an offer and it would be considered. We have come to the view that we cannot offer a sum which would be acceptable to both the trust and Jim Gallacher/Dr Newall.
This means that we expect to go to trial on the case which has been set down for 2 November next. It is our view that, in all the circumstances, this is our only realistic choice. We will, obviously keep members fully informed as matters progress.