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Dublin: 13 °C Wednesday 14 November, 2018

Judge questions credibility of claimant and holds him half-responsible for his injury

Mr Justice Raymond Groarke said the complainant had “a propensity of misinforming doctors regarding his injuries”.

Image: judge gavel image via Shutterstock

A 37-YEAR-OLD driver with “a rather colourful history of previous accidents” has now “resolved” six personal injury claims for a total of just under €120,000, the Circuit Civil Court was told yesterday.

Martin Fox, of Hartstown, Dublin 15, was said by Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke to have “a propensity of misinforming doctors regarding his injuries”.

Barrister Ivan Daly, counsel for Dunn’s Seafare Limited, when cross-examining Fox, read out a list of his previous claims, settlements and awards totalling just over €114,000, some of which, Daly alleged, he failed to divulge to doctors he had attended.

Daly, who appeared with Ennis and Associates Solicitors, told the court Fox had another outstanding claim which was currently with the Injuries Board for assessment.

Judge Groarke told John Nolan, counsel for Fox, that he accepted his client had injured his left foot in a defective gully while delivering fish to Dunn’s Seafare Limited, in Jamestown Business Park, Finglas, Dublin.

The judge said that in determining Mr Fox’s €60,000 claim before the court he wished to make an observation on the credibility of the plaintiff which, he said, to some degree coloured his view of the case.

Judge Groarke said he had been satisfied there had been no attempt made by Mr Fox to mislead the court in the case before him but given the manner in which he had dealt with queries from doctors regarding his previous history he had to seriously question his credibility.

He was satisfied Fox, who in his own words had visited Dunn’s Seafare yard on thousands of occasions, had been tripped by a defective shore in the centre of the yard and had fallen. In the court’s view Dunn’s Seafare was liable in that it had been negligent in the layout of the shore when their yard was constructed .

“The plaintiff was extremely familiar with the yard and this was a very noticeable gully.  Mr Fox had a duty to keep a look-out and I am holding him 50-50 with regard to responsibility,” Judge Groarke said.

“Given what I have said about credibility I will award him the sum of €6,000 which, together with €5,107 agreed special damages amounts to €11,107 the half of which is €5,522,” he said.

The judge told Nolan, who appeared with Tracey Solicitors, that he would award District Court costs with a certificate for council and his forensic engineer in the case.

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Ray Managh

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