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					LUCY McMULLAN -v- NOEL GRAHAM, OBO CUSHENDALL YOUTH CLUB, THE
NORTH EASTERN EDUCATION & LIBRARY BOARD AND NIGEL KEARNEY

Mr Justice Coghlin
The High Court
18 and 19 September 2001


In this action we acted on behalf of           The case opened before Mr Justice              received any treatment for a back
the North Eastern Education &                  Coghlin in the High Court on 18                injury until some 8 months after this
Library Board. The Plaintiff                   September 2001, when the Plaintiff             incident. Even the medical record
alleged that on 27 February 1990,              was then aged 25 years.                        following that attendance did not
when she was then 14 years of age,                                                            relate to the accident in question.
she was attending Cushendall Youth             The Plaintiff, in evidence, indicated
Club, when she was pulled from a               that one of the reasons that she               The Plaintiff also confirmed that
gymnasium stage onto the ground                decided to bring the claim was                 following the accident she
by the third defendant, Nigel                  because of the fact that her injuries          continued to use the Youth Club
Kearney.                                       were much more serious than she                and did not have any concerns
                                               had initially thought following the            about the level of supervision
In her proceedings, which were                 accident. However, no report of the            exercised while she did so. She
issued in her own name on 26                   accident was made to                           contended that when the supervisors
February 1997, the Plaintiff alleged           representatives supervising the hall           left the room on the date of her
inadequate supervision and a breach            on the date in question, nor was               accident there was horseplay after
of the Occupier’s Liability Act (NI)           there any attempt made to                      the event but this was not pleaded
1957. The Plaintiff alleged that she           communicate with any                           in her claim.
sustained soft tissue injuries to her          representatives from the Board or
low back, which exacerbated a pre-             the Youth Club following the                   After the end of the first day’s
existing weakness in a form of a               incident. The first time any notice            evidence, the Plaintiff agreed to
spondylolisthesis. She alleged that            was given of the accident was when             withdraw her claim. The Plaintiff
she required significant treatment             a letter of claim was received in              was legally aided and, therefore, on
over the years, resulting in a                 February 1997.                                 19 September 2001 Judgment was
posterior spinal fusion in April                                                              entered for the Defendants and the
1994 and further surgery in July               It was put to the Plaintiff that there         usual Order was made in respect of
1996.                                          was no record in her medical                   costs.
                                               records, indicating that she had



STEPHEN McINTYRE -v- KENDALL LIMITED


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Ballymena County Court on 21 September 2001
Deputy Judge Canavan
Ordinary Civil Bill - £15,000

The plaintiff was employed in the                and the work-station made it                 alleged, was lower than that shown
Defendant’s moulding department for              more arduous. There had been                 in the photographs.
17 years. In 1997 he was transferred             two engineer’s inspections.
to a new machine and, shortly                                                                 We applied, successfully, to the
thereafter, felt pain in his neck.               The Defendant’s engineer gave                Judge that the plaintiff had failed to
                                                 evidence that there was no                   establish a case and the Judge
He alleged specifically that he had to           problem with the height of the               acceded to our application. We
work at speed at a table set too high,           table.                                       were granted costs.
over which he had to stoop. He said
that he suffered excruciating neck               The Plaintiff gave highly
pain, like a nettle sting or numbing.            conflicting evidence and said that
This pain was absent at weekends.                the table, which was the subject
                                                 of the second inspection, was not
His engineer gave evidence at the trial          the one which he had been
that the work was a manipulative task            working at. His table, he




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GAVIN BOND -v- SEAN BOND
The High Court on 25 September 2001
Mr Justice Higgins
The High Court


The Plaintiff, who lives in Dungiven,            accident was not reported to the           that he heard a loud bang and the car
alleged that on 7 December 1998,                 Gardai until the following day,            then went out of control and
while travelling as a front seat                 and the Guards did not attend the          travelled towards the verge on the
passenger in his own car, which was              accident locus, and there was no           other side of the road, turned and
driven by his father, the Defendant,             Garda Report available.                    went over on the body a couple of
the car went off the road.                                                                  times.
                                                 The Plaintiff did not attend
The Plaintiff sustained a laceration to          hospital until 10 hours after the          The case came on for trial, in the
his forehead, with permanent scarring,           accident. Further, it transpired           High Court, before Mr Justice        on
a wedge compression fracture of L1               that the Plaintiff was disqualified        25 September 2001. On the
and loss of wages.                               from driving in Northern Ireland           morning of trial the Plaintiff
                                                 at the time of the accident.               withdrew his case and judgement
On investigation, it transpired that the                                                    was entered for the Defendant
accident occurred on a road near                 The Plaintiff alleged that he did          against the Plaintiff with no Order as
Drogheda, Co Louth at 2.30am. The                not see anything on the road, but          to costs.




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JOHANNE DOBBIN -v- DEBBIE PATTERSON T/A HAIR TRAFFIC
Belfast Recorder’s Court on 26 September 2001
His Honour Judge Rodgers
Civil Bill - £12,500

The Plaintiff was an employee of the             of the utmost importance. The              was that this exposure simply could
Defendants and alleged that she                  Defendant’s consultant                     not have given rise to dermatitis.
sustained a contact dermatitis, as a             Dermatologist gave evidence that
result of exposure to wet work,                  there was no record of a skin              Judge Rodgers dismissed the case,
between June and August 1996.                    complaint to the General                   stating that the Plaintiff had not
                                                 Practitioner while working with            established, on the balance of
She further alleged that the Defendant           the Defendant. There was a                 probabilities, that her injury had
had failed to provide her with                   diagnosis of dermatitis in May             occurred during the course of her
protective equipment, such as gloves             1997, but she was then working             employment with the Defendant.
and cream. The Defendant denied                  in a bar. Also, her employment             The Judge made strong reliance on
this.                                            records revealed that in the two           the medical records and it was clear,
                                                 months of her employment with              he said, that these recorded that her
Discovery of the Plaintiff’s General             the defendant, she had only                problem arose when she was
Practitioner’s medical notes and                 attended for a full 10 days. The           working in the bar.
records and employment records were              Defendant’s medical evidence




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PETER WILLIAM JAMES HAMILTON -v- WESTERN EDUCATION & LIBRARY
BOARD
Limavady County Court on 2 October 2001
Deputy Judge Keegan
Civil Bill - £3,000

The Plaintiff claimed £3,000                     Georgian wire rough-case                   had not complained to his employer
damages for injuries sustained during            window. He was using an                    with regard to the type of industrial
the course of his employment at                  adhesive material called                   gloves available. He had 10 years
Galliagh Youth Club, Derry on 17                 “Maximum.” He had difficulties,            experience as a Charge-Hand and 22
April 2000.                                      he alleged, as there were bars             years experience as an employee of
                                                 inside the windows as this was a           the Defendants.
He sustained cuts to his left index and          computer room. Further, he
middle fingers. The Plaintiff alleged            alleged that the gloves were               The Judge said that he found no
against the Defendants that they had             unsuitable as “Maximum” would              evidence of negligence or breach of
failed to provide a safe system of               not adhere to the window.                  statutory duty on the part of the
work and failed to provide any                                                              Defendant. The Plaintiff had
adequate supervision. He also alleged            On cross-examination he                    extensive experience and accepted
a breach of Section 2 of the                     conceded that “Maximum” could              himself that “Maximum” could be
Occupier’s Liability Act (NI) 1957,              be applied to either the outside or        applied to either side of the glass.
breach of Regulation 5 of the                    inside of the window, and indeed           The Judge noted the Plaintiff’s
Workplace Regulations (NI) 1993                  could be applied to both sides.            evidence about the availability of
and breach of Regulation 4 of the                He accepted that he had not                gloves, but that no complaint was
Personal Protective Equipment at                 complained regarding the                   made. He dismissed the Plaintiff’s
Work Regulations (NI) 1993.                      provision of gloves, and indeed it         claim.
                                                 was his responsibility. The
The Plaintiff was employed by the                plaintiff conceded that on some
Defendants as a Charge-Hand. He                  occasions he used gloves but that
was making a temporary repair to a               on this day he decided not to and




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ROBERT JOHN NOBEL -v- J C MILLIGAN T/A MILLIGAN BROTHERS
Strabane County Court on 4 October 2001
His Honour Judge Finnegan
Civil Bill - £15,000

This quantum only case ran before                pain was worst in the first 6–7            specialist with a 6 year history of
Judge Finnegan on 4 October 2001.                months, but now, 2 years after             low back pain. The Plaintiff had no
                                                 the accident, he still had the             recollection of this. It was put to
Of relevance, is that the Plaintiff’s            occasional spasm of pain in his            him that he had told Mr Bateson that
solicitors failed to remove the action           neck. His knee had quite intense           his back had improved in August
from the County Court to the High                pain in the first 2-3 months and           1999.
Court, in respect of which costs were            then it returned to normal. He
awarded to the Defendant.                        conceded pre-existing knee                 Mr Dane gave evidence of the
                                                 problems.                                  Plaintiff’s pre-accident medical
Prior to the hearing the Defendants                                                         problems. He also said that, the fact
agreed the Plaintiff’s medical report            His major complaint was pain in            that the Plaintiff had one leg shorter
but the Plaintiffs did not agree the             his lower back. He had had 5 or            than the other had a much more
Defendant’s reports, and Mr Dane                 6 pain killing injections in his hip       significant part in any ongoing
FRCS attended the hearing. Special               since the accident and 4 sessions          symptoms than the road traffic
damages were agreed at £300.                     of physiotherapy.                          accident, as the former would have
                                                                                            put a strain on his back.
The Plaintiff alleged injuries to his            On cross-examination, it was put
neck, back and knee in a road traffic            to him that he had a pre-accident          The Judge gave a Decree in the sum
accident which occurred on 22 July               history of shoulder problems.              of £7,500 for general damages, plus
1999. He gave evidence that his neck             Also, he had been referred to a            £300 special loss.




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WILLIAM WILSON -v- JAMES TODD T/A TODD’S OF COLERAINE
Coleraine County Court – 11 October 2001
Deputy Judge McFerran
Civil Bill - £10,000

The Plaintiff claimed damages for                given by him to the doctors who            rest near the kerb, and that no
personal injuries sustained by him by            had examined him. He had told              damage at all was sustained to the
reason of the negligence and breach              Mr Wali FRCS that he used the              vehicle or the tyres.
of contract of the Defendant. He                 handbrake and had gone down
alleged that the Defendants had failed           the gears and, when he had used            The Judge said that he did not
to properly repair the brakes to his             the handbrake, he was “jerked              require to hear engineering evidence.
car, and the brake cylinder that they            forward.”                                  He said that he was not satisfied that
had installed on 29 October 1997 had                                                        the Plaintiff could have sustained an
leaked. He alleged that on 30                    He told Mr Dane that he used the           injury as described. The Judge
October 1997, his car when out of                handbrake and the car ran against          dismissed the Plaintiff’s case.
control and mounted a kerb as a result           a high kerb. In the Replies to
of brake failure, and he sustained               Particulars, the Plaintiff alleged
personal injuries to his neck, shoulder          that he had “mounted a high
and lower back.                                  kerb.” In his evidence to the
                                                 Court he said that on applying
It was put to the Plaintiff that there           the handbrake, he moved
were a number of conflicting accounts            forward and the car came to a




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ALISON ROBINSON obo REBECCA ROBINSON (a minor) -v- ARDS BOROUGH
COUNCIL
Newtownards County Court 1 on 15 October 2001
His Honour Judge Gibson
Ordinary Civil Bill - £15,000

The Plaintiff alleged that on 23                 In evidence, her mother told the           before, “once or twice,” and
October 1998, at 2.30pm, she                     Judge that she was at the park             qualified this statement by saying
sustained injuries at Kiltonga Duck              with her two daughters. One of             that she had never been around the
Pond, Newtownards. While                         the ducks or geese ran at                  back and had always been to the
accompanied by her mother, she was               Rebecca, who was then 6 years              front of the duck pond. There
attacked by geese, which made for her            old, hissing and spitting at her.          followed cross-examination on the
in a menacing fashion. As a result,              Rebecca turned to get away but             exact location of the accident and
she lost her footing and sustained a             because of berries and leaves on           the condition of the pathway at the
spiral fracture to her left tibia. She           the pathway she slipped and                time of the incident.
alleged that the Defendants had failed           sustained her injury.
to give any adequate warning, had                                                           The Judge said that, unfortunately,
failed to maintain the pathway, or               On cross-examination, Mrs                  he was going to have to dismiss the
inspect it, and further, she alleged a           Robinson confirmed that she had            case as he could see no negligence
breach of Section 2 of the Occupier’s            told Mr Wallace FRCS that it               on behalf of the Council. The
Liability Act (NI) 1957.                         was not geese, but ducks, that             Plaintiff was legally aid and he made
                                                 had startled her daughter. Also,           the usual Order as to costs.
                                                 she had been at the duck pond




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WILLIAM DONAGHY –v- STEWARTS SUPERMARKETS LIMITED
Strabane County Court on 18 October 2001
Deputy Judge Keegan
Civil Bill - £5,000


The Plaintiff claimed he slipped and             the Occupier’s Liability Act (NI)           patrolled the shop floor every 15-20
fell on a banana skin in the                     1957.                                       minutes, checking for spillages and
Defendant’s premises at Lisnagelvin,                                                         debris. A training programme had
Derry on 5 June 1996. He hurt his                At the hearing, the Plaintiff, in           been undertaken and all staff were
back, right leg and right elbow.                 direct evidence, amplified his              told how to deal with spillages.
                                                 case, to claim that there appeared
The Plaintiff alleged that the                   to be a syrup type substance on             The Judge dismissed the Plaintiff’s
Defendants had failed to implement               the floor.                                  case and said that he accepted that
and enforce a proper system of                                                               the Defendant’s system of
cleaning floors and had failed to carry          The Defendant’s Assistant                   housekeeping was more than
out any or adequate inspection. The              Manager gave evidence that in               adequate. Costs were awarded
Plaintiff also relied on Section 2 of            June 1996 the Defendants                    against the Plaintiff.
                                                 employed a housekeeper, who




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MICHAEL McLAUGHLIN –v- WILLIAM GRANT & CO LIMITED


Judge Philpott
Londonderry County Court
7 November 2001


This case arises out of an accident            ½ weeks off work, which included               A lodgement of £1,500 was made
on 12 April 2000. Proceedings                  a holiday period.                              and the matter proceeded to
were issued on 2 February 2001.                                                               hearing. On viewing of the scar,
                                               A medical report served by Mr                  there was a raised area and the
The Plaintiff was using a knife to             Gordon dated 16 November 2000                  plaintiff gave evidence in the
slice open a pig belly on the                  stated that he had difficulty fishing          witness box that it impaired his
conveyor belt when the knife in his            for 2 months and noted that he had             ability to fish in that he was unable
right hand struck a bone and                   a pale scar but had no restriction or          to cast-off due to this raised area.
slipped, cutting the middle and ring           distortion of movement in the hand.
fingers to the hand.                           It further noted that, while he had            Judge Philpott refused to accept
                                               suffered some short term                       that his altered sensation and cold
The Plaintiff was admitted to                  inconvenience, he had no long term             intolerance were minor nuisances
hospital for 48 hours and was given            disability as a result of the injury.          and held them to be significant.
a skin graft under local anaesthetic.          He noted that he had an altered                She also noted that the scar was
Skin graft was taken from the right            sensation and cold intolerance,                discoloured. On this basis she
hip and applied to the right middle            which he classified as a minor                 made an award of £7,500.
finger. He wore a dressing on his              nuisance.
finger for 4 weeks and was some 2




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JOHN O’DOHERTY –v- JIMMY LING t/a LING’S HOUSE

Judge Keegan
Londonderry County Court
18 December 2001


The Plaintiff alleged that on the                Dr R Smithson, Consultant in                 would not have been satisfied, on the
evening of 1 July 2000 he purchased a            Communicable Disease Control,                balance of probabilities, that the
chicken take-away meal from the                  gave evidence that of these three            Defendant’s premises had been the
Defendant’s premises and that on 2               possible sources of Salmonella               source of the food poisoning. In his
July 2000 he commenced                           poisoning, the defendant was “a              report Dr Smithson had said that he
experiencing severe symptoms of                  bit more likely” to have been the            could not say with certainty where
Salmonella Enteritis Phage Type 4.               source. He explained that this               Mr O’Doherty acquired his
He required hospital admission and               was because the Plaintiff was                infection. But, in evidence, Dr
medical treatment.                               sick only 1 ½ hours after eating             Smithson had said that it was “more
                                                 in Burger King, whereas the                  likely” that the cause of infection
The Plaintiff had attended the Water             incubation period for Salmonella             was the Defendant’s restaurant
Fortune Restaurant on 30 June and                was between 6 hours and 72                   rather than the other two
shared a chicken dish in black bean              hours.                                       establishments.
sauce with his wife and two children,
none of whom got sick. On 1 July                 The Defendant’s Manageress                   He awarded the Plaintiff £1,750.
2000 he attended the Defendant’s                 gave evidence of their good track
premises and had the meal that he                record and Mr Ling gave
alleged made him sick. At 9.30pm                 evidence of the way he prepared
the following evening he bought a                chicken dishes.
beef burger, chips and drink at Burger
King in Coleraine.                               The Judge said that on the basis
                                                 of Dr Smithson’s report alone he




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MICHAEL McCULLOUGH V JOHN BARRY REA, DONALD HARTE, STEPHEN
CAMPBELL AND BRIAN SCULLION T/A THE COACH INN


Judge McKay
Newry County Court
4th February 2002


ASSAULT BY SECURITY STAFF

This case was successfully defended.             then emerged from the premises.             case against the door staff for
The claim arises out of an alleged               It was only later that both                 assault. This was referred to the DPP
assault by the door staff of The Coach           complained about the alleged                who directed that no action be taken.
Inn on 14th March 1998. Proceedings              assault by the door staff.
were commenced against the owner                                                             The Judge stated that this was a
and the three door staff who were                The plaintiff sustained a                   difficult case to decide but on the
allegedly involved in the assault.               fractured wrist, bruising to the            balance of probabilities he preferred
                                                 ribs and face and was off work              the evidence of the defendants and
The plaintiff attended the premises              for two months. The plaintiff               stated he was extremely impressed
with his girlfriend and was involved             also alleged that the attack was            with the evidence of one of the door
in an altercation with unknown                   as a direct result of his                   staff. On this basis he dismissed the
individual referred during the hearing           relationship breaking down and              case on the merits. The usual Order
as “Black beard.” The door staff                 that for a further two years after          was made as the plaintiff was legally
removed Blackbeard. A short time                 the accident he had a fear of               aided.
later, the plaintiff decided to leave the        socialising. A medical report
premises and on exiting saw the door             from a Consultant Psychiatrist,
staff chatting with Black beard. The             some 3 months post accident,
Plaintiff alleged that the door staff            confirmed this.
proceeded to attack him and pulled
him down a flight of stairs. The                 Evidence was submitted from the
plaintiff’s girlfriend gave evidence             police officer that investigated
that she left the premises during this           the complaints. She confirmed
attack to call the police. On finding            that the police had made an
the police the plaintiff’s girlfriend            unsuccessful application against
pointed out Black beard, who was                 the plaintiff to be bound over.
outside the premises. The Plaintiff              The police also investigated the



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SHAUNA DEVINE (MINOR) –V- DECLAN McGINTY


Judge Shiels
High Court (Appeal Hearing)
31st January 2002


This was an appeal from the decision              road and therefore the Plaintiff               At the Appeal Hearing, evidence
of Deputy Judge Rodgers handed                    was unable to avoid collision with             was heard from the Plaintiff and
down on the 16th February 2001 at                 him.                                           Defendant. The Defendant had a
Omagh County Court.                                                                              number of witnesses in attendance
                                                  Before calling any evidence, the               that     included     an   independent
The claim arises out of a road traffic            Defendant’s made an Application                witness who confirmed that the
                                          st
accident that occurred on the 21                  that there was no case to answer.              Defendant had been on the correct
September 1997 at Springhill Park,                Deputy Judge Rodgers conceded                  side of the road at all times. The
Strabane. At the time of the accident             to this request and dismissed the              investigating police officers were
the Plaintiff was 11 years old. The               case on merits. The Plaintiff’s                also     in   attendance    and   gave
accident involved a collision between             produced a Notice of Legal Aid                 evidence            supporting     the
the    Plaintiff’s   bicycle    and     the       that was not served in advance of              Defendant’s case.
Defendant’s car.                                  the hearing.
                                                                                                 The Appeal Court upheld the
At the County Court Hearing evidence              On the 19th February 2001 the                  decision of the County Court.
was heard from the Plaintiff and the              Plaintiff    served    a    Notice    of       Judge Shiels noted that the
Plaintiff’s mother.       Both conceded           Appeal. The Defendants wrote to                Defendant was wholly blameless
that   the    bicycle’s    brakes     were        the Legal Aid Department and                   for the accident and enquired why
defective and that the Plaintiff had              made      representations     that   the       Legal Aid had been granted for the
travelled down a relatively steep hill.           Plaintiff should not be legally                Appeal Hearing. The Plaintiff’s
It was also noted that the bicycle was            assisted, as her claim had no                  Counsel stated that an Appeal was
not the Plaintiff’s and may have been             merit.      The Department replied             pursued, as evidential issues were
too large for her. The Plaintiff’s case           that the Legal Aid Regulations                 not fully explored in the lower
was that the Defendant had been                   were satisfied.                                Court.
travelling on the wrong side of the




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LAURA JANE BLAIR (MINOR) –V- MERVYN ROY PERRY

District Judge Keegan
Ballymena District Judge Court (quantum only hearing)
6th March 2002


This claim arose out of a road traffic            Coleraine Courthouse in front of             school.      It noted that she was
                     th
accident on the 4 January 2001. At                District Judge Collins.             The      nervous in a car, but that she wished
the time of the accident the Plaintiff            District Judge refused to approve            to obtain her driving license and her
was 14½ years. She was a rear seat                the sum and indicated that she               nervousness did not prevent her
belted passenger and sustained an                 would not approve a sum lower                from travelling as a passenger with
injury to her head when she was                   than £3,500. We indicated that               her mother.
thrown forward and struck her head                they were unwilling to go to this
on the back of the front seat.                    figure given the relatively minor            Under       cross-examination,   the
                                                  symptoms       sustained       by    the     Plaintiff agreed that her symptoms
A medical report of a Consultant                  Plaintiff.    We then applied for            lasted for no longer than 2 – 3
Surgeon     9½     weeks         post-accident    the case to be adjourned and re-             weeks.
confirmed that she had some aches                 listed before another District
and pains for 1 week post-accident                Judge.                                       A decree of £2,000.00 was awarded.
and headaches for some days. It also                                                           The District Judge noted that this
confirmed that she had altered sleep              The      adjourned      hearing     took     was a frightening accident, but that
                                                                    th
patterns    for    some      weeks       post-    place on the 6 March 2002 in                 on the basis of the first report 9½
accident.    A further medical report             front of District Judge Keegan.              weeks post-accident, all symptoms
from the same expert 7 months post-               In    the     interim    period      the     appear to have resolve to a large
accident     noted        that     she    still   Plaintiff’s    served      a      further    extent 2 – 3 weeks after the
complained of aches and pains and                 medical report from a Consultant             accident.
had had occasional headaches.                     Psychiatrist which confirmed that
                                                  she suffered physical symptoms
A negotiated settlement in the sum of             for a maximum of 2 – 3 weeks
£2,000 was put up for Court approval              after the accident and that she
              th
on the 14          December 2001 at               did not lose any time from




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CATHERINE LOUISE BROWN (MINOR) V RICHARD CHARLES

District Judge Keegan
Strabane District Court
23rd April 2002


This was a claim for £5,000 damages.             The plaintiff’s solicitors accepted           sort of figure which she would be
The plaintiff was a 14 year old school           in negotiation that there would               minded to approve was £2,500.
girl who was a back seat passenger               be a reduction under Froom v
not wearing a seat belt in a car which           Butcher and settlement subject to             We were not prepared to
collided head on with a vehicle                  Court Approval was agreed in                  recommend settlement at that figure
travelling in the opposite direction.            the sum of £1,250. The case                   and therefore the matter was re-
Primary liability was not in dispute.            came before District Judge Ruth               listed for hearing before District
                                                 Collins at Omagh Court on the                 Judge Keegan at Strabane on the
                                                      th
The plaintiff’s injuries consisted of a          15 March. District Judge                      23rd April 2002. He agreed that this
cut on her right upper eye lib                   Collins would not approve the                 was an appropriate case for a
measuring some 2 cm; a bruising                  sum of £1,250 as she said that                reduction under Froom –v- Butcher
injury to the fourth and fifth fingers of        she did not believe that there                and he assessed general damages on
her right hand; and a possible                   could be any contributory                     full liability at £1,500 reduced by
concussion injury.                               negligence in these                           15% to £1,275.
                                                 circumstances against a 14 year
                                                 old girl. She suggested that the




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KATHLEEN BRADY –V- RITA GORMLEY


High Court, sitting in Sligo
3rd May 2002
Mr Justice O'Caoimhe


The plaintiff was a retired primary              defendant had rolled forward.              as she simply released her foot off
school teacher 66 years of age. On 8             "How could I have got such                 the brake. She was doing 2/3 mph at
December 2000 she had been                       pain?" she said.                           most. She was stopped, she reached
involved in an accident when she was                                                        over to her passenger seat to locate
preparing to leave the car park at               Dr Cook, Consultant, for the               the car park ticket, and she released
Knock Airport.                                   plaintiff, noted that she had full         her foot off the brake. The car rolled
                                                 movement of shoulders and neck,            forward and there was a very slight
She described, "an enormous noise                when she saw him she was very              impact to the person's car in front.
and crash." Her head hit the mirror              well in those areas when she               The boot lid opened and there was
and it cracked in two places. She sat            visited him. She had definitely            some damage to the boot. Her
close to the wheel and she was in pain           improved by November 2001                  number plate banged against the
which was immediate and dreadful.                and the chiropractor had been              boot of the car in front.
She wore her seatbelt tight, and she             working on her sternum. He
felt it digging into her, it was "terribly       anticipated continuing pain for            She described the plaintiff shouting
painful."                                        some 6 to 12 months. He noted              and crying, the plaintiff went
                                                 at 10 months when he examined              berserk. The plaintiff frightened her.
                                                 the plaintiff in October 2001,             She apologised, and said the plaintiff
She conceded that when she saw Dr                "acute tenderness over the                 told her she was going to Limerick
Cook on 10 November 2001 that her                sternum and the adjacent ribs but          for the weekend and "you have
neck pain had improved "definitely."             full movement of the shoulders             spoiled it on me."
In April 2002 she attended her choir             and arms, full movement of the
and "was allowed to sing which was               cervical and dorsolumbar spine."           Mr Fintan Shannon FRCS gave
wonderful." She told the Judge her                                                          medical evidence for the defendant
back had improved, it is stronger and            The defendant, Mrs Gormley                 and said he could find no objective
she attributes this to her chiropractor.         said she was driving an                    evidence of the plaintiff's
                                                 automatic Mercedes 280 Jeep.               complaints.
Cross examined she disagreed with                She joined a slow moving queue
the defendant's case that the defendant          to exit the car park. In relation to       The Judge, Mr Justice O'Caiomhe,
had touched her car, there was a small           her speed, she said she could not          gave judgment and he said he
dent in her boot and that the                    really give an accurate estimation         accepted without reservation the

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evidence of the plaintiff. As regard             an accident. The plaintiff had              plaintiff's age was a factor in her
the evidence of Mrs Gormley, he said             had her last year as a teacher              presentation of her injuries. He
it was clear she didn't appreciate the           interfered with and that she has            awarded the plaintiff €25,000 for
extent of the damage done. He noted              "suffered considerably."                    pain and suffering to date, €15,000
she said she rolled into the plaintiff's                                                     for pain and suffering in the future,
car, however, the vehicles were robust           The Judge said he accepted her              and special damages of €4,144.57, a
cars, and there was damage to the                evidence in its entirety. He noted          total award of €44,144.57.
locking mechanism therefore there                that he had been told that the
must have been a considerable                    plaintiff will suffer for a further 6
impact. He said it was clear there was           - 12 months. He felt that the




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Helen Snodgrass -v- Fergus Duffy and Eileen Duffy

Londonderry County Courthouse
14 February 2003
Judge Philpott


This road traffic accident occurred            The matter proceeded to a full                 Engineer also confirmed that had
late on a Friday evening on a 30               hearing. The Police Officer gave               the Defendant been travelling at 30
mph one-way road that has three                evidence that the Plaintiff made a             mph then he would have stopped
licensed premises nearby. The road             verbal statement at hospital that the          approximately 20 feet before impact
has set of traffic lights with a               accident was her fault as she had              and avoided the accident.
pedestrian crossing at bottom.                 ran across in front of the car. In her
                                               police statement she said that she             After hearing all the evidence, the
The Defendant was travelling in a              was on her mobile and not looking              Judge       stated   that   this was a
vehicle towards the traffic lights             where she was going. The Police                contributory negligence case and
when the Plaintiff emerged from                had recommended that she be given              found the Defendant 30% and
one of the licensed premises, ran              advice and warning.                            Plaintiff     70%      liable     for   the
across his path and collided with his                                                         accident. In respect of damages she
car. The Plaintiff was transported to          The Plaintiff’s Engineer’s evidence            noted that there was a linear
hospital by ambulance and admitted             (and    the    Defendant’s    Engineer         fracture and valued the case at
for 2 days with head injuries. She             agreed) was that there was a skid              £8,000,       therefore     the   Plaintiff
was diagnosed with a linear fracture           mark of 66 feet and therefore the              received a total sum of £2,400.
and suffered cuts, bruising and                Defendant       must     have      been
short-term memory loss.                        travelling at 38 mph, that is 8 miles
                                               above    the    speed limit.        The




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CHRISTOPHER MCFEELY V MURDOCK'S (DERRY)

Londonderry County Courthouse
28 February 2003
Mr. Justice Shiel


The Plaintiff in this case claimed              claimed that he has had a phobic               made by his Counsel to a case of
that he was bitten by a dog at the              anxiety of dogs since the date of              Taylor v O'Hare & Farrell
Defendant's premises on 21                      the accident which affected his                [2002] NI QB 59 in which Mr.
October 1999. His physical injury               daily activities. He complained of             Justice Shiel had awarded
was a graze to his right leg. He                loss of confidence although he                 £10,000 to a Plaintiff for a phobic
attended the Health Centre but                  had not had any formal medical                 anxiety disorder involving a fear
did not have to see the GP. He                  treatment for that. Medical                    of dogs lasting a similar period.
was given treatment by way of a                 evidence was given on his behalf               In that case however the Plaintiff
Tetanus injection and a spray.                  by Dr. Sadler, Consultant                      had been left with multiple teeth
                                                Psychiatrist. The Plaintiff was                marks and puncture wounds
The major part of his injury was                awarded £7,500 for general
an alleged psychiatric upset. He                damages. Reference was also




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PATRICK HEALY V KAY O’DONNELL & ULSTERBUS LTD

Londonderry District Court
3 April 2003
Judge Keegan


This action was contested at                      resulted in bruising to his                  indicated that he was of the view
Londonderry District Court.                       collarbone. He also claimed                  that the bus was stationery at the
Campbell Fitzpatrick were acting                  that he suffered subsequent                  time of the accident and he found
on behalf of both Defendants.                     pain in his lower back and in                the Plaintiff’s evidence to be
                                                  his neck and chest.                          contradictory with regard to the
The Plaintiff was a passenger in an                                                            injuries he allegedly sustained.
Ulsterbus which he alleged was                    The bus driver stated that the
struck on the rear by a car driven                bus was stationery at the time               An order for costs was made. The
by the First Defendant.                           of the collision and that there              Plaintiff was legally aided.
                                                  was only minor damage to both                .
The Plaintiff claimed that he was                 the car and bus.
jolted forward when the bus and
the first defendant’s vehicle made                Judge Keegan decided to
contact. He alleged that the bus                  dismiss the case based on the
driver had moved off. This                        Plaintiff’s evidence. He




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NICOLA ANNE GIBSON (A MINOR) AND CHRISTOPHER NEILL GIBSON -V- JAMES
DOUGLAS AND NEILL GIBSON

Lisburn County Court
31 March 2003
Judge Brownlee

This litigation arose out of a road             vehicle was within legal limits for             was no requirement for him to
traffic accident which occurred on              moving on the road (see Motor                   warn oncoming vehicles of his
      th
the 26 September 1999 on the                    Vehicles (Authorisation of                      presence. Her Honour Judge
Crossgar Road, Ballynahinch.                    Special Types) Order (NI) 1997)                 Brownlee was not persuaded by
The minor Plaintiff was a front                 and that therefore he was not                   this argument holding that the
seat passenger in his Father’s car,             required to take any additional                 driver was under a duty to take
the second named Defendant.                     precautions, for example, having                reasonable care on this occasion
The first named Defendant, who                  someone drive in front of vehicle               and Her Honour was satisfied that
was a Farmer was moving his                     in order to warn oncoming                       the driver of this combine
combine harvester from one field                vehicles of its presence.                       harvester was guilty of
to another. This combine                                                                        negligence, in that he should have
harvester measured 11ft in width.               After hearing the evidence, the                 taken steps to alert other road
The road on which the incident                  Judge was satisfied that because                users to his presence on the road.
occurred was a minor road                       of high hedging on either side of
bordered by hedges and trees and                the road, the views of both drivers             As regards the second named
was undulating. The national                    had been restricted. The first                  Defendant Her Honour found his
speed limited applied. It was                   named Defendant’s speed was                     speed of 50 mph to be excessive
accepted that the two vehicles                  restricted to a maximum of 10                   in the circumstances. He may
were not able to pass on this road.             mph whereas the second named                    have been able to avoid impact
The two vehicles met on a                       Defendant’s speed was at least                  had he been driving at a slower
sweeping corner, however the                    50mph.                                          speed. Liability was apportioned
point of impact had not been                                                                    80% on the driver of the combine
agreed.                                         Judge Brownlee referred to a                    harvester and 20% on the driver
                                                number of cases wherein it was                  of the car.
The first named Defendant                       held that a road user must show
accepted that as he was moving                  mutual respect and reasonable
his combine harvester to another                care to avoid damage. The first
field, part of his vehicle infringed            named Defendant relied on the
on the other side of the road. In               1997 Order to avoid liability and
his defence he argued that his                  on the basis of same felt that there


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DEAN MARTIN -V- EGLINTON (TIMBER PRODUCTS) LIMITED


Londonderry Recorder's Court
30 June 2003
Her Honour Judge Philpott QC


The Plaintiff alleged in the course             the accident on the day in                       the Defendant's. She did not
of his employment with the                      question and he called a witness                 accept that just because the
Defendants he was required to                   to give evidence that he had seen                accident was not recorded that it
climb stacks of pallets in order to             him shortly after the accident                   did not happen. She awarded the
stamp them. While descending                    holding his ankle in discomfort.                 Plaintiff £7,500.00 together with
these he went over on his ankle.                                                                 £75.00 special loss. The case had
He alleged that the pallets were                The Defendants indicated that                    been remitted to the County Court
stacked 10 feet high and that he                they had no recollection of the                  from the High Court and Her
was required to climb on to the                 accident having occurred. They                   Honour commented that in her
third pallet in order to reach the              denied that the pallets would have               opinion the Plaintiff's sprain
highest in the stack. He also                   been stacked 10 feet high or that                could have been as painful as a
alleged that the pallets were                   they were placed on stony                        small hairline crack.
placed on stony ground and while                ground.
he was stepping down from the
pallet he severely twisted his                  Her Honour preferred the
ankle. He said that he reported                 Plaintiff's version against that of




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JOSEPHINE MCMONAGLE, CATHY BROWN AND EILEEN GALLAGHER –V- JACKIE
MULLAN T/A JACKIE MULLAN’S BAR AND MGM CATERING

Londonderry District Court
8 September 2003
Judge Keegan


These proceedings arose out of an               was forced to miss a day off work              Mullan had offered her a full
incident which occurred on 1                    and believed she did not fully                 refund. Mr Deeney had
December 1998 when the                          recover from the illness for some              apologised to the plaintiff at this
plaintiffs alleged that they                    ten days. Ms Gallagher was                     stage though he stated that this
sustained food poisoning as a                   bedridden for 5 days following                 was merely an act of courtesy
result of eating at Jackie Mullan’s             the incident, as the food                      rather than an admission of fault.
Bar. The second named                           poisoning had exacerbated a pre-
defendant took over conduct from                existing condition. She was off                On the balance of probabilities
the first named defendant prior to              work for 3 weeks. Each of the                  Judge Keegan felt that the
hearing. Although the plaintiffs                plaintiffs made a full recovery                plaintiffs had sustained food
had ordered different meals, they               from the food poisoning                        poisoning as a result of eating at
had tasted each other’s food and                                                               Jackie Mullan’s Bar. He
each meal was accompanied with                  The caterer, Mr George Deeney                  commented that each meal had
coleslaw.                                       of MGM Catering, confirmed that                been accompanied by coleslaw
                                                he had worked in the catering                  and that this, being the common
Within 2 hours of eating the meal               trade for a considerable number                factor, was most likely to have
each of the plaintiffs felt ill,                of years and had never been                    caused the plaintiffs’ food
experiencing severe tummy                       involved in any case of food                   poisoning. The judge awarded
cramps, diarrhoea and nausea.                   poisoning. He stated that he only              the sum of £1000 to Josephine
Ms McMonagle was in bed for                     became aware of the complaint                  McMonagle, £1,500 to Catherine
one day and was unable to do her                some 3 days following the alleged              Brown and £1,500 to Ellen
normal housework for two days                   incident when Ms McMonagle                     Gallagher.
following the meal. Ms Brown                    had returned to the bar where Mr




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MELISSA MCDONALD (A MINOR) V KENNEDY ENTERTAINMENT


Coleraine County Court
9 September 2003
Judge Keegan


This action was contested at                    side and collided with a hook.                 always a guard on the slide and
Coleraine Court before his                      She claimed that there was no                  padding. They added that it
Honour Judge Keegan. We acted                   padding area and there was no                  would have taken a team of men
on behalf of the Defendant. The                 safety guard on the slide. The                 to remove the guard.
Plaintiff issued a Civil Bill                   Plaintiff's stepfather also gave
against the Defendant claiming                  evidence to the effect that there              Judge Keegan, in his judgment
£5,000 damages for personal                     was no supervisor present, no                  confirmed that he accepted that
injuries, loss and damage                       safety guard and the slide was                 the slide, at the time of the
sustained by the Plaintiff as a                 narrower.                                      accident was as shown on the
result of an accident that occurred                                                            photographs taken by the
on the Defendant's premises.                    The Plaintiff's Engineer stated                Plaintiff's engineer and he did not
                                                that when he examined the slide,               accept there was no padding. He
The Plaintiff's evidence was given              it met with safety standards. He               therefore accepted the engineer's
by her mother. On the day of this               did state however that if the                  assessment that the slide was safe.
incident the Plaintiff's mother and             safety guard was not present it
stepfather were at the Defendant's              would be extremely dangerous.                  Judge Keegan consequently
premises with 18 other children                                                                dismissed the Plaintiff's case with
when the Plaintiff's mother                     The Defendant's evidence was                   the usual order as to costs in
witnessed the incident involving                that there was never a question of             respect of a legally assisted
her daughter. She stated that on                the frame being narrower. They                 Plaintiff.
coming down the slide the                       also stated that the slide was
Plaintiff tipped over on her left               always supervised and there was




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MAURICE O'HARA -V- ROSALEEN WELLS

Belfast Recorder's Court
15th September 2003
Judge Hart




In this case the Plaintiff and the              had to be decided by the Judge                 traffic accident cases. He had
Defendant were travelling in the                was a question of fact as between              stated in that case, that even if
same direction along North                      the parties in relation to which               directed by Counsel the retention
Queen Street, Belfast. A collision              vehicle had switched lanes                     of an expert is not automatically
occurred between both vehicles                  suddenly. We submitted that                    allowed on taxation, especially in
and therefore, either the Plaintiff             evidence from an engineer could                personal injury cases. His
switched suddenly to the inside                 not assist the Court in deciding               Honour also stated that in road
lane or Defendant switched                      which vehicle, if any, had                     traffic accident cases engineers
suddenly to the outside lane.                   switched lanes suddenly.                       can rarely supplement the
There were no independent                                                                      information already available to
witnesses and the outcome of the                The Recorder of Belfast, His                   the Court from the police report,
case was dependent on the                       Honour Judge Hart QC., stated                  sketch map, eyewitness accounts
credibility of each party.                      that the case before him was a                 and a computer generated (Ace
                                                very straightforward road traffic              Map) obtained from Ordnance
The Plaintiff retained the services             accident and there was no                      Survey.
of a consulting engineer to carry               necessity for an engineer in what
out a survey of the accident locus              was a very elementary case and                 Therefore His Honour felt that
and the engineer also attended                  therefore the engineer’s costs                 this case was always going to be
Court.                                          were not allowed.                              decided on the evidence of both
                                                                                               the Plaintiff and the Defendant
We opposed the costs of the                     The Judge referred to the case of              and therefore the costs
engineer. We felt that the                      Gilmore -v- Smith (1999) 3 BNIL                occasioned by the involvement of
retention of an engineer was                    76 in which he had discussed the               the engineer fell on the party that
completely unmeritorious in the                 cost implications of retaining                 called him (namely the Plaintiff).
case because, the question that                 consulting engineers in road




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DENISE MARIE BEIRNE –V- SEAMUS BEIRNE


Letterkenny Circuit Court
25th September 2003
Judge O’Donoughue


This road traffic accident                      continued to improve though she                 The Judge awarded this sum on
occurred on 29th March 2002                     did experience some ongoing                     the basis that the plaintiff had
when the plaintiff, a minor, was                stiffness and intermittent pain in              experienced problems with her
travelling as a front seat                      her lower back. Both defence and                neck, back and leg for a year.
passenger in her father’s car when              plaintiff medical evidence agreed               Indeed he believed that the
it collided with a safety barrier of            that the plaintiff had made a good              plaintiff was still experiencing
a roundabout near Omagh.                        recovery from her injuries and                  some discomfort in her leg to the
Liability was admitted.                         would suffer no long-term                       extent that she had not returned to
                                                disability.                                     full athletics training which she
As a result of the accident the                                                                 had actively enjoyed prior to the
plaintiff sustained hyperextension              This quantum only case came                     accident. On the whole Judge
injuries of her cervical and                    before Judge O’Donoughue at                     O’Donoughue felt that the
lumbosacral spine. The plaintiff                Letterkenny Circuit Court on                    plaintiff came across as a very
experienced some pain and                       Thursday 25th September 2003.                   truthful witness and surmised that
stiffness in her neck, back and left            The judge awarded the sum of                    the injury had resulted in
hip for two months following the                €15,000 for general damages and                 difficulties in her social life.
accident. Since that time, with                 €250 in respect of specials.
the aid of physiotherapy, she




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WILLIAM PLATT V TRANSLINK


Coleraine District Judges Court
09 October 2003
Judge Keegan


This action was contested at                                                                   Honour felt that this was an
Coleraine Court before his                                                                     unlikely scenario. His Honour
Honour Judge Keegan. We acted                   Judge Keegan stated that on                    also stated that the Plaintiff
on behalf of the Defendant. The                 balance the Plaintiff had failed to            positioning his vehicle 1-1½ feet
Plaintiff issued a Civil Bill                   establish that the bus driver was              away from the vehicle was too
claiming £500 for loss and                      driving negligently on this                    close considering the length of
damage as a result of a Road                    occasion. His Honour stated that               the 40 ft bus beside him. The
Traffic Accident.                               the bus was in the right hand lane             Plaintiff had in fact stated that his
                                                and to enable it to go through the             vehicle was tight to the kerb when
The Plaintiff said he was driving               traffic lights it would have to                the accident had occurred yet it
a car, and the bus driver an                    encroach into the left hand lane.              was clear from the photographs
Ulsterbus. As they drove along                  The important point in this case               submitted to the court that
the Strand Road in Coleraine they               was the accident damage. The                   allowing for the width of the
passed through a set of green                   damage to the Plaintiff’s car was              vehicle it would have required the
traffic lights. The Plaintiff                   on the driver’s side. The damage               bus to have encroached into his
contented that the bus encroached               to the bus was approximately one               lane by perhaps 4 feet for the
into his lane and a collision                   third to half way down the bus.                incident to have occurred.
occurred. The bus driver said the               The lights had just turned green
car was in his blind spot. He                   when the Plaintiff passed into the             His Honour preferred the
confirmed that his vehicle would                left-hand lane. However, the bus               Defendant’s version of events and
have to encroach into the other                 had to go from a standing start                consequently dismissed the
lane by perhaps 6-8 inches due to               and he was stating that the bus                Plaintiff’s case.
the topography of the bend.                     had collided with his vehicle. His




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VINCENT MCGEEHAN V CIARAN CRUDDEN


Enniskillen Court
16 October 2003
Judge Ruth Collins



This matter proceeded as a                      scene of the accident as he had
consented action before her                     alcohol consumed and he was                     Her Honour preferred the
Honour Judge Ruth Collins. We                   afraid of being breathalysed. The               Defendant’s version of events.
acted on behalf of the Defendant.               Plaintiff also claimed that he still            She awarded the Plaintiff the sum
The Plaintiff issued a Civil Bill               suffered from pain in his chest but             of £1,500 general damages
claiming £5,000 damages for                     it was put to him that according to             together with vehicle excess in
personal injuries, loss and                     medical evidence his symptoms                   the sum of £75, but reduced same
damage sustained by him as a                    had gradually resolved and would                by £50% for contributory fault,
result of a Road Traffic Accident.              have resolved satisfactorily                    making an award in the sum of
The Defendant made a lodgement                  during the first six months or so,              £787.50
of £1,350 in satisfaction of the                post accident.
Plaintiff’s claim.                                                                              As a lodgement was made in the
                                                The Defendant’s case was that he                sum of £1,350 the Plaintiff failed
The Plaintiff’s case was that he                was driving over the brow of the                to beat it. The Plaintiff was
was travelling along the country                hill when he saw the Plaintiff’s                penalised in respect of his own
road when he saw the headlights                 car. He braked, but estimated                   costs and must discharge 25% of
of the Defendant’s car coming                   that they were still travelling at 10           the Defendant’s solicitor’s costs
over the brow of the hill. In                   mph when the impact occurred.                   and outlay together with 100% of
response to this he stopped his car             He stated that the accident                     counsel’s fees.
but the Defendant’s car hit him.                occurred on a narrow part of the
He stated that the accident                     road. He said that at the scene of              In these circumstances, as the
occurred on a wide part of the                  the accident they agreed that the               Plaintiff’s exposure to costs,
road and the Defendant drove                    accident was 50/50 and they                     exceeds the decree, there was no
into him because he was driving                 would pay for the damage to their               payment made to him.
too fast and his car lost control.              own cars. He said that the
                                                Plaintiff had drink taken and that
Under cross-examination the                     was why he did not want the
Plaintiff accepted that he did not              police at the scene of the
wish the police to be called to the             accident.


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ERIN TRACEY QUIGLEY V DAMIEN MCDAID AND MAURA MCDAID


Londonderry County Court
20th October 2003
Judge McFarland

The plaintiff claimed that on 12                riding that day as there was no                  The judge however failed to
December 1997 she was thrown                    supervision available.                           accept that her injury was still
from a pony which she had been                                                                   causing Ms Quigley pain, taking
instructed to exercise by the                   Judge McFarland believed it was                  into account the medical evidence
defendants. As a result of the                  a matter of common sense not to                  along with the fact that she had
incident Ms Quigley sustained a                 allow an inexperienced horse-                    not sought any further medical
severe ankle injury requiring two               rider such as Ms Quigley to ride                 treatment for the ankle injury
operations under general                        unsupervised. He surmised that                   since the final operation some 5
anaesthetic. Although medical                   the case was merely a question of                years ago.
reports stated that she had made a              fact, whether he believed that the
full recovery, Ms Quigley                       defendants had instructed Ms                     The plaintiff was awarded the
maintained that she was still                   Quigley to ride unsupervised and                 sum of £9,000 which was reduced
experiencing ‘excruciating’ pain                if so whether she had contributed                by 50% as he believed she had
in her ankle.                                   to her own injury. On the whole                  contributed to her own injury, by
                                                Judge McFarland preferred the                    failing to consider her own
The defendants claimed that they                evidence of the plaintiff finding                inexperience and the weather
had not given any such instruction              the defendants liable for her                    conditions on the day of the
and had indeed explained to the                 injury.                                          accident.
plaintiff that she should not go




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    WILLIAM DIVIN –V- ARNTZ BELTING COMPANY LIMITED


    Taxing Master
    27 November 2003


In this matter the Plaintiff’s                  were easily and quickly                        refuse to allow the cost of an
Accountants had issued a bill for               identifiable. During our                       expert’s report if it was clearly of
£2,200 plus VAT for work                        submissions to the Master we                   no assistance in the preparation
carried out on the case. We                     demonstrated the calculations                  and presentation of the case, or if
challenged the bill on two                      involved. The pre-accident                     it unjustifiably duplicated
grounds. Firstly we objected to                 wages, net pay post-accident and               evidence already given. The
the propriety of instructing an                 future loss could be calculated                Plaintiff’s Costs Drawer,
Accountant. The Accountants                     within a matter of minutes                     however, relied on the judgement
were required to calculate the                  through the use of the                         of Mr Justice McLaughlin in the
Plaintiff’s pre-accident earnings,              Defendants’ pay sheet. Perhaps                 case of Linton v Warmflow
net pay post-accident, employer                 the most complicated calculation               Engineering Company Limited
and employee pension                            involved the employer                          who had stated that “the courts
contribution and future loss.                   contribution to the pension but                must always insist upon evidence
Such calculations could be easily               even this was simply a matter of               being presented to it in a concise,
made through examination of the                 taking a pre-accident statement,               comprehensible and professional
Defendant’s pay sheet and we                    obtaining 3% of this and                       manner.” The Master held that he
believed that it did not require the            multiplying it by a given number               was bound by the ruling in Linton
expertise of an Accountant. We                  of weeks. The future loss was                  v Warmflow Engineering
also challenged the quantum of                  easily calculated by using a                   Company Limited and believed
the fee in the event the Master                 multiplicand and multiplier. We                that the Plaintiff was therefore
found that the Plaintiff was                    pointed out to the Master that it              entitled to instruct an Accountant.
entitled to instruct an Accountant.             had taken less than 5 minutes to
                                                outline these simple calculations              The Master did however express
The Plaintiff in this case was an               to him yet the Plaintiff’s                     concern regarding the quantum of
operator in Arntz Belting                       Accountants charged £2,200 plus                the account. On examining the
Company Limited since 1975, we                  VAT for this.                                  Accountant’s report he
had easy access to his wages                                                                   commented that while it was
details, he was a straightforward               We sought to rely on the case of               indeed presented in a neat and
PAYE worker with no peaks and                   Carr v Potts in which Lord Justice             concise manner, it involved a
troughs in relation to his earnings.            Carswell had then ruled that it                simple exercise of checking
His earnings details therefore                  was open to the Taxing Master to               wages and deductions and

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analysing the calculations, a                   charged at the rate of £80 an                  the bill to £700 plus VAT,
process which would take no                     hour, and finally another 6.5                  allowing 6 hours at £80 for
longer than a couple of hours.                  hours preparing a report to                    calculations, 1 Senior Partner
The Plaintiff’s Accountants                     explain their calculations.                    hour at £120 to check
however had billed for 14 hours                 Following the addition of 2                    calculations, and another £100 for
at £80 per hour for simply                      Partners hours at £120 per hour                typing. He reduced Accountant’s
preparing computations, a further               the bill came to the sum of                    fee therefore by 68%
2 hours for taking instructions                 £2,200. The Master described
and reading the brief, again                    this as “nonsense” and reduced




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JONATHAN CAMPBELL (A MINOR) –V- GILLIAN SIMPSON

Belfast County Court
15 June 2004
District Judge Wells Sitting As A Deputy County Court Judge


This accident occurred on 26th                  and travelled out approximately 2              Plaintiff’s mother accepted that
April 1998 on the Victoria Road,                to 3 feet away from the bus.                   there was very little the
Carrickfergus, Co.Antrim. A 6                                                                  Defendant could have done to
year old minor Plaintiff had just               Just as she was about to pass the              have avoided the accident.
disembarked from a bus and a                    front of the bus the minor
supervisor was holding the minor                Plaintiff ran out and within a split           The minor Plaintiff had suffered a
Plaintiff’s hand to escort him                  second a collision occurred.                   left clavicular fracture and
across the road where the                                                                      extensive abrasion injuries
Plaintiff’s mother was waiting for              His Honour Deputy County Court                 together with a close head injury
him. The minor Plaintiff was                    Judge Wells held that the                      but he made a full recovery.
escorted across the front of the                Defendant had not been negligent
stationary bus and at the edge of               because her speed was not
                                                                                               .
the bus the supervisor stopped to               excessive and she had not been
check for traffic. Just at that                 travelling too close to the bus and
point the minor Plaintiff broke                 therefore the case was dismissed.
free from the supervisor and
darted across the road and was in               In the minor Plaintiff’s mother’s
collision with the Defendant who                police statement she herself
was overtaking the stationary bus.              accepted that her son “darted”
                                                from the supervisor’s grasp and
The Defendant entered Victoria                  ran out in front of the bus towards
Road just shortly before the                    her and that he gave the
accident locus and as she                       Defendant no chance of avoiding
approached the stationary bus she               contact with minor Plaintiff.
took her foot off the accelerator               Even in her evidence the minor




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ROBERTS V WEST COAST TRAINS LTD

Court Of Appeal
16 June 2004
Lord Justice Mummery, Lady Justice Arden and Mr Justice Cage



On 20 February 2003 an
                                                                                                           If the Applicant had
employment tribunal held that the               The question to be determined
                                                                                                            withdrawn his appeal he
Applicant Mr Roberts had not                    was whether or not he was
                                                                                                            could have relied on the
been dismissed by West Coast                    dismissed at all if he accepted
                                                                                                            original decision to
Trains Ltd. The Applicant                       reinstatement, albeit with
                                                                                                            dismiss. The Applicant
appealed this decision but the                  demotion, by the employer's
                                                                                                            chose however to keep
EAT dismissed the appeal and so                 appeal panel.
                                                                                                            the appeal alive and in
too did the Court of Appeal in a
                                                                                                            so doing took the risk
judgment delivered on 16 June                   The Applicant contended among
                                                                                                            that if he was
2004.                                           other things that at the time he
                                                                                                            subsequently reinstated
                                                had initiated proceedings before
                                                                                                            in employment, his
The facts of this case were that                the employment tribunal, he had
                                                                                                            unfair dismissal claim
the Applicant was dismissed                     been dismissed and it was not
                                                                                                            would be defeated.
following a disciplinary hearing                relevant to consider what had
in respect of an allegation of                  happened after the issue of his                            The fact that the
misconduct against an employee.                 complaint.                                                  Applicant had started
The Applicant appealed against                                                                              proceedings before the
this decision by invoking his                   The Court of Appeal concluded                               employment tribunal did
employer's internal appeal                      that                                                        not affect the legal
procedure as outlined in his                                                                                position and was not
                                                         Both the tribunal and
contract of employment.                                                                                     legally relevant. The
                                                          appeal tribunal had been
However, before the outcome of                                                                              situation was not frozen
                                                          entitled to come to the
that appeal was known the                                                                                   at the time of the issue of
                                                          decisions that they had.
Applicant launched proceedings                                                                              proceedings before the
in the employment tribunal                               Lord Justice Mummery                              tribunal, and turned
claiming unfair dismissal. The                            said that the decision of                         solely on the particular
internal appeal hearing was heard                         the appeal body to                                contract in the instant
before the hearing by the                                 reinstate the Applicant in                        case and the particular
employment tribunal and the                               a demoted position did                            facts on the dismissal
outcome of this process was to                            not involve termination                           and on the appeal.
revoke the employer's initial                             of the old contract and
decision to dismiss him and                               his re-engagement under
reinstate him with demotion from                          a new contract since the
senior chef to customer service                           dismissal and
assistant.                                                reinstatement were
                                                          carried out in
The Applicant did not return to                           accordance with the
work however and pursued his                              original employment
claim for unfair dismissal.                               contract.

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CANICE MCQUILLAN V PARAGON TILES LTD

Coleraine County Court
23 September 2004
Judge Rogers


The Plaintiff in this case claimed              the premises. When Mr. Tracey
that on 5 October 2002 whilst                   of the Defendants arrived shortly              In dismissing the Plaintiff’s case,
working at the Defendant’s                      afterwards, the Plaintiff had                  His Honour Judge Rogers said
premises in Coleraine he                        already had the accident and said              that there was a clear conflict of
sustained a laceration to his left              that it had happened when he was               evidence between the Plaintiff’s
hand whilst removing a cardboard                taking the cardboard box                       version of events and the
box containing the broken pieces                containing the pieces of mirror                Defendant’s. The Defendants had
of a mirror to a bin in the                     out of the shop when he hit one of             alleged that at no stage had the
storeroom. He alleged that he was               the freestanding units in the shop             Plaintiff been asked to clean up
requested to do this by the                     and a piece of the mirror cut him.             the glass. Their evidence was also
manager of the store and that no                                                               that protective gloves were
protective clothing and gloves                  He alleged that the Defendants                 available in the shop for
were provided.                                  were negligent in asking him to                employees who required to use
                                                clear up broken glass without                  them.
The Defendant’s evidence was                    providing protective gloves and
that the Plaintiff was not asked to             clothing and failing adequately to             His Honour dismissed the
remove the cardboard box                        supervise him.                                 Plaintiff’s case saying that in a
containing the pieces of broken                                                                credibility case of this sort, he
mirror by the manager. He had                   The Plaintiff received five sutures            preferred the evidence of the
been on his own in the store on                 to the wound on his left hand at               Defendants to that of the Plaintiff.
the day in question and opened up               Causeway Hospital.




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KEVIN MCGONIGLE V UNIVERSITY OF ULSTER

Coleraine County Court
24 September 2004
Judge Devlin


The Plaintiff in this case was                  Plaintiff was aware that it was a
employed by the Defendants at                   four man job. The Defendants                   It was put to him that Mr. Gavin
the University of Ulster in                     main contention was that on the                Price FRCS Consultant
Coleraine as a Porter. He claimed               medical evidence there was no                  Orthopaedic Surgeon who had
that on 10 January 2001 while                   evidence that the Plaintiff had                examined him on the Defendant’s
carrying staging with a colleague,              been injured as a result of the                part had concluded that, in his
he injured himself when he lost                 alleged incident.                              opinion, the Plaintiff had not
his balance on a step. He                                                                      injured his neck on the day in
sustained an injury to his neck                 The Plaintiff conceded that he                 question and that the mechanics
and right shoulder.                             had not made any immediate                     of the accident would suggest that
                                                report of the accident to his                  if the Plaintiff had been injured
He alleged that the Defendants                  superior. He said that he was                  he would have suffered a back
had failed in their duty to provide             aware of immediate pain and had                injury rather than a neck injury.
him with a safe place of work.                  to take a rest for one hour.
Specifically, he alleged that he                Although he said that he was                   The Plaintiff insisted that he had
had been given inadequate                       aware of wrenching his neck and                injured his neck.
assistance for the job in question;             shoulder, he did not go to see his
that he had been given inadequate               General Practitioner until                     Judge Devlin dismissed the
instructions and training and that              nineteen days after the accident               Plaintiff’s claim on an application
he had been allowed to lift heavy               and even at that stage had not                 by the Defendants that there was
items when the Defendants were                  mentioned an injury at work.                   no case to answer.
aware that he had been told to
avoid heavy work.                               He also accepted that he had had               His Honour said that he found the
                                                a long history of absence from                 Plaintiff completely lacking in
The Defendants conceded that the                work due to medical problems,                  credibility and did not accept that
Plaintiff had been lifting staging              primarily in relation to his neck.             he was injured in the way that he
with the assistance of only one                 He had been off work for                       alleged. The costs were awarded
other worker at the time, although              approximately six months prior to              in favour of the Defendants
this was a job which would                      the alleged accident and it                    against the Plaintiff.
normally be done by four men.                   occurred only two weeks after his
The Defendants contended that                   return to work.




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REBECCA ELIZABETH STEWART (A MINOR) V DAVID AND MARGARET
MCMILLAN T/A LIME PARK EQUESTRIAN CENTRE

Craigavon County Court sitting at Lisburn
27 September 2004
Judge Lynch


The Plaintiff claimed that on the               Evidence was given by two                      by the Plaintiff. He could not
29th September 1999 she was                     equestrian experts, one for the                accept from a commonsense point
attending the Defendant’s                       Plaintiff and one for the                      of view, why anyone with any
premises for a riding lesson. She               Defendant. Whilst the experts                  experience of horse instruction
fell off when jumping over a                    differed on aspects of the case,               would sit on a fence while a horse
fence. The Plaintiff’s evidence                 both experts agreed that they had              was jumping or wave their arms
was that the accident occurred                  never come across an instructor                at a horse to get it to jump.
because, firstly, during the lesson             sitting on a fence while a horse
reins were not being used.                      was jumping, nor would they                    He therefore found the case had
Secondly, the instructor was                    have expected an instructor to                 not been made out by the
sitting on the fence whilst the                 wave his arms at a pony to get it              Plaintiff. The case was dismissed.
pony jumped and thirdly, the                    to jump, as arm waving would
instructor tried to provoke, by                 have the opposite effect.                      The usual order for costs was
waving his arms, the pony to get                                                               made as the Plaintiff was legally
the pony to go over the jump.                   Judge Lynch said he had a                      aided.
                                                problem with the account given




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GERARD COX –V- LIAM GREEN T/A WHEELER’S FAST FOOD

Londonderry District Judge’s Court
19 January 2005
District Judge Keegan


This matter arose out of an                     several weeks following the                    relating to the accident recorded
accident which occurred on 7                    accident.                                      that Mr Cox had collapsed.
October 2001 in which the
Plaintiff alleged that he had                   In his examination-in-chief Mr                 Although the Plaintiff’s wife had
slipped on a spilt substance on the             Cox stated that he had little                  asserted that she had noted a pool
floor of Wheeler’s restaurant,                  memory of events and could not                 of brownish liquid in the vicinity
Strand Road, Londonderry. Mr                    remember slipping. He claimed                  of where her husband had
Cox landed heavily on his                       that his only recollection was on              allegedly fallen, she did not
posterior sustaining a soft tissue –            leaving the hospital. However, Mr              witness Mr Cox slipping. No
musculo ligamentous injury to the               Cox had previously informed Mr                 other witnesses attended to
tailbone region. He was removed                 Bateson, a consultant surgeon,                 support the Plaintiff’s claim.
to hospital. No x-rays where                    that he regained consciousness in
taken and no drugs were                         Wheelers and remembered                        Judge Keegan dismissed the
prescribed. Mr Cox complained                   ambulance attendants around him                Plaintiff’s case as he had failed to
of pain in this region for some                 trying to wake him up.                         establish that he had in fact
                                                Furthermore, the A & E notes                   slipped on a spillage.




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CHIEF CONSTABLE -V- ANGELA HANNA

Londonderry District Judge’s Court
14 February 2005
Mr Connor RM.


This Police Summons arose out                                                                  retained the services of Mr
of a road traffic accident which                The injured party on the other                 Trevor Wright, Consulting
occurred on 18th May 2004 on                    hand simply claimed that the                   Engineer. He was able to give
Harry’s Road, Hillsborough. The                 Defendant pulled out in front of               evidence that this section of the
Defendant stopped on Harry’s                    his motorbike. This was a very                 road was governed by a 30 mph
Road and intended to turn right                 significant accident and when the              speed limit and given the severity
into a gateway. The injured party               motorbike struck the rear off-side             of the impact and the distance
was travelling in the opposite                  panel of the Defendant’s car it                travelled by the motorbike after
direction on a 650cc Honda                      punctured both rear tyres,                     impact, some 80 ft and given that
motorbike. The Defendant’s case                 smashed the rear window and                    the motorbike and rider were out
was that the road was clear to                  broke the axle. The car was                    of sight prior to the
allow her to conduct this                       subsequently written-off. The                  commencement of the of the
manoeuvre and it was the injured                motorbike surprisingly was not                 Defendant’s turn that he was
party who had caused the                        written off, but was quite                     travelling at too fast a speed.
accident by not paying proper                   extensively damaged. The injured
attention to the speed limits and               party sustained significant                    Mr Connor, the Magistrate felt
to other traffic on the road. The               permanent injuries to his ankle                that having heard the facts of this
Defendant’s view was restricted                 and wrist.                                     unfortunate accident and setting it
by a corner 80 metres from where                                                               to the criminal standards, he had
she was positioned and round                    Engineering evidence was crucial               only one option, which was to
which the injured party came.                   in this case and the Defendant had             dismiss the complaint.




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