De Cataldo -v- Petro Gas Group Ltd & Ors

As a result of a slip outside a petrol station, the plaintiff claimed she suffered a serious injury to her left pelvis, hip and sacrum area which had the effect of disabling her for a prolonged period of time from a variety of normal activities, namely, work for about three months, and a host of domestic activities for upwards of three years.

In respect of this latter claim, i.e. her inability to do a variety of domestic chores, she claimed that she required the assistance of a carer or nursing assistant for three years, and she submitted, in these proceedings, a claim for over €73,000 for the cost of employing three carer/nurse assistants sequentially over the time involved. She updated that claim by the provision of further particulars to include the third carer, raising the claim from approximately €69,000 to €73,490.

When the proceedings came on for hearing, this claim was abandoned, as also was the claim for €10,175 for a variety of oils and other preparations. When challenged on the making of that claim, the plaintiff’s explanation was that this claim was put in by her solicitor contrary to her instructions. In response to this evidence, Mr. Burns S.C. for the defendants, put to the plaintiff the affidavit of Mr. John Synnott, her solicitor and the exhibit therein, grounding an application by Mr. John Synnott to come off record for the plaintiff.

This affidavit and the letter exhibited paint an entirely different picture. Mr. Synnott applied to come off record because he was unwilling to continue acting for the plaintiff because of what he deposed to as the exaggeration by the plaintiff of her claims and, specifically, her claim for €73,490 for nursing assistants, and other incidences where he felt he had been misled by the plaintiff.

The Judge went on to comment that the plaintiff’s evidence was wholly unreliable, that he was satisfied, on the balance of probabilities that she had not slipped on oil and that the defendants were not guilty of negligence.

The full judgement can be read here:

S. Major, Lacey Solicitors