Markel Law’s Casualty team recently took a case to trial that it was struck out with the judge finding that the claimant was fundamentally dishonest.
Published on 5 December, 2023
As our clients know, proving fundamental dishonesty is often extremely difficult. Using hard work and expertise, the team ultimately saved the client £150K with the claimant being ordered to pay court costs.
The case involved the claimant, an electrical contractor, allegedly falling through a skylight whilst carrying out electrical works for our client, an electrical company, on a flat roof at a Boots store. The claimant sustained a back injury, multiple and severe lacerations causing permanent scarring, and alleged psychological injury.
He brought his claim against two defendants: the principal contractor and our client - his alleged de-facto employer. He claimed that work on the flat roof was planned and both defendants were aware that he would be working at that location on the day in question.
The Casualty team worked together with the principal contractor’s solicitors to present a united front. Our case was that work had not been planned on the flat roof at the material time, hence no protective measures were in place in respect of the skylights. Furthermore, the case also put forward that neither defendant was aware that the claimant intended to or was working on the flat roof.
We obtained evidence via Facebook and medical records to cast doubt on the claimant’s case, along with evidence from the team’s own psychiatrist who also raised significant concerns regarding his honesty and reliability. The claimant struggled under cross examination at trial, gave inconsistent oral testimony both in respect of prior witness evidence and his own prior oral testimony.
The Judge found the claimant was an unconvincing witness in respect of the liability issues, and that he had significantly exaggerated his claim. The defendants’ witnesses were found to be compelling and truthful. Ultimately, the Judge found that neither defendant was in breach of its duty, and that the claimant had lied about the central issue of the defendants being aware that he would be working on the roof.
This, together with misleading the medical expert regarding prior psychiatric symptoms and the fact he had returned to playing rugby sooner than he alleged, the claimant was found to be fundamentally dishonest, and ordered to pay both defendants’ costs.
Owen Welsh, Partner & Head of Casualty, UK at Markel Law said, “This case was the perfect illustration of how the team’s decades of experience rises up to what is always considered a difficult challenge - proving fundamental dishonesty.”
“Markel Law will continue to fight where we feel it is right to do so and this is just one example of the many cases we take to trial and win for our clients,” Welsh concluded.
Markel Law is an independent SRA-authorised and regulated legal services business, our team of 64 lawyers are experts in legal services, specialising in civil and employment disputes and regulatory law. Learn more.