Eglington v Batchelor  CC (Mayors and City) 21/12/17
The Claimant's genuine injury claim had been substantially exaggerated, and on production of evidence to this end, the Claimant agreed to pay our costs to exit the claim.
Further to our recent success in Kona and the continued progression of Project Martello, this claim is further evidence of success with the methods and tactics being adopted.
The Claimant brought two claims for injury, loss and damage arising from two separate incidents, in August 2013 and May 2014 respectively. Our client was the insurer for the Defendant in respect of the second incident.
Evidence was advanced that the Claimant had ongoing chronic pain syndrome to his neck and back, resulting in substantial additional claims for care, disadvantage on the open labour market, and loss of earnings. Proceedings were issued.
The Claimant's claims were case managed together as medical evidence suggested that his injuries from the incidents were attributable on a 50/50 basis. However, the neck injury to which the care claim was linked was directly attributed to the second incident, and our client was forced to hold a reserve of just over £350,000.
The claim aroused suspicion as a soft tissue injury in a minor road traffic accident had resulted in extensive medical evidence and an apparent disproportionate valuation.
An investigation of the Claimant's social media presence suggested that he was exaggerating his injuries and therefore the extent of the claim.
The claim was therefore designated part of Clydes' Project Martello which involves the creation of tactics and strategies specifically designed to defeat exaggerated claims, with particular focus on obtaining findings of Fundamental Dishonesty pursuant to Section 57 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act.
In order to defeat the claim, we employed the following tactics:
- A clear list of indicators prompted the initial social media investigation which unearthed very valuable evidence.
- Surveillance was also carried out, during which the Claimant demonstrated his actual capabilities, including him pushing a broken down vehicle and carrying heavy objects at a rubbish tip;
- Upon agreement with Counsel and the client regarding the overwhelmingly positive prospects, an Application was issued seeking permission to rely on an amended Defence with reference to Section 57.The Application also sought that the matter be listed for hearing to address the question of whether the claim should be struck out now on the basis of a finding of fundamental dishonesty;
- As part of the amended Defence, an interactive schedule / timeline was produced highlighted the Claimant's inconsistent evidence;
- A Part 36 offer which had been previously made to the Claimant was also withdrawn;
- On consideration of the content of the Application, the Claimant agreed to pay us £5,000.00 to end the claim prior to the hearing.This represented our costs minus the amount for general damages which the claimant would likely have recovered for the genuine part of his injury claim.
What can we learn?
- Disclosure of the Schedule and timeline forced the Claimant and his representatives to confront his dishonest statements.
- Making the Application to amend the Defence early and asking the Court to strike out the claim due to fundamental dishonesty forced the issue to be dealt with before trial, significantly reducing cycle time and costs.
- It is clear that applications of this nature, if advanced at the correct time can be devastating to those claimants who exaggerate their claims, as the Claimant was essentially forced into a position where he had to buy his way out of the litigation.
- This case marked another success for Project Martello, which has resulted in over £1.25 million worth of savings for clients this year alone.
Commenting, Blanche Richards of Team Martello said:
"Withdrawing a Part 36 offer is obviously a bold move on the part of a Defendant, but we felt confident that the way we had presented the evidence would persuade a judge that the case was suitable for dismissal in its entirety under Section 57. Tactically, it had huge impact on the claimant representatives and changed the dynamics of the case for them."