Cork man has case dismissed for 'misleading and unimpressive' footpath fall claim

Cork man has case dismissed for 'misleading and unimpressive' footpath fall claim

A YOUNG man who “appears to have a problem walking down footpaths” brought his third claim yesterday for compensation against Cork City Council for tripping on a footpath.

The judge dismissed the claim saying there was a perfectly good footpath across the road but the plaintiff chose to walk on the faulty one.

The local authority’s barrister said during the case at Cork Circuit Court that – apart from Jesus Christ – not many people fall for the third time.

22-year-old Adam Donovan of Hollyhill Lane, Cork, testified that his mother met him after work and they went over to Centra to buy scratch cards for his grandmother and walk down to her house in Bridevalley View, Fairhill, along a footpath with which he was very familiar, on September 1 2017.

“When I was walking down, talking to my mother I was talking to my mother and the next thing I know my right leg went down and I twisted my leg. I got up and could not put pressure on my right leg,” the plaintiff said.

He got a lift home from there and took painkillers and put his right foot in a dish of iced water. He thought it would clear up but it was still sore on September 7 so he went to Mercy University Hospital and they did scans and x-rays and advised him to go to his GP if it continued to pain him. He went to his doctor on September 26.

He stopped playing soccer until after Christmas and then returned to it but added, “When I was training it was coming at me.” He gave up soccer and trained in the gym and that did not cause him ankle pain, he told his barrister, Donnacha Kiely.

Barrister for Cork City Council, James Duggan, put it to the plaintiff, “You were very familiar with the area, you knew the footpath was in a bad condition?” 

Donovan replied, “Just because it is in a bad condition, does that mean you can’t walk down it?” Mr Duggan said, “It was in bad condition, you should have been taking more care.” 

The plaintiff replied, “It is not my fault. The footpath should be fine.

“You appear to have a problem walking down footpaths. This is your third fall,” the defence barrister said. 

“It is not my fault,” the plaintiff said. 

Mr Duggan BL said, “Not many people fall three times. Our Lord, unfortunately, did. You seem to have done it three times - once when you were 12 or 13 you fell and it was on a footpath. You brought a claim for that. How much did you get?” 

Adam Donovan replied, “I am not sure.” Mr Duggan BL said, “€5,000 – does that sound right?” 

The city council barrister said there was another claim arising out of a fall on February 16 2016. The defendant said in the first incident he was walking his dog and in the 2016 fall he was jogging by Knocknaheeny Park. He could not remember how much compensation he was given for that fall either.

As well as the three claims against Cork City Council, the plaintiff confirmed he brought a claim against CIE/Bus Eireann in 2016. 

He said he consulted a solicitor about injuries he sustained when assaulted in the 3 Arena in Dublin but no claim was brought. Mr Duggan said that in the reply to particulars he did not mention the 3 Arena injuries.

Mr Duggan said three family members of the plaintiff had brought claims against Cork City Council in the past. The plaintiff replied: “What has that got to do with anything?” Judge Brian O’Callaghan said the claim was brought in relation to a twisted ankle. 

The judge said, “The plaintiff categorically knew well the footpath was faulty and made it quite clear that he was entitled to walk on this footpath, it was his right to walk on the footpath and why should he not.

“The court cannot be blind to a perfectly good footpath across the road (in photographs) if he wanted to exercise his right to traverse footpaths. He knew there is a good footpath and chose to walk on this faulty footpath.

“He made an intentional decision. The court has to state quite categorically that it is unimpressed with his evidence on other injuries. A plaintiff, when pursuing a claim has an utter responsibility to declare in a fulsome way about other claims and injuries… The court must have great concerns about his evidence.

“This court won’t go so far as to say it was false but it was misleading and unimpressive. The court proceeds to dismiss the plaintiff’s claim. The court feels practically obliged to make an order for costs (against the plaintiff) and does so.”

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