“The most fundamentally dishonest case …”

HHJ Roberts described the first claimant’s case as “the most fundamentally dishonest case” that he had ever heard.

Overview

HHJ Roberts, in the case of Chalfoun (1) Chalfoun (2) v Metroline Travel Limited (2018), dismissed both claimants’ claims against the defendant bus company, describing the first claimant’s case as “the most fundamentally dishonest case” that he had ever heard.

Background

The claims arose out of a road traffic accident between the first claimant’s vehicle and the defendant’s bus in October 2015. The second claimant was the first claimant’s son and passenger in his car. The first claimant’s vehicle stopped in front of the defendant’s bus resulting in a collision. It was the defendant’s case that the first claimant had no reason to stop in front of them and stopped without warning in front of the bus to fraudulently induce a collision.

The defendant’s driver was found to have been driving reasonably, when the first claimant moved in front of the bus and slammed on his brakes. The defendant’s driver did all he could, especially given that he had elderly passengers on board.

HHJ Roberts found that there was no reason for the first claimant to stop when he did and that he stopped deliberately to cause a collision. It was further found that he had lied about his pre-existing medical and accident history to the medical expert and lied about his injuries in an attempt to maximise his damages. It was also found that the first claimant was not actually injured as a result of the index accident.

HHJ Roberts declined to find that the first claimant’s actions were simply rash and were not premeditated and commented that it was “the most fundamentally dishonest case” that he had ever heard.

The defendant was awarded indemnity costs, including the costs of resisting the second claimant’s claim, against the first claimant, which could be enforced pursuant to CPR r 44.16 (1) and QOCS was dis-applied.  

Comment

Bus companies are sometimes seen as softer targets for fraudsters so it is good to see the defendant here being vindicated. It’s also good to see the courts taking a suitably robust approach which we are seeing more and more often. Where there is dishonesty, the court will back defendants who prepare their cases well.

If you have any questions or would like to know more about our legal update, please contact Sandra MacMichael, Associate on 0151 242 6879, or sandra.macmichael@weightmans.com.

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