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Friday 19 April 2019

'Preposterous' €60k ankle injury claim is given a good kicking

Gerard Masterson ‘claimed his life was turned upside down’
Gerard Masterson ‘claimed his life was turned upside down’

A judge has told a former Dublin civil servant claiming €60,000 for an injury suffered at his local Mace store that he had never seen such utter gross exaggeration in his life, as he awarded him €1,500.

Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke told Gerard Masterson (58) it had been "preposterous" of him to claim that his whole life had been turned upside down as a result of knocking his ankle against the bottom shelf of a shop display.

Mr Masterson, formerly of Sea Park, Mount Prospect Avenue, Clontarf, Dublin, is now living in retirement in Madrid.

He told barrister Philip Fennell, counsel for Clearys Mace Store in St Gabriel's Road, Clontarf, that he had injured his left ankle against the sharp edge of the display after having been "forced to sidestep" a speeding member of staff in an aisle.

Mr Fennell said Mr Masterson had not even asked to sit down and had left the store without reporting the incident to anyone.

The barrister compared the injury with someone stubbing their toe.

Mr Masterson, who had claimed damages of €60,000 for his suffering, was awarded €1,500 by Mr Justice Groarke, who said he was entitled to succeed in his claim on the basis that the sharp edge of the shelf should not have been there.

He said he had gone to the store in May 2014 to buy a baguette and a newspaper and had been confronted with a member of staff "moving dangerously quickly" toward him.

The staff member was, in his opinion, moving at speed and he had been forced to sidestep quickly to his left to avoid a collision. He immediately felt waves of pain as a result in his left ankle.

Mr Masterson said he had been too weak to stand around to speak to someone in the busy shop and had gone home, where he had laid down on the couch and "lost consciousness".

Complaining

He had gone to his GP, who had advised him to take some time off work, rest and take Panadol.

A medical record had referred to mild swelling and made no mention of a cut or laceration.

Mr Justice Groarke said he could not understand why Mr Masterson had been referred to an orthopaedic surgeon, who had prepared a report of considerable length.

Mr Masterson initially said he had been concussed, was unable to walk and had to live on frozen food in his home for several days.

"After 12 days Mr Masterson's injuries were resolved, yet he claims his whole life was turned upside down and he is still complaining... it is preposterous," the judge said, awarding Mr Masterson district court costs.

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