Wednesday 26 October 2016

Judge awards 'most unusual plaintiff I've come across' €15k in RTC case

Tim Healy

Published 16/12/2015 | 18:20

The Courts of Criminal Justice Dublin
The Courts of Criminal Justice Dublin

A MAN described by a judge as the "most unusual plaintiff he had come across in 29 years" has been awarded €15,000 by the High Court over a road accident.

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Mr Justice Michael Moriarity described volleyball coach, Abdulwhab Mishtaba, as an "unforgettably idiosyncratic" litigant reminiscent of the baritone popular medicine sellers in operas by Italian composer, Gaetano Donizetti.

The judge said his evidence was "unforgettable" and given in a "lordly and swashbuckling" fashion.

Because he gave unsatisfactory answers to questions and had not mitigated his losses, the judge said he was limiting  damages essentially for soft tissue injuries. He awarded €15,000, plus costs on the Circuit Court scale, and refused the defence application for a stay on his orders.

The judge earlier rejected defence arguments the plaintiff's evidence was false and misleading such as entitled the court to award no damages.

This plaintiff was a "fantasist" on some matters rather than "a shrewd and calculating knave", he said.

He had sued over injuries suffered in a road accident on the Dock Road, Limerick, on January 27, 2012, when travelling as a front seat passenger, wearing his seatbelt, in a car driven by Aimal Daudzay, Westborne Holiday Hostel, Courtbrack Avenue, Dock Road.

It was claimed a car owned by AAA Car Rentals Ltd, Lower Mallow Street, Limerick,  and driven by Mary Susan Barry, Kidbroke Park Road, London, collided with the passenger side of the car in which the plaintiff was travelling.

He sued the car rental company, Ms Barry and Mr Daudzay arising from the accident.

Liability was admitted and the matter was before the court for assessment of damages only.

In  his judgment, Mr Justice Moriarty said the defendants had argued the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004, permitting refusal of damages when a court is satisfied a plaintiff knowingly gave false and misleading evidence, applied to this case.

The defence did not dispute liability but put the plaintiff on proof of his injuries, he said.  The court was provided with "extraordinarily voluminous" medical reports relating not just to the accident but also heard evidence.

While "not satirising or trivialising" the plaintiff, his evidence put the court in mind of the baritone sellers of popular medicine popularised in operas by Donizetti and others, the judge said.  Much of his evidence was "disjointed" and "time-wasting".

The collision caused soft tissue injuries of moderate severity and he suffered pain and discomfort, the judge found.

He was "not impressed" with his evidence concerning the impact on his prowess as a volleyball player and coach or his activities in the wider Limerick community.

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