Friday 17 November 2017

Airport worker drops €120k injury claims after he was pictured 'lugging suitcases'

Janis Kapteinis
Janis Kapteinis

Ray Managh

A Dublin airport worker has withdrawn personal injury claims for €120,000 against insurance companies and two of their customers after having been secretly photographed lugging suitcases onto a coach he drove while claiming he was unfit for work.

Irish based Latvian Janis Kapteinis abandoned two €60,000 damages claims in the Circuit Civil Court following forensic questioning by top insurance lawyers.

Barrister Conor Kearney, who appeared with solicitors Delahunty O’Connor, told Kapteinis that the only reason he had earlier dropped a €25,000 claim for alleged loss of earnings was that he would have been unable to prove it.

Kapteinis, a 34-year-old caterer at Dublin Airport pulled both his claims when Eve Bolster, counsel for Hertz Rent-a-Car, handed Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke pictures of him lifting and laying passengers from and to the airport and lugging their baggage onto a tour coach.

Ms Bolster, who appeared with Hertz in-house solicitor Michael Brennan, told Kapteinis, of Ashton Green, Swords, Co Dublin, he had been secretly photographed parking and collecting his coach away from his home so he would not be suspected of driving for the bus company.

When handed one of the photographs by Judge Groarke and asked had he driven the bus when he claimed he was unable to work, Kapteinis said he had done so about four times a month as a favour for the coach owner.

Janis Kapteinis and President Michael D Higgins
Janis Kapteinis and President Michael D Higgins

Judge Groarke was told Kapteinis had been involved in road traffic accidents in November 2013 involving an Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, motorist and in December 2014 involving Hertz and had claimed that in the first accident he had suffered back injuries which had been exacerbated by the second crash.  He claimed neither crash had been his fault.

He denied suggestions by Mr Kearney that he had been involved in two other accidents which he had not disclosed to legal teams for either defendant.

Kapteinis also told the court he knew nothing about an accident allegedly involving his private car and from which six claims had arisen, two from occupants of his car and four from passengers in another car involved in the collision.

Ms Bolster told Kapteinis she would be calling a witness who would tell the court he had slammed on his brakes for no good reason which had caused the rear-ending of his car in the second accident.

Following Kapteinis’s evidence and extended cross-examination, Ms Susan Connolly, senior claims manager for Royal Sun Alliance, told the court that six claims had been made in relation to the accident Mr Kapteinis claimed he knew nothing about.

Following a brief adjournment to facilitate talks between the parties, counsel for Kapteinis told the court his client was withdrawing both his damages claims.

Judge Groarke said he would dismiss both claims and awarded costs against Kapteinis to both defendants.

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