'Appalling waste of time' - man who claimed he was humiliated when friend's bag checked in shop has €75K damages claim dismissed
A Circuit Court judge has called a €75,000 defamation case against JD Sports and Diverse Security Services Limited “an appalling waste of time” before dismissing the case.
Gary Cosgrove (25) of Crumlin Road, Dublin 12, had told Ms Justice Jacqueline Linnane that he had been carrying out some last-minute Christmas shopping in Dundrum Shopping Centre on the 23 of December 2015.
Mr Cosgrove said he had been accompanied by two male friends and they had gone into JD sports where one of the friends had purchased four items. He told the Circuit Civil Court that after they left the store, a security guard had come up behind them and snatched the bag from his friend’s hand.
He said the security guard had asked the three of them to accompany him back to the shop and he had done so because he felt intimidated. The bag had been checked at the front of the store by the guard and it had been discovered a security tag was still attached to an Armani jacket. It had been removed by a member of staff and the three men had departed the store.
Judge Linnane said that although Mr Cosgrove had not purchased anything in the store, he is the only one who had decided to take an action. She said Cosgrove had claimed to be embarrassed, humiliated and intimidated by the incident whereas one of his friend’s had found the whole thing funny.
She said although Mr Cosgrove had told the court the three men should have been brought into a back room to have the bag searched, she believes this would have made the whole incident more noticeable.
She said from the three men’s descriptions, it had been clear the entire shopping centre had been extremely busy with people bumping into each other, yet everyone had been able to stare at the bag being checked.
Judge Linnane said Cosgrove and one friend had told her they had heard no beeping as they left the store, but the other friend had said he thinks he might have heard it. There had also been conflict over the description of the security guard.
The judge told barrister Conor Kearney, who appeared with Shaffrey Solicitors for JD Sports that the security guard’s evidence had been that the incident never occurred.
Judge Linnane said to Tom Clarke, who appeared with Pembroke Solicitors for the security company that even if the incident had happened, she saw no justification for a claim whatsoever.
Cosgrove had not been defamed and claims in the premises of him having been accused of stealing and being part of a criminal gang were not true, she said.
Judge Linnane dismissed the €75,000 claim against JD Sports Fashion Plc, trading as JD Sports and Diverse Security Services Limited before calling it “an appalling waste of time”.
A spokesperson for AIG Insurance said after the case it was delighted with the outcome. It fully intended challenging all claims in court in which they felt there was a reasonable chance of success. By fighting cases the company aims to reduce costs to customers and persuade claimants to think hard before “wasting court time” with potentially questionable claims.