Wednesday 26 June 2019

Fibromyalgia sufferer (64) who sued over alleged failure to pay out on income protection policy settles case

Rose Prendergast (64) from Newtown, Clogher, Claremorris, Co Mayo. Photo: Courts Collins
Rose Prendergast (64) from Newtown, Clogher, Claremorris, Co Mayo. Photo: Courts Collins

Tim Healy

A WOMAN who sued over an alleged failure to pay out on an income protection insurance policy has settled her High Court action.

Rose Prendergast (64) had to cease working at Baxter Healthcare, Castlebar, Co Mayo, in 2002 due to health problems, including severe pain in her legs, back and neck.

She was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia (FM) which is a medical condition characterised by chronic widespread pain. She was not able to return to work and in agreement with the company in 2008 her employment was terminated.

She sought benefits under the terms of a group income protection plan Baxter had with Irish Life. However her application was refused.

Arising out of the refusal, Mrs Prendergast of Newtown, Clogher, Claremorris, Co Mayo, sued both Baxter and Irish Life Insurance. The claims were denied.

On Thursday, the third day of the hearing, Mr Justice Donald Binchy was told the case has been settled and could be struck out.

No details of the settlement, which are understood to be confidential, were given in open court.

Baxter's lawyers argued Mrs Prendergast has no claim against it, as it had done everything it could to process her claim under the income protection plan.  It was a decision by the insurer, which it had no hand act or part in, to refuse her claim, it argued.

Irish Life also rejected allegations it had been negligent in rejecting Mrs Prendergast's claim. A report complied on Irish Life's behalf by a healthcare professional suggested she had exaggerated her symptoms.  

Mrs Prendergast rejected the contention she had exaggerated her symptoms. She said she remains in pain and requires medication.

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