Pawel Szewczyk had ‘made a nuisance of himself with a number of drivers’, judge said
A man who claimed he had been thrown backwards out of a bus by the driver in a dispute over 50 cent has lost a €60,000 damages claim for personal injuries against Dublin Bus.
Judge James O’Donohue said in the Circuit Civil Court today that Pawel Szewczyk had made a nuisance of himself over fares and must have stumbled and fallen out of the bus while disputing a fare with driver Sergiu Rui.
Barrister Jeri Ward, who appeared with CIE solicitor Orla Ryan for the bus company, told Szewczyk she would call evidence that he smelled of alcohol and was unsteady on his feet while arguing with the driver.
She told the court Szewczyk, of Leinster House, Main Street, Rush, Co Dublin, had been involved in disputes with a number of drivers and had spat twice on one of them during an argument.
Ms Ward said the driver had not left his security compartment and would not have been able to shove Szewczyk down steps at the entrance door as he alleged had happened.
Szewczyk claimed he had been asked to pay a fare of €3.30 when he knew it was only €2.80 and when he disputed this the driver had argued with him before stepping out of his driver’s seat and pushing him off the bus.
He claimed he had fallen onto the footpath and had injured his right arm, wrist, elbow and shoulder and his neck. He told Ms Ward he had been earlier awarded €18,000 for injuries he suffered in a road traffic accident.
The driver, Sergiu Rui, said he and other drivers used to accommodate Szewczyk when he was short a few cents but he had told him he was not going to do him any more favours after having been told he had spat on a colleague.
He at no time had left his driver’s compartment and could not have reached out to push him off the bus. He had seen Szewczyk become unsteady and fall out of the door. When he saw him getting up off the footpath he had driven off.
Judge O’Donohue said it had been difficult to accept that Szewczyk had not called the gardaí or instituted criminal proceedings against the driver. His solicitor had not written to Dublin Bus until five months after the incident, during which time he had already instructed another firm of solicitors.
“Relations between this driver and Mr Szewczyk were not good and he made a nuisance of himself with a number of drivers,” Judge O’Donohoe said when throwing out his €60,000 claim and awarding costs against him.
During the hearing Ms Ward asked Szewczyk if he was trying to win more easy money after having been awarded €18,000 in the road traffic case. He denied this was the case.