Saturday 16 February 2019

'Preposterous' - judge blasts claim that knocking ankle against shop shelf had turned former civil servant's life 'upside down'

Gerard Masterson sought €60,000 damages

Gerard Masterson, 58yrs, formerly of Sea Park, Mount Prospect Avenue, Clontarf, Dublin pictured leaving the Four Courts after he was awarded €1,500 following a Circuit Civil Court action. Collins Courts
Gerard Masterson, 58yrs, formerly of Sea Park, Mount Prospect Avenue, Clontarf, Dublin pictured leaving the Four Courts after he was awarded €1,500 following a Circuit Civil Court action. Collins Courts

Ray Managh

A judge has told a former Dublin civil servant, now retired to Spain, that he had never seen such utter gross exaggeration in his life arising from an injury in a local Mace store.

Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke told 58-year-old Gerard Masterson it had been preposterous of him to claim that his whole life had been turned upside down as a result of knocking his ankle against the bottom shelf of a shop display.

Mr Masterson told barrister Philip Fennell, counsel for Clearys Mace Store in St Gabriels Road, Clontarf, that he had injured his left ankle against the sharp edge of the display after having been “forced to side step” a speeding member of staff in an aisle.

Mr Fennell, who appeared with Edel McDermott of Ambrose O’Sullivan Solicitors, said Mr Masterson had not even asked to sit down and had left the store without reporting the incident to anyone.  Mr Fennell compared the injury with someone stubbing their toe.

Nr Masterson, formerly of Sea Park, Mount Prospect Avenue, Clontarf, Dublin, claimed damages of €60,000 for his suffering.

He was awarded €1,500 by Judge Groarke who said he was entitled to succeed on the basis that the sharp edge of the shelf should not have been there.

He said he had gone to the store in May 2014 to buy a baguette and a newspaper and had been confronted with a member of staff “moving dangerously quickly” towards him. The staff member was in his opinion breaking the speed limit and he had been forced to side step quickly to his left to avoid a collision and immediately felt waves of pain in his left ankle.

Mr Masterson said he had been too weak to stand around to speak to someone in the busy shop and had gone home where he had lain down on the couch and “lost consciousness.”

He had gone to his GP who had advised him to take some time off work, rest and take Panadol.  A medical record had referred to mild swelling and made no mention of a cut or laceration.

Judge Groarke said he could not understand why Mr Masterson had been referred to an Orthopaedic Surgeon who had prepared a report of considerable length. Mr Masterson had firstly said he had been concussed, was unable to walk and had to live on frozen food in his home for several days.

“After 12 days Mr Masterson’s injuries were resolved yet he claims his whole life was turned upside down and he is still complaining.  It is preposterous,” Judge Groarke said, awarding Masterson District Court costs.

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