Saturday 21 September 2019

Retired waiter who sued over 'slip and fall' in pub withdraws High Court claim

Maurice Durnin says he has suffered pain after twisting his ankle
Maurice Durnin says he has suffered pain after twisting his ankle

Tim Healy

A retired waiter who sued over a slip and fall on the wet floor of a pub he worked in ten years ago has withdrawn his High Court damages claim.

The move came after the second day of cross examination of Maurice Durnin (71) by counsel for Cogan's Bar and restaurant, Milltown Malbay, Co Clare, whose owned James Cogan was sued.

The court heard no compensation was being paid under the settlement of the action. Mr Durnin denied he was exaggerating in his claim.

Mr Durnin had claimed he was suffering from chronic "burning" pain as a result of the accident in which he said he twisted his ankle.

Under continuing cross examination by the pub's counsel Padraig McCartan, Mr Durnin was asked why, in 12 observations of him in video footage taken by a private investigator between March 2012 and last week, he never used a crutch or had a limp except when he was visiting two doctors.

Mr Durnin replied that none of the videos showed he was suffering from chronic pain.

Counsel said there was "nothing like the limp" he exhibited on his first day in court and that he had "limped markedly" in court.

Counsel put it to Mr Durnin he was exaggerating his claim.

Mr Durnin replied he was wearing an ankle foot support in court. He said: "I am not trying to exaggerate anything.

"You can’t exaggerate chronic pain. You either have it or you don’t."

He said his main problem is his chronic pain and "you can't see it."

He added: "I don't got through life saying 'ooh I have a pain'. I carry on with life.

"I don't go around shouting and screaming. I still have chronic pain still and it is still very high."

On Friday, after lunch, Michael F Collins SC, for Mr Durnin, told the court the case had been settled on terms.

It did not include a payment of compensation and the claim in its entirety was being withdrawn, counsel said. He asked that no order for costs be made which means each side pay their own.

Ms Justice Bronagh O'Hanlon who had heard evidence over two and a half days wished both sides well.

The claim included one for special damages totalling about €250,000 and a large proportion of this was hospital bills.

Mr Durnin (71) Banteer, Co Cork had sued over the accident on March 3, 2009 when he was working as a waiter. He had claimed he slipped on an allegedly wet floor and turned over on his right ankle as he served breakfast to two customers.

He had claimed there was an alleged failure to ensure the floor was in a safe condition and said he was now now disabled in certain day to day activities.

All the claims were denied.

The Cogan side also contended there was alleged negligence on the part of Mr Durnin who it is claimed did not look where he was walking. It was further alleged if the floor was wet, which was not admitted, Mr Durnin had allegedly failed to clean up and dry it in an appropriate manner.

The court viewed footage of Mr Durnin walking at Killarney National Park, buying petrol, attending doctor's appointments and walking his dog on different occasions in the last few years.

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