HHJ Baucher has handed down her reserved judgment in the trial of Esther Odewale v London Borough of Tower Hamlets in which James Rozier, instructed by Plexus Law, represented the Defendant.
The Claimant alleged she had suffered serious injuries as a result of tripping on a defective pavement in February 2014. The claim had a pleaded value of up to £200,000 and the Claimant sought to recover in excess of £100,000 in costs. In her judgment HHJ Baucher concluded that the Claimant had been fundamentally dishonest for the purposes of s.57 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 (CJCA 2015). Further, HHJ Baucher ordered that covert surveillance footage which had been obtained by the Defendant and relied upon at trial must be served upon the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
The Claimant relied upon having developed fibromyalgia/myofascial pain syndrome as a result of her fall which had resulted in serious restrictions in her mobility. In making her finding of fundamental dishonesty HHJ Baucher concluded that the Claimant had deliberately exaggerated her symptoms to experts in the case and relied upon evidence including James’s ‘forensic analysis’ of the Claimant’s medical and DWP records, and, their contrast with the Claimant’s mobility within the covert surveillance footage.
Further, HHJ Baucher also accepted James’s submission that, even if the Court was not satisfied that the “primary claim” was dishonest, the claim would have to have been dismissed in any event due to the Claimant’s “related claim” for care and assistance having also been dishonesty exaggerated (as per s.57(1)(b) CJCA 2015).
The claim was accordingly dismissed with an enforceable costs order subject to s.57(5) of the CJCA 2015.