‘Serial litigant’ loses €60,000 damages claim

Margaret Stokes failed to inform court of previous accidents

Margaret Stokes,  of Stratton Walk, Adamstown, Lucan, Co Dublin,   leaving the Four Courts  in her Circuit Civil Court action for damages. Photograph:  Collins Courts

Margaret Stokes, of Stratton Walk, Adamstown, Lucan, Co Dublin, leaving the Four Courts in her Circuit Civil Court action for damages. Photograph: Collins Courts

 

A 35-year-old woman, described on Friday by a judge as “a serial litigant”, has lost a €60,000 damages claim for personal injury arising out of a road traffic accident.

Barrister Conor Kearney told the Circuit Civil Court that Margaret Stokes had failed to inform the court of previous accidents she had been involved.

“Even worse she did not tell her doctors about them,” Mr Kearney told Judge James O’Donohoe.

Judge O’Donohoe, dismissing her case and awarding costs against her, told Stokes, of Stratton Walk, Adamstown, Lucan, Co Dublin: “You are a serial litigant and you have sought to obtain money.”

The judge told Mr Kearney, who appeared with Delahunty O’Connor solicitors, that consultant Robert McQuillan had used the word “elaboration” about Ms Stokes’s complaints.

“Let’s call a spade a spade. I have no doubt that he means that she is laying it on,” Judge O’Donohoe said when dismissing her claim.

Ms Stokes had sued John Gray of Knoc Ard, Carnamuggagh, Letterkenny, Co Donegal, and the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland.

She claimed that on May 12th, 2011 she was a passenger in a vehicle at Carnamuggagh when it was rear-ended by Mr Gray. She said she was shocked and dazed and jolted forward so that she banged her head on the passenger window.

Liability had been conceded in the case before the court on Friday and the hearing had gone ahead to assess damages.

Mr Kearney said that as the law stood, even if there were legitimate injuries, the judge, if satisfied that a plaintiff had sought to mislead the court in any material respect, “shall” dismiss the case.

Dismissing the case Judge O’Donohoe said he was satisfied that Ms Stokes had not been forthcoming with the court about all of her previous accidents.