Judge criticises ‘preposterous’ €60,000 personal injury claim

Court told Gerard Masterson’s life ‘turned upside down’ after he hit ankle off shelf in Mace shop

Gerard Masterson,  formerly of Sea Park,  Clontarf, Dublin  is pictured leaving the Four Courts. Photograph: Collins Courts.

Gerard Masterson, formerly of Sea Park, Clontarf, Dublin is pictured leaving the Four Courts. Photograph: Collins Courts.


A judge told a former civil servant that he had never seen such a gross exaggeration in his life when the man took a case over an injury he claimed to have suffered in his local Mace store.

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

Mr Masterson, formerly of Sea Park, Clontarf, Dublin but now living in Spain, told barrister Philip Fennell, counsel for Cleary’s Mace of St Gabriel’s Road, Clontarf, that he injured his left ankle against the sharp edge of the display after being “forced to side step” a speeding member of staff.

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 to someone stubbing their toe.

Sharp edge

Mr Masterson, who claimed damages of €60,000 for his suffering, was awarded €1,500 by Judge Groarke, who said he was entitled to something on the basis that the sharp edge of the shelf should not have been there.

He said he went to the store in May 2014 to buy a baguette and a newspaper and was confronted with a member of staff “moving dangerously quickly” towards him.

After hitting his ankle, Mr Masterson said he was too weak to stand around to speak to someone in the busy shop and went home, lay down on the couch and “lost consciousness”.

He went to his GP who advised him to take some time off work, rest and take Panadol. A medical record 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 Mr Masterson District Court costs.