Dishonesty of man who sued hotel for injuries was ‘relentless’

Judge said Jason Platt acted in determined fashion to try rob hotel of ‘colossal amount’

The dishonesty of a man who sued a hotel for injuries sustained when he fell out a window was “relentless”, a Court of Appeal judge has said.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine said Jason Platt gave misleading evidence and acted in a determined fashion "to literally rob the defendants of what by any standards was a colossal amount of money."

She was giving the three member court's judgment dismissing Mr Platt's appeal over the High Court's rejection of his action over his fall from a third floor window of the Old Bank House Kinsale while on a Valentine's weekend away in 2009.

Ms Justice Irvine said Mr Platt’s “false and misleading evidence was no once off rush of blood to the head” and his dishonesty was “repeated and determined”.

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Mr Platt, from Liverpool had claimed he could not live independently following the accident at the Old Bank House, Pearse Street, Kinsale, when, while attempting to flick ash from a cigarette, he fell out a window some seven metres on to a roof below.

Mr Platt had sued OBH Luxury Accommodation Ltd, with offices at Pearse Street, Kinsale and company director Ciaran Fitzgerald as a result of the accident.

The hotel owners contended Mr Platt threw himself from the window of his guestroom following a heated argument with his fiancée.

In his action, he claimed he suffered life changing injuries and has to use a wheelchair and crutches and is housebound.

Video footage filmed in 2015 showed him leaving his house, shopping and driving his car.

The High Court had found Mr Platt had exaggerated his disability following the incident to maximise his claim for claim for £1.49 million sterling in special damages.He had also claimed for aids including a powered wheelchair, specially adapted car and services of a cleaner, gardener and skilled handy man.

Dismissing his appeal, Ms Justice Irvine said she was fully satisfied the finding of the trial judge that Mr Platt gave evidence that was false and misleading in a material respect, knowing it to be false, was well supported by the evidence.

Mr Platt’s own evidence was designed to depict him as a man who had suffered relentless pain and enjoyed little or no independent mobility and that this would be his plight for the rest of his life, she said.

If believed, he stood to recover an award of general damages at the very upper end of awards and in circumstances where awards of that nature are reserved for those “truly catastrophically injured”, she said.

The video evidence disclosed a “very different picture” of Mr Platt’s injuries.

Referring to the claim for £1.49 million, Ms Justice Irvine said Mr Platt might have extracted it by way of settlement in advance of trial or by a court award had it not been for the astute and significant surveillance deployed by the defendants “which ultimately unearthed his dishonesty”.

Mr Platt is "precisely the type of plaintiff" the Oireachtas sought to target when it enacted Section 26 of the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004. Under that, a court can dismiss a case advanced on fraudulent and misleading evidence.

The judge said his dishonesty was “relentless” and he gave misleading evidence and provided details of a claim for past and future loss which went to the heart and very core of his claim.

Were it not for the extreme vigilance of the defendants in their investigations, something which undoubtedly put them to enormous expense, “the fraud which Mr Platt intended to perpetrate would likely have gone undetected.”

Notwithstanding his serious injuries, it was neither unfair nor disproportionate of the High Court to dismiss his action, she held.