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Fletcher v Royal United Hospital Bath NHS Trust, Bristol County Court, 19 March 2009

30 March 2009
The issues

Costs – causation – CPR Part 44 – exaggerated claim – Carver v BAA – split Order for costs.

The facts

The Claimant had a claim for personal injuries following an assault by a violent patient on the 31st October 2003. Liability had been admitted. The Claimant alleged that the incident had brought about or worsened fibromyalgia. A Schedule had been presented to the Defendants in excess of £240,000.00 and at Trial a skeleton had been lodged seeking damages of £200,000.00. The Court rejected the Claimant’s case on fibromyalgia and held that there was no connection between the assault and the fibromyalgia from which it was agreed the Claimant suffered. The Claimant was awarded just over £12,000.00. The Claimant submitted that it had been in reality the successful party. The Claimant had made a Part 36 offer £100,00.00. The Defendant had made a Part 36 offer of £5,000.00 plus CRU liability. (CRU was in excess of £40,000.00.) The Defendants admitted that in going to Trial the Claimant had recovered £7,000.00 but had failed to recover the £200,000.00 that she had been seeking. Three days of Court time had been utilised and tens of thousands of pounds had been incurred in respect of costs for experts and lawyers. It was further submitted that the Defendant, being an NHS Trust, any costs and damages ultimately paid had to come out of the same health budget which had to be allocated to provide for medical care and treatment of the public. The Defendant sought a split Order for costs, taking into account the reality of the situation.

The decision

The Judge acceded to the Defendant’s submissions ordering that the Defendant pay the Claimant’s costs up and until the 5th November 2008, being the first day of the Trial and that thereafter the Claimant pay the costs of the Defendant incurred on the last 2 days of the Trial.

For further information with regard to this case please contact Sarah Aslett-Jones (telephone number: +44 (0)1392 288329 or email saj@vpinsurance.net).

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