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Personal injuries – Professional negligence – Damages – Appellant seeking damages for the professional negligence of the respondent – Whether appellant established that the outcome of his personal injuries action was undermined or rendered unsatisfactory

Posted 17/11/2016

Personal injuries – Professional negligence – Damages – Appellant seeking damages for the professional negligence of the respondent – Whether appellant established that the outcome of his personal injuries action was undermined or rendered unsatisfactory because of any professional failure on the respondent’s part 

Facts: The appellant, Mr Vesey, following upon his involvement in a road traffic accident on 9th September 1996, instituted proceedings seeking compensation for personal injury sustained in that accident. The defendant in that action, Bus Éireann, admitted liability and the matter was heard in the High Court as an assessment of damages for personal injury, loss of earnings and special damages. The appellant was represented by the first named solicitors in those proceedings until approximately May 1999, when the respondent firm of solicitors, Fabian Cadden & Co., came on record. On 27th November 2006, the appellant issued fresh proceedings in the High Court in which he claimed damages for, in effect, the professional negligence of the respondent in and about the manner it prepared and processed his personal injury action against Bus Éireann. On 14th April 2015, the High Court (O’Malley J) held that, having heard the appellant's evidence, it was impossible to avoid the conclusion that he was attempting, in reality, to re-litigate the issues in the Bus Éireann case and obtain damages from the respondent on the basis that he should have achieved a better result than he did. O’Malley J held that this was not a permissible course of action and was an abuse of the process of the court. The appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal against that judgment and the related Order of the High Court dated 24th April 2015, which was perfected on 29th April 2015.
Held by Mahon J that the appellant failed to establish that, as a matter of probability, the outcome of his personal injuries action against Bus Éireann was undermined or rendered unsatisfactory because of any professional failure on the respondent’s part, or, indeed, his entire legal team. Mahon J was also satisfied that the hearing of the case by O’Malley J was conducted in an exemplary fashion, as was made evident by her detailed judgment. Mahon J held that he would therefore dismiss the appeal. Appeal dismissed.
Vesey, Patrick v Kent Carty and Fabian Cadden & Co
26/10/2016 No. 2015/268 [2016] IECA 302

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