A man who claimed he could no longer carry out manual labour and was unable to raise his arm above his head without pain after his car was rear-ended had his case for damages thrown out when the judge was shown Facebook pictures of the plaintiff participating in a 10km obstacle course.
Brothers Gary and David Malone from New Ross, Wexford both took separate cases arising from an incident in Castlemartyr Co Cork in 2014.
They told Cork Circuit Civil Court they suffered injuries when the car in which they were travelling was hit from behind.
The defendant, Ann-Marie Brunnock, told Judge James McCourt she was on her way to work on September 15, 2014 when her car came to a stop in a line of traffic at a junction.
She said that she felt no impact with the car in front but she became visually aware that her car was touching the back of it. She said that car pulled in and she followed and exchanged numbers with the driver. She said a passenger who was lying down in the back of the car emerged to complain he was awoken by the impact and that he had a sore neck. She left the scene but was later phoned that afternoon by the driver who said the passenger would be going to the doctor.
Ms Brunnock sought advice from gardaí, and was instructed to go to Midleton Garda Station. Garda Colin Moynihan told the court that he inspected the vehicle on the afternoon of the incident. He said the paintwork was in “excellent” condition, that there was not a mark, dent, or scratch on the front.
He said there was a build-up of insects on the licence plate which had not been interfered with, and that the bugs were “deceased for quite some time”.
“There was no indication of an impact at all,” he said.
While medical reports were presented to the court indicating Gary Malone suffered back, neck and shoulder pain following the accident, details too were heard of other injuries he suffered from other accidents.
Judge McCourt said he accepted there was contact between the vehicles, but that it was so minimal that the plaintiff suffered no significant injury as a result.
The court then dealt with David Malone's claim and heard of doctors' examinations on behalf of his representatives HR Delahunty in April 2015, and on behalf of RSA Insurance the following December. In both David Malone said he suffered pain when raising his arm above shoulder height, amid other complaints.
Kieran Hughes, barrister for RSA Insurance, presented photographs of him scaling a wall as part of the “Hookamuck Challenge” in Wexford on June, 27 2015 - two months after the April 2015 examination and six months before he was examined by a doctor on behalf of RSA Insurance.
The photos had been posted to the event’s Facebook page. The organisers described the challenge as 10km of obstacles through mud and water that tests “mental and physical strength and ability”. David Malone said the course was a “two-man challenge” and he was assisted throughout.
Judge McCourt said he had some sympathy for the plaintiff, notwithstanding what he described as a “gross exaggeration” of his alleged injuries, but that this sympathy “evaporated” when he saw the pictures. Both claims were dismissed with costs awarded against both plaintiffs.