Litigation Personal Injury 24/2/98

Decisions are taken from Lawtel's Case Law database. LTL: Lawtel report; TLR: Times Law Reports; ILR: Independent Law Report

Barnes v Ministry of Defence QBD 8 December 1997

Claimant: Simon Barnes, 34 years

Incident: Accident while serving member of armed forces

Injuries: Claimant, a former Territorial Army paratrooper left wheelchair-bound after an assault course accident 13 years ago. On the day of the accident he had taken two friends to look round the regiment's trainezium combat training apparatus on which he had done his basic training and had jumped on to a vertical scramble net which had not been properly secured. He then lost his grip and fell to the ground, breaking his back. As a result he has been left paralysed below the waist. Argued that the MoD had been negligent in leaving the trainezium unattended in an unsafe condition in a place to which the public had access. Judge dismissed claim on basis that it was out of time and the delays that had taken place would prejudice the MoD defence. Court told reason for delay was claimant's "obsessive loyalty" to his regiment

Award: Claim dismissed

Judge: Judge Christopher Hordern QC

Plaintiff's counsel: Jonathan Marks QC

Plaintiff's solicitors: Stewarts, London WC2

Mann v Bristol & District Health Authority QBD 12 December 1997

Claimant: Sarah Mann, 11 years

Incident: Medical negligence

Injuries: Claimant left severely brain damaged after oxygen starvation during forceps birth at Southmead Hospital, Bristol in June 1986. As result she was born with severe athetoid cerebral palsy. Her powers of mobility and speech have been affected and she suffers from involuntary spasmodic movements. Will never be capable of leading an independent life. However, despite the disabilities the court heard her intellect remains largely intact. She needs specialist education, and attends the Dame Hannah Rogers School for the disabled in Plymouth as a weekly boarder. Alleged that had health authority, which had denied liability, carried out Caesarean operation she would have been born healthy. Health authority claimed birth was "properly-managed" and that speedier delivery would have made no difference. Health authority settlement offer accepted

Award: £1m agreed damages

Judge: Mr Justice Cresswell

Plaintiff's counsel: Christopher Wilson Smith QC

Plaintiff's solicitors: Huttons, Cardiff