Cyclist sues council alleging serious injuries caused when bike struck road defect (Via Irish Times)

The council says there was no misfeasance on its part and if there was a road defect this was normal wear and tear

A cyclist is suing Dublin City Council over injuries allegedly sustained when his bike struck a defect in the road surface.

Patrick Sheeran, of Bellevue Park Avenue, Dublin, says he was thrown off his bike when it hit a surface defect on Pearse Street in the city centre on June 13th, 2014.

He says he fractured his elbow, which required surgery and the insertion of two plates and screws. He pleads he has a memory deficit and eyesight deterioration due to the impact to his head.

Mr Sheehan claims Dublin City Council was guilty of negligence because it failed to properly repair the surface, creating a hazard in the form of the road dropping vertically.

The council says there was no misfeasance on its part and if there was any road defect this was due to normal wear and tear over a period of years.

The details of the case were outlined in the judgment of Ms Justice Niamh Hyland, who ruled this week on Mr Sheeran’s pre-trial request.

He wanted the court to direct the council to share with him all records relating to all works of design, construction, repair and upkeep of the relevant section of Pearse Street for the eight years leading to the 2014 alleged event.

Ms Justice Hyland was quite satisfied discovery of documents should have been made, as it goes to the whether the council had carried out works at the relevant location, which is a “key issue” of the case.

The records are highly relevant to the question of misfeasance and will be an important issue in determining liability, she said.

However, eight years seemed excessive to her, so she directed disclosure for the five years before the alleged accident.

The reference to the “relevant section of Pearse Street” is “unacceptably vague”, so she asked the parties to submit by agreement a precise description of the area proposed.

Ms Justice Hyland said she will make the discovery order cover five years, once the parties agree on the description of the relevant area.

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Farmer suing over bull injury must disclose medical records to mart

Court rules medical records in months following accident are ‘not only relevant but invariably crucial’ to claim

A farmer suing a mart over alleged injuries to his shin caused by a bull has been ordered by the court to provide the mart with his medical records for five months after the alleged accident.

James Egan, of Ballymacurley, Co Roscommon, claimed Castlerea Co-Operative Livestock Mart Ltd should only see the medical report upon which his claim for damages relies. He argued it should not have access to other medical records from after the alleged incident. He was happy to disclose all of his pre-accident medical records.

Delivering judgment on Tuesday, Mr Justice Michael Twomey said he did not believe the provision of a medical report from the plaintiff’s consultant was sufficient. He said this would deprive the defendant of other post-accident records.

These, said the judge, provide the best evidence of the plaintiff’s medical condition after the accident and may address which of his complaints relate to the accident and which relate to other medical issues.

While noting there is a “significant breach of privacy” involved in disclosing very personal medical documents, Mr Justice Twomey said a plaintiff who decides to seek damages from a defendant for personal injuries waives his right to privacy for his medical condition.

Disclosure of a plaintiff’s medical records has a role in keeping that party honest, he added. This is particularly relevant to personal injuries claims, 97 per cent of which settle before coming to court when medical experts can be cross-examined.

It seemed to the court a plaintiff’s medical records are “not only relevant but invariably crucial” to every personal injuries claim.

In his personal injuries action against the mart, Mr Egan claims a bull damaged his left shin at the mart on November 13th, 2017. He says he has ongoing leg and lower back pain due to the accident.

He disclosed to the mart that he has a history of back pain and a spinal disk bulge and underwent spinal surgery in the 1980s.

At the hearing of the preliminary application, the mart said it needed access to post-accident records to understand the nature and extent of difficulties experienced by Mr Egan in his left leg due to compression of a spinal disk.

It wants to determine for itself which of Mr Egan’s injuries are attributable to the accident and which are not, and the extent of the overlap between pre- and post-accident injuries.

Mr Egan’s counsel did not argue the post-accident medical records are not relevant, instead submitting it was not necessary to disclose them to the defendant, the judge said.

Mr Justice Twomey said there were additional reasons that warranted disclosure of Mr Egan’s records, namely that he had a history of back pain and underwent spinal surgery. It seems clear, he said, that there was a possible overlap between his back and leg complaints arising from the accident and his prior history of disk complaints.

In a personal injuries case there is nothing to stop a plaintiff from going to more than one consultant and relying on only one of their reports in the action. The plaintiff is also in complete control of the medical history he provides to that consultant.

A defendant should not be restricted to a chosen medical report, as there are certain instances where solicitors, rather than general practitioners, refer clients to consultants even though this is in direct contravention of a principle laid out in a High Court judgment, the judge continued.

While it seems clear the majority of solicitors do not contravene this judgment, it is evident that some solicitors continue to do so, he said, citing six instances from the past three years. In such instances a consultant may not have sight of the plaintiff’s GP records or have correct information, the judge added.

There was no evidence before the court to suggest Mr Egan’s solicitor, rather than his GP, had referred him to a consultant.

While the mart was initially seeking discovery of records with no time limit, it subsequently sought post-accident medical records for only five months. Mr Justice Twomey granted discovery for this period.

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Dozens of amateur rugby players send brain injury letter of claim to rugby authorities (Via Irish Times)

‘The claimants are asking the rugby governing bodies to make a number of immediate changes to save the sport’

A letter of claim has been sent to World Rugby, the English Rugby Football Union and the Welsh Rugby Union by more than 55 amateur rugby players over a potential brain injury lawsuit.

The group includes several retired women’s international players, elite male players who took part in the sport before it turned professional in 1995, elite youth-teamers and the family of a male rugby player who died due to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

A number of allegations have been raised by the claimants, like the potential negligence of the defendants failing to protect the players from neurological impairments like CTE and early onset dementia.

Their focus is on securing damages for themselves and their families in addition to trying to help change the game to make it safer for future generations.

Rylands Garth are behind the case and already represent more than 275 former professional athletes with brain damage, including England’s 2003 World Cup winner Steve Thompson and former Wales captain Ryan Jones, who have issued similar actions against various governing bodies.

Rylands’ Richard Boardman said: “It doesn’t matter what level of the game you played or are playing at, whether it’s at school or adult rugby, and as a professional or amateur, male or female, we are sadly seeing the same alarming neurological impairments at all levels of the game.

“This is a life-and-death issue for many. The vast majority of the current and former players we represent love the game and don’t want to see it harmed in any way.

“We now also represent the estates of deceased players who were found to have CTE postmortem, which is definitive proof that a contact sport was responsible. Those involved just want to make the sport safer so current and future generations don’t end up like them.

“This is why the claimants are asking the rugby governing bodies to make a number of immediate changes to save the sport, such as a mandatory limit on contact in training, reducing non-injury substitutions, having a more effective pitchside diagnostic tool than the HIA, setting up a brain injuries passport, using independent neuro-experts for research and guidance and extending the return to play (following a concussion) to 28 days.”

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