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Dishonest claimant hit for £323,000 costs after being filmed playing golf


A claimant whose exaggerated clinical negligence claim did not even make it to trial has been hit with a £323,000 costs bill.


The case, outlined in a blog post by defendant firm Clyde & Co, involved a claimant who underwent gastric banding surgery in 2005 and brought a claim for almost £2.6m in total.


But covert recording of the unnamed claimant found that she was a regular golfer who appeared to suffer few effects from her purported injuries. The resulting costs penalty is believed to be one of the largest issued since fundamental dishonesty rules were introduced in 2015.


The case was discontinued five days before the first day of trial on the substantive claim. Clyde, represented by partner Louise Jackson, pursued allegations of fundamental dishonesty. Two months before trial, the claimant agreed to pay the defendants’ costs in full, with £100,000 upfront and an agreement to charges being placed on properties.


The claimant had reportedly sued her surgeon after suffering an acute bowel injury in 2016 that she alleged was linked to surgery 11 years earlier. She also brought a claim against the NHS trust that cared for her.


She claimed for £867,000 for future care, £487,000 for aids and equipment and £857,000 for past and future loss of earnings. She pleaded that she suffered debilitating bowel issues, significant fatigue and reduced mobility, requiring substantial care and support with activities like cooking, cleaning and home maintenance.


She walked with help from her husband in examinations by the defence experts and said she spent most of her time in bed.


The Medical Protection Society, which indemnifies practitioners, commissioned social media searches and video surveillance footage. The claimant was seen swinging a golf club for some time as she underwent a lesson. She carried a large golf bag without evidence of difficulty and was the chair of her club, playing in at least three tournaments since 2022 with a handicap of 23.


The defendants submitted that fundamental dishonesty went to the heart of the claim.


Allison Munro, claims manager and solicitor from the Medical Protection Society instructing Clyde and Co, said: ‘The robust approach taken by MPS was not only in his best interests but also those of the wider MPS membership, since it protected the member fund and clearly demonstrated that we will take every opportunity to deter fraudulent and exaggerated claims.’

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