Man sued for £10,000 by Leeds Council after 'lying' about falling on manhole cover

A compensation claimant who claimed they’d fallen on a manhole cover has been sued for more than £10,000 after they were found to be lying.
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The claimant “dishonestly” said they’d suffered a knee injury from falling on what they said was an “uneven” cover in Leeds city centre, a report said.

Leeds City Council said the claimant’s case against them was withdrawn after “inconsistencies” with their account were raised.

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The council then won its own counter-claim, which forced the complainant to cover its legal fees, after they were found to have been “fundamentally dishonest”.

The man has been sued by the council.The man has been sued by the council.
The man has been sued by the council.

The case was highlighted in a report which went before the local authority’s audit committee on Monday.

It said: “The team successfully won a civil case against a spurious compensation case.

“A claim was brought against the council for personal injuries, the claimant stating they had fallen on an uneven manhole cover in the city centre and had sustained a knee injury.

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“When the inconsistencies were raised with the claimant the claim was dropped.”

The report said that a court was then asked to rule on whether the claimant had been “dishonest in pursuing the claim, in order to discourage further spurious claims against the council and to protect public funds”.

It added: “Due to inconsistencies in the claim, the claimant was ordered to pay the council’s legal costs of the proceedings to the value of £10,750 and the claim was concluded by the judge as being fundamentally dishonest.

“Where claims have been found to be fundamentally dishonest, this results in funds being paid back to the council which can then be spent elsewhere.”

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The same report also detailed how the city council is pursuing 29 separate cases of alleged Covid business grant fraud.

Firms across the country were given thousands of pounds each to cover the costs of them having to shut during lockdowns, though in some cases public money is believed to have been claimed dishonestly.

The local authority said the alleged cases concerned almost £280,000 between them.

The report said: “Once these cases have gone through the three-step debt recovery process, these debts will be referred to the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy for appropriate action. We have one case that is scheduled to go to court in summer 2023.”