Minibus claims worth over £100,000 stopped dead in their tracks as Keoghs and Mulsanne Insurance prove fundamental dishonesty
News And Events20/11/2017
Appeah v Wilkes and Mulsanne Insurance Company Limited
Intelligence gathered by defendant law firm, Keoghs, and Mulsanne Insurance Company Limited scotched a cluster of claims last month, which included no less than 20 Claims Notification Forms.
The alleged incident occurred when Mulsanne’s insured transit van was driven into the back of a minibus, with the claimant, Mr Appeah, one of 13 alleged occupants in the minibus who all stated they had sustained personal injuries as a result. Between them, the claimants submitted 20 Claims Notification Forms (CNFs) via various solicitors which, had they been successful, would have cost Mulsanne more than £100,000.
However, when Keoghs’ intelligence team worked with Mulsanne to investigate Mr Appeah’s claim, the cracks began to appear.
Social networking searches established damning links between occupants of both vehicles, with further intelligence then uncovering that the parties were, in fact next door neighbours.
Furthermore, the CNFs presented wildly different accounts. The alleged occupants of the minibus named three different individuals as the driver and the forms placed the number of passengers on the bus between 0 and 14, with various amounts in-between.
Given the evidence gathered, when proceedings were issued by Mr Appeah, a defence was filed pleading that the claim presented was fundamentally dishonest. This defence was then sent to each of the pre-proceedings claimants, inviting them to issue court proceedings and for their claims to be consolidated with Mr Appeah. Interestingly, if not unsurprisingly, every other claimant declined the invitation, leaving Mr Appeah to face trial alone.
Even worse for the now lonely claimant, his solicitors then decided to remove themselves from the court record as acting for him. Eventually the claim was struck out for failure to comply with directions, following which Mulsanne made an application for a finding of fundamentally dishonest. Adam Rhys-Davies of Park Square Chambers was instructed and the case went to Birmingham County Court.
Upon considering all the evidence, Deputy District Judge Dickinson made an order that the claimant pay Mulsanne’s costs of the action on the indemnity basis, assessed in the sum of £12,754.80.
The judge also gave Mulsanne permission to enforce the award of costs given that the claim had been struck out and was fundamentally dishonest.
Toby Evans, Partner at Keoghs LLP, was delighted with the result, saying;
‘This was a claim which was actively investigated from the outset by Mulsanne Insurance Company, owing to concerns as to the alleged accident circumstances, volume of claims and the significant disparities in the Claims Notification Forms presented by the claimants. Upon issue of court proceedings, Louisa Southworth of Keoghs’ intelligence team undertook sterling intelligence work to evidence links between a number of the parties in the respective vehicles.
“The evidence gathered by Mulsanne and Keoghs clearly pointed to the claim presented being fundamentally dishonest, and I am pleased that the court had no difficulty in making that finding. This is yet another example of a claimant being left with a significant costs bill as a result of pursuing a fraudulent claim”
Paul Twilley, Claims Director at Mulsanne Insurance Company Limited added;
“The diligent investigative work of Keoghs coupled with the early detection by the Mulsanne Counter Fraud Team of what was a particularly brazen attempt to defraud has led to this pleasing result. Mulsanne takes a particularly robust approach to claims fraud and the finding of fundamental dishonesty along with the adverse costs order handed down by Deputy District Judge Dickinson is entirely welcome.”