Reamsbottom v Raftery

JurisdictionIreland
JudgeMr. Justice Johnson
Judgment Date01 January 1991
Neutral Citation1991 WJSC-HC 2369
CourtHigh Court
Docket NumberNo. 7416p/1987,[1987 No. 7416P]
Date01 January 1991

1991 WJSC-HC 2369

THE HIGH COURT

No. 7416p/1987
REAMSBOTTOM v. RAFTERY

BETWEEN

HAZEL REAMSBOTTOM
PLAINTIFF

AND

ANTHONY RAFTERY
DEFENDANT

Citations:

DONOHOE V BROWNE & MCCABE 1986 IR 90

GILROY V MCLOUGHLIN 1988 IR 44

CIVIL LIABILITY ACT 1961

ROAD TRAFFIC ACT 1961 S118

ROAD TRAFFIC ACT 1961 S3(5)

SHAW V SLOAN 1982 NI 410

RAMSEY V PIGRAM 118 CLR 271

GLEESON V J WIPPEL & CO LTD 1977 1 WLR 510

Synopsis:

EVIDENCE

Estoppel

Issues - ~Res judicata~ - Road traffic - Vehicles - Collision - Damage - Former action - Defendant being owner of car driven by present plaintiff - Plaintiff being present defendant - Judgment in favour of present defendant - Present plaintiff not a party or privy to a party in former action - Present plaintiff not estopped from claiming damages for negligence - (1987/7416 P - Johnson J. - 30/5/90) - [1991] 1 I.R 531

|Reamsbottom v. Raftery|

NEGLIGENCE

Motorist

Action - Estoppel - ~Res judicata~ - Road traffic - Vehicles - Collision - Damage - Former action - Defendant being owner of car driven by present plaintiff - Plaintiff being present defendant - Judgment in favour of present defendant - Present plaintiff not estopped from claiming damages for negligence - (1987/7416 P - Johnson J. - 30/5/90) - [1991] 1 I.R. 531

|Reamsbottom v. Raftery|

1

Judgment of Mr. Justice Johnson delivered the 30th day of May 1990

2

In this case the Plaintiff brings an Action against the Defendant claiming damages for personal injuries, arising out of an accident which occurred on the 15th day of August 1984, on the Sloan Road near Morganstown Kinnegad in the County of Westmeath.

3

In the accident a motor car driven by the Plaintiff and owned by her husband, one Kenneth Reamsbottom, collided with and struck a motor car owned and driven by the Defendant.

4

In a Circuit Court Action, heard on the 6th of December 1985, and entitled: An Chuirt Chuarda The Circuit Court Midland Circuit County of Westmeath Between Anthony Raftery (the Defendant in this Action) Plaintiff, and Kenneth Reamsbottom Defendant, Mr. Raftery claimed damages against the said Kenneth Reamsbottom for damages arising out of the same accident, in respect of which the Plaintiff is now claiming damages.

5

His Honour Judge O'Malley by Order of the Circuit Court found 100% in favour of Mr. Raftery the Defendant in this case.

6

The Plaintiff in this Action Mrs. Hazel Reamsbottom was not a party to the Circuit Court Action, was not represented therein and did not give evidence. Evidence in this case from Mr. Kenny indicated that Judge O'Malley stated in Court that Mrs. Reamsbottom, the Plaintiff herein, was unable to give evidence owing to the physical injuries which she suffered in the accident, which rendered her unable to make any comment upon what took place.

7

It was open to the Defendant in this Action, to have made the Plaintiff, Mrs. Reamsbottom, a party to the Circuit Court Action and indeed it was also open to Mr. Reamsbottom the Defendant in the Circuit Court Action to have made her a Third Party to the said Circuit Court Action. Neither of these courses was pursued. In this case the Defendant pleads in his defence that the Plaintiff's claim herein should be dismissed on the grounds that the same is res judicata. In furtherance of the said contention the Defendant has relied heavily on the decisions of Mr. Justice Gannon in the case of James Donohoe -v- Josephine Browne and Michael McCabe reported at Irish Reports 1986 at page 90 and on the case of Patrick Gilroy Plaintiff -v- Denis McLoughlin Defendantjudgment of Mr. Justice Blayney reported at Irish Reports 1988 at page 44.

8

Having considered these judgments I do not think that the case of Gilroy -v- McLoughlin which was tried on very particular facts is relevant or of assistance in the particular case.

9

In the case of Donohoe -v- Browne Mr. Justice Gannon deals with a case of striking similarity to the present case in great detail, and sets out therein the law, regarding res judicata and liability in great detail and also analyses the provisions of the Civil Liability Act 1961.

10

I adopt the arguments set out by Mr. Justice Gannon in that case insofar as they apply to the instant case.

11

And I quote from page 99 of the said Report:-

"The nature of the rule of estoppel is that it is rather a shield on the arm of the Defendant than a sword in the hand of the Plaintiff. It follows that the mutuality required is that the conclusive determination is binding on both parties in the proceedings in which it is invoked, but not that the estoppel must necessarily fall to be applied simultaneously in relation to each of them. Res judicata is a matter of pleading to prevent as a matter of justice an abuse of the process of the administration of justice. Of its nature it can be raised properly only as against a party by whom or against whom a judgment has been obtained. That is to say the injustice to be avoided is the apparent disclaimer of a binding court order by the party bound by it. If both parties have previously been bound by a final order, repetitious...

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