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Royal Marine Wins Q Fever Compensation Claim

Posted by : Michael Shiers

A Royal Marine has recently been successful in his fight for compensation against the Ministry of Defence due to the MOD’s failure to comply with Court Orders.

armed forces accidentsPhilip Eaglesham was a Royal Marine who was diagnosed with Q Fever whilst in Afghanistan. Sadly, he went onto develop a very serious chronic fatigue syndrome which is a well-known consequence of the disease. This illness can be extremely disabling.

Mr Eaglesham’s case was that the MOD should have given him a preventive drug called Doxycycline before he was deployed to Afghanistan.

One of the issues in the case was what the MOD should have known about the risks of developing Q fever and how it was prevented.

After Court proceedings were issued, the court made the usual order that each party should disclose relevant documents. Mr Eaglesham and his lawyers were not happy with the documents which had been provided by the MOD and sought another order that they specifically disclose certain documents.

The MOD failed to comply with this Order and under the circumstances Mr Eaglesham went back to Court and obtained what is called an ‘Unless Order’. The Order provided that unless the MOD disclosed the relevant documents by the 21 October 2016 their Defence to the claim would be struck out and they would no longer be able to defend the claim and Mr Eaglesham would be entitled to damages.

On 20 October 2016 the MOD made an Application to extend the time because they said it would not be possible for them to comply with the Order. Their Application came before the Court on the 23 November 2016. The Judge was very scathing of the MOD’s approach. She took into account the delays which had occurred. She said that when the last Order was made, the Court effectively was giving the MOD one more chance to comply. She felt that the MOD should have realised long before the day before the expiry of the deadline that they would be unable to comply and accordingly she was not prepared to allow the MOD any more time. The MOD were therefore barred from defending the claim and Judgment was entered for the Claimant. The amount of compensation will now be assessed at another hearing or will be agreed by the parties.

Mike Shiers is a specialist Personal Injury Solicitor and Partner (Non-LLP Member) at Nash & Co in Plymouth