Cotswolds driver faces ‘utterly shocking’ counter claim from council …
A motorist whose vehicle was damaged after hitting a pothole and put in a claim against Gloucestershire County Council is facing a counter claim from the highways authority. County councillor Lisa Spivey (LD, South Cerney) said she was “utterly shocked” to hear of the case affecting one of her constituents.
She told a recent meeting that an unnamed driver has been accused of causing the damage by driving negligently. And asked council leaders on November 8 if they were now instructing its solicitors to issue such intimidating counter claims as a matter of course.
“The county council is not just defending a claim brought against it by a resident whose vehicle was damaged when he struck a pothole, but has also accused the resident of causing the damage by driving negligently. This is a baseless claim as the council has no evidence whatsoever that this is the true.
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"Furthermore, the council has claimed costs for defending its claim, something which is highly unusual in the small claims track. This strikes me as a blatant attempt at bullying and intimidating the resident into withdrawing his claim."
She said the council is making a counter claim that the defendant failed to drive around any dangerous defects in the road. She asked if there was any evidence that backed up the claim. Council leader Mark Hawthorne (C, Quedgeley) said he could not provide a running commentary over an ongoing case.
He said it was the responsibility of the authority to robustly defend its position when it is being sued. In his written response that he also would not comment on cases which are the subject of current court proceedings.
“However, in general terms the council will have a Section 58 defence against third party claims under the Highways Act. We can also confirm that historically we have not claimed costs in proceedings but that there has recently been a change in the legal rules that means that it is possible for this course of action to be taken and information about this is included in the legal correspondence.”
- ^ Lisa Spivey (www.gloucestershirelive.co.uk)
- ^ “The county council (www.gloucestershirelive.co.uk)
- ^ Cotswold town gets green light for new GP surgery and 27 home (www.gloucestershirelive.co.uk)
- ^ Here are the latest on Gloucestershire politics (www.gloucestershirelive.co.uk)
- ^ Council leader Mark Hawthorne (www.gloucestershirelive.co.uk)