On 16 May 2018 Manchester County Court approved settlement in the case of JJ v Lancashire County Council. The award of £1 million is thought to be the largest ever award for a claim of this nature.
Client JJ was born in Lancashire in the early 1990’s. He was one of six siblings and was raised by his step mother and father. The Defendant was the Local Authority (Lancashire County Council) with jurisdiction for the area in which the Claimant and his family resided.
Lancashire County Council had dealings with the Claimant’s family throughout his childhood. Shortly after birth Emergency Protection Orders were obtained in relation to the Claimant and two siblings. His social services records revealed a catalogue of interventions and interactions with the family.
How our team pursued a claim
Farleys successfully argued that the Lancashire County Council had failed in its duty to JJ. Anonymous referrals of injury and mistreatment were ignored and there was a failure to act on referrals from health visitors and schools.
The claim was brought on the basis of the alleged negligence, breach of duty and breach of the Human Rights Act by the Council. All relevant records were obtained and carefully reviewed by our specialist team. Further evidence was gained through the instruction of an independent social work expert. Liability was resolved in the Claimant’s favour and Judgment entered.
Overcoming issues with this claim
Quantification of the claim was far from straightforward as our client had a mild learning disability. The Claimant therefore had to establish the extent to which this pre-existing condition was worsened by his childhood experiences.
It was established that the Claimant had endured a terrible childhood. His siblings were given preferential treatment. He suffered physical and emotional abuse amd was neglected. He was described as having had a “barren, loveless and warped existence”.
Medical evidence was accordingly sought from adult psychiatrists with a specialism in learning disabilities. Claimant JJ successfully argued that but for the abuse, and notwithstanding his learning disability, he would in all likelihood have secured employment at a minimum wage level. The abuse suffered resulted in him developing PTSD. He suffers mood swings, flashbacks and depression. These psychiatric problems now make paid employment impossible.
The settlement was achieved following work by Farleys over a 10 year period. A substantial volume of records had to be obtained from various sources and carefully reviewed, and expert evidence was sought. The Court of Protection were ultimately involved. The settlement included awards for pain and suffering, past and future earnings loss, Court of Protection fees, future treatment costs and loss of support through adoption.