This thread on MSE details the story of a motorist awarded £900 because a parking company committed data protection breaches against him.
The parking company was Civil Enforcement Limited (CEL), who have a long history of making bogus inflated court claims and then discontinuing if a robust defence is filed.
Mr B. was the vehicle keeper but was not the driver on the day. As CEL do not use keeper liability, they had not valid claim against the keeper. In addition, and aided bylaw firm Wright Hassall, they artificially inflated the claim from £100 to £300 by adding spurious amounts. Mr B filed a counterclaim for breaches of the data protection act. True to form, CEL discontinued the claim, which left only the counterclaim to be decided.
Barry Beavis assisted Mr B in preparing the paperwork and acting as his lay representative.
The case was heard by DJ Osborne at Bury. The DJ was initially critical of the defendant for failing to file papers and obey court directions.
However, he then interviewed Mr B as witness, establishing the validity of the counterclaim and the distress caused.
In his judgment DJ Osborne ruled a data breach had occurred, the tort of damages was applicable and that £500 was not an unreasonable amount in the circumstances.
He added an additional £405 in costs, part of which were awarded under rule 27.14.2(g) for the unreasonable behaviour of CEL.
He also stated he was disappointed in the claimant bringing an unfounded case, and in the behaviour of Wright Hassall who were otherwise a respectable law firm.
It is important to obey all court instructions. Witness statements and evidence need to be filed on time, otherwise a winning case can be lost by procedural errors.
A number of cases have now established that a data protection breach can occur when a parking company pursues a charge which is not valid, or an over-inflated charge, or both.
The size of damages will depend on the facts of each individual case .This case establishes that a claim of £500 is not unreasonable for the particular circumstances of today's case.
The Parking Prankster