‘No idea’: Judge throws out $2m casino injury suit
A Queensland man who sued the owners of The Star Gold Coast for $2.2 million, claiming he was disabled by a spinal injury in an accident at the casino five years ago, has had his case thrown out of court after the judge slammed his behaviour as unreasonable.
John Brian Kleeman, who represented himself during his four-day trial, had his case thrown out of the Supreme Court in Brisbane on October 29, three days after he took a toilet break after just 40 minutes into giving his evidence - and never returned to the witness box, claiming he was sick.
Mr Kleeman was seeking damages for the injury suffered at the casino in Broadbeach Island, then named Jupiter's, on November 15, 2015.
Justice Soraya Ryan described Mr Kleeman's actions on the last three days of the four days of the trial as "wholly unreasonable" and that he had failed to persuade her that he was "genuinely ill or genuinely unable to communicate" with the court by telephone, when he called in sick for three days.
When Mr Kleeman was ordered to appear in court in person or by telephone on the fourth day of trial, after three days' sick, he sent a photograph of a box of prescription medication to the court.
A day earlier he called in sick by sending an email to Justice Ryan's associate saying "Dear parties, I have gastro. As I said, I can't communicate".
He also submitted a medical certificate from online medical service Doctors on Demand saying he was unfit for court on the second and third days of the trial, and was invited to attend the trial by telephone, but did not call in to the court.
In her reasons for dismissing the case, Justice Ryan said that it was "unreasonable" for Mr Kleeman to continue with his damages lawsuit against The Star Entertainment Group Limited (The Star) when he "defiantly refused to meaningfully engage" with the casino's lawyers who pointed out the gaps in his pleadings and evidence.
Justice Ryan said she had dismissed the case because Mr Kleeman's pleadings were deficient and he lacked admissible evidence to present at trial.
"He had no idea of the elements of his cause of action; no idea of the evidence which he would require to establish each of those elements of his cause of action; and no idea of the way in which a party may place evidence before a court," Justice Ryan said in her reasons.
"(He) made no attempt to obtain even a rudimentary understanding of the way in which to prosecute his claim," Justice Ryan said.
The Star also submitted evidence to the trial that despite claiming he was injured in November, he stated in documents he was able to undertake manual work three months later.
The casino also put evidence before the court which indicated Mr Kleeman claimed he suffered permanent damage to his spine in July 2016, eight months after the casino accident, after he fell 1.5 metres.
Justice Ryan said this evidence "reflected adversely on the plaintiff's credibility".
The casino also presented closed circuit television footage of Mr Kleeman's accident in the casino which purportedly showed him "to be moving freely and without discomfort thereafter".
Mr Kleeman has also been ordered to pay The Star's legal costs.
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Originally published as 'No idea': Judge throws out $2m casino injury suit