Who? Sheldon Fagelman, partner and personal injury lawyer at GLP Solicitors, Pendlebury.
Why is he in the news? Acted for Carol Ravenscroft, who suffered arm injuries while preventing a wardrobe falling on her two-year-old grandson in an IKEA store. Defending a claim by Ravenscroft, the furniture retailer alleged fraud and fundamental dishonesty. The defence has been available to parties for only a matter of months.
It allows for dismissal of a claim if the claimant has been fundamentally dishonest, which would result in them having to pay the defendant’s costs.
Ravenscroft contested IKEA’s attempt to have the claim dismissed. At Manchester County Court recorder Mahmood, who noted IKEA took a ‘stance of suspicion rather than sympathy’, ordered the retailer to pay damages of £3,500.
Following the trial, a spokesman for IKEA said the company regretted the accident and accepted the ruling.
Thoughts on the case: ‘The case was relatively straightforward and the accident certainly occurred, given that it was on record that IKEA’s staff attended to the client at the scene. I was surprised by IKEA’s later decision to “not admit” the accident and to amend its defence to allege fraud and fundamental dishonesty.
‘[IKEA’s] conduct throughout the case was inappropriate and disrespectful in this regard. I see this tactic being used more often, particularly if the small-claims court limit increases to £5,000 and [more] people pursue their own claims.’
Dealing with the media: ‘I enjoyed the experience. I was particularly passionate about the issue.’
Why become a lawyer? ‘I sort of fell into it when looking for a degree course and later deciding to do the professional course at the College of Law.’
Career high: ‘Finding out I had passed my professional practice course a month after getting married. I am still with the same firm as a partner 30 years later.’
Career low: ‘Learning about the Jackson report at the end of 2012.’