In Robinson v Lorna Jane Pty Ltd  QDC 266, the plaintiff claimed damages in excess of $570,000 for physical and psychiatric injuries allegedly sustained in the course of her 20-week employment with the defendant.
The plaintiff claimed she was bullied in various ways by the defendant’s learning and development manager, Ms Megan McCarthy, to whom the plaintiff reported. She alleged this treatment caused her to suffer a psychiatric illness, and triggered her pre-existing mixed personality disorder. She also claimed she had sustained physical injuries, in the form of external haemorrhoids, on two occasions as a result of lifting and moving heavy boxes of stock.
Both liability and quantum were in issue at the trial.
His Honour Judge Koppenol ultimately dismissed the plaintiff’s claim, finding she was “an unreliable witness with serious credibility issues” [at 74] and entered judgment for the defendant.
In respect of her psychiatric injuries, the plaintiff claimed Ms McCarthy called her names in person and via social media, bullied her about her weight, and was dismissive. His Honour found that the defendant was not on notice of any such behaviour by Ms McCarthy and, as such, was not directly liable for the loss and damage allegedly suffered by the plaintiff. His Honour did not accept the plaintiff’s evidence in respect of any of the alleged wrongful acts by Ms McCarthy in the workplace, and therefore held that the defendant was not vicariously liable as alleged by the plaintiff.
In respect of her physical injuries, the plaintiff claimed that while she was lifting and moving heavy boxes of stock on 10 October 2012 and 1 December 2012, she sustained thrombosed external haemorrhoids for which she required surgery. The defendant denied the alleged incidents occurred, and that the plaintiff suffered any injury. His Honour did not accept the plaintiff’s evidence in respect of either of these alleged injuries, finding that her evidence in respect of the first injury was “false” and the second injury was “extremely unlikely to be true”. His Honour therefore concluded that she did not sustain these injuries at work.
His Honour therefore held the plaintiff failed to prove all of the applicable requirements under sections 305B and 305D of the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 on the balance of probabilities, and thus failed to prove her claim in respect of both the psychiatric and physical injuries.
In respect of quantum, his Honour found the plaintiff had failed to prove, by credible evidence, that any award of damages for her psychiatric or physical injury should have been made. There was therefore no basis upon which any award of damages could have been made.
In respect of the plaintiff’s credit, his Honour found her evidence at the trial and her statements to her medical consultants were variously “unreliable, inconsistent, false, untruthful, exaggerated and/or lacking in credibility”[at 260], which resulted in his Honour rejecting the evidence supporting her claim in accordance with the principles in Collings v WCB  QCA 224.
See judgment here: https://www.sclqld.org.au/caselaw/QDC/2017/266