ParkingEye today dropped case 3QT61897 ParkingEye v Ms. B.
This followed the adjournment of an earlier hearing. At the first hearing ParkingEye's tame lawyer seemed surprised to see The Prankster and objected to him speaking as a McKenzie friend. The judge kindly explained to the lawyer that The Prankster was not there as a McKenzie friend but as a lay representative which in the small claims court does not need legal qualifications.
The judge started proceedings by asking Ms. B if she wished to adjourn the case because in her defence she had raised the point she had not received detailed particulars from ParkingEye. He explained that this would only be an adjournment and that ParkingEye could restart the case once they had sent the particulars. The Prankster replied that Ms. B was keen to get it over with today, that ParkingEye had sent a letter apologising that large amounts of mail they thought were sent out to whole heaps of people were in fact never posted, and that they now had the particulars.
The judge then asked the lawyer why the pictures of signs showed the parking charge to be £80 but the claim was for £85. The lawyer gulped and explained he had no idea, but did have some more pictures of signs which showed £85.
The judge then explained to Ms. B that he understood she had broken down and would have to consider whether legally she was parked or not. He asked if that was the main point of the defence. The Prankster explained that there were many other points, and that it appeared the judge did not have the latest defence. Ms B. produced some email receipts showing that both the court and ParkingEye had received the latest defence. The Prankster explained ParkingEye had only produced their contract and their pre-estimate of loss calculations 3 days before the filing deadline, even though they had promised them in August. The Prankster and Ms. B had burned some midnight oil and filed a new defence on the last filing day.
The Prankster explained this was extremely relevant because the contract ParkingEye provided at the last minute was dated after the parking event, and therefore not in force at the time. The lawyer turned slightly green.
The judge flicked through The Prankster's copy of the new defence and said there was some interesting stuff here. He asked the lawyer whether he had seen it. The lawyer turned greener. The lawyer said that ParkingEye had sent him a rebuttal but had not bothered sending the actual defence. The judge said that he really should read it and went off to take photocopies, inviting the parties to negotiate while he was away.
The Prankster, without admitting liability, offered to pay ParkingEye £1 to settle. That way they could keep the claim on their website that they never dropped a case. The lawyer took umbrage at this offer and refused to negotiate further or convey the offer to his paymasters.
The judge returned and adjourned for half an hour to read the new defence and to give the lawyer a chance to do the same.
The Prankster and Ms B. sat calmly in the waiting area while the lawyer strode angrily around, spluttering into his mobile phone and disappearing in and out of doors. Eventually he returned and said he would be asking for an adjournment. The Prankster said he would opposite it on the grounds the situation was entirely of their own making. The lawyer said fine, and stalked off.
The judge reconvened and asked why the contract was dated after the parking event, while the landowner witness statement said an agreement was in place. The lawyer could not turn any greener. He explained that the witness statement was referring to a different agreement, and not the contract. The judge asked where this agreement was. The lawyer explained he did not have it with him. The judge asked why not. Apparently, the lawyer could turn a little greener. He said he did not know.
The lawyer then said he was unprepared and that he would like an adjournment. The Prankster objected. He said Ms. B had already lost a days wages and it was unfair for a firm the size of ParkingEye to turn up and then say they were unprepared halfway through a hearing.
The judge decided to adjourn and ordered ParkingEye to produce the original copy of the mystery agreement when the case resumed in a few weeks time. He concluded with a few tips to The Prankster on how to better present the case next time, which were gratefully received.
The Prankster was slightly disappointed that he did not get to show the judge his pictures of signs hidden behind a bush, in trees and in foliage, and of the bare areas of the car park where the ParkingEye map said there were signs.
He was also a bit disappointed he was not eloquent enough at the time to persuade the judge not to grant an adjournment.
After the case Ms B. wrote to McDonalds and asked why ParkingEye were taking her to court when a contract was not in place, when the signs in the car park were hidden by bushes, and when she was a genuine customer who had broken down in their car park.
The manager of McDonalds, who had signed the witness statement, received Ms B's letter. Although he had been asked to sign the witness statement by ParkingEye, apparently they had not bothered to tell him that the reason she overstayed was that she was broken down. He immediately instructed ParkingEye to cancel the parking ticket and drop the court case.
The mystery agreement will therefore remain mysterious.
The Parking Prankster