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Woman suing for failed cosmetic surgery faces bill

Maria Taylor Flynn, 54, of Firhouse, Co Dublin, sued Advanced Cosmetic Surgery Ltd (ACS) and surgeon Hassam Sulaiman after the removal of fat left her with a ''bubble'' on her stomach. Taylor Flynn, who borrowed €3,300 from the credit union to pay for the operation, said she was now concerned about undressing and her appearance.

Mr Justice Iarflaith O'Neill, in a reserved judgment two weeks ago, said that, having looked at 'before and after' photos, he did not accept Taylor Flynn's evidence that her abdomen had been ''cosmetically degraded''.
She had been offered another operation to rectify the ''bubble'', but was unwilling to undergo it.

O'Neill said Taylor Flynn was only entitled to recover damages from ACS for breach of contract. He was not satisfied that the surgeon had failed in his duty.

The judge awarded her general damages of €15,000, plus the original €3,300 cost of the liposuction procedure, a total of €18,300.

Cases are normally only taken in the High Court if they are worth more than €38,092.

Plaintiffs who bring low-value cases in the higher courts are penalised on costs.

The 1991 Courts Act says that a plaintiff who is awarded damages of less than €19,046 (IR£15,000) in a High Court action cannot recover more in legal costs than the total award.

This means that Taylor Flynn's legal bill, payable by ACS, will be capped at €18,300. It's understood that, in pre-trial negotiations, her legal team was seeking costs of €50,000.

The cost of the two-day hearing could well have exceeded that, as it involved senior counsel, junior counsel and a solicitor.

According to one legal expert, the case could leave Taylor Flynn out of pocket by up to €20,000.