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Cara Guthrie

Cara Guthrie

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Cara Guthrie specialises in Clinical Negligence, and has done so since she started in practice. She also acts in Personal Injury cases, inquests, lawyers’ negligence cases and Court of Protection cases and regularly represents claimants and defendants in High Court trials

Cara is instructed by claimants and defendants, in cerebral palsy, brain injury and spinal injury cases. Cara is also instructed in other Clinical Negligence cases encompassing the full spectrum of medical issues. She is currently acting for many claimants in the DePuy ASR hip cases.

Cara considers herself to be approachable and to work well as part of the team with her instructing solicitors and expert witnesses. She prides herself on an efficient working style and being able quickly to identify the issues at the heart of any claim.

Cara has been recommended as a leading junior (Band 1) in Clinical Negligence, in both Chambers & Partners and Legal 500 for many years. As a member of the Ogden Working Committee, Cara has a detailed understanding of issues such as multipliers, discount rates and periodical payments.

Clinical Negligence

Cara specialises in clinical negligence. She is instructed by claimants and defendants in cerebral palsy, brain injury and spinal injury cases, either with a leader or on her own. Cara is also instructed in other Clinical Negligence cases encompassing the full spectrum of medical issues.

Recent or ongoing cases involve obstetrics, neonatal care, delayed diagnosis of cancer, psychiatry, surgery, ophthalmology and gynaecology. Cara regularly represents both families and NHS Trusts in inquests. Cara has experience of claims involving private hospitals and doctors, as well as GPs, the Ministry of Defence and NHS trusts.

Many of her claims involve more than one defendant so she has experience of the tactical issues, which commonly arise in such cases. A number of her cases have had an international element because, either the cause of action accrued overseas or, the claimant lives overseas. She has a particular interest in conflicts of laws issues. As a member of the Ogden Working Committee, she has a detailed understanding of issues such as multipliers, discount rates and periodical payments. She is highly numerate.

Cara is recommended as a leading junior (Band 1) in clinical negligence in both Chambers & Partners and Legal 500.

Cases

W v Colchester Hospital University Trust (2015)

Together with Gordon Bebb QC, acted for Claimant in an assessment of quantum. C suffered from cerebral palsy and had appalling behaviour which gave rise to difficulties managing the case from a practical perspective and also complicated quantum. There were issues about whether she would have (and be permitted to keep) children. The case concluded at an RTM for a lump sum and PPO worth a total of £9.0 million.

Sarah Marquis v Homerton University Hospital (2015)

Claim for damages arising from delayed diagnosis of appendicitis. C claimed for loss of earnings based on C’s loss of a chance of promotion to Partner at a firm of solicitors. Case proceeded to trial but settled on the 3rd day for £750,000.

H v Kings College Hospital (2015)

Represented D in a case in which an elderly C had been rendered tetraplegic whilst undergoing surgery to decompress his cervical spine. Breach of duty involved consideration of the following issues: positioning of the patient, the standard of surgery, what could be seen on the imaging before and after surgery and the management of C after the operation. There were numerous factual and expert witnesses. Liability was hotly contested. Settlement of damages and costs reached at an RTM. The damages settlement included periodical payments and was worth c. £780,000.

SBF v Buckingham Healthcare NHS Trust (2015)

Represented Claimant in clinical negligence claim in which liability had been admitted. C had had a colostomy and also suffered from chronic pain, which was very disabling. Case settled at RTM for £900,000.

Afizee v Barnet Hospital & Dr Hodge (2014|)

Instructed by Claimant in a case about delayed diagnosis of spinal tuberculosis, which led to tubercular meningitis and caused incomplete tetraplegia. Liability disputed by defendants who embarked on a cut-throat defence. Led by David Westcott QC. Liability settled at 97.5% very shortly before trial. Quantum complicated by the fact that the Claimant’s condition had improved substantially in the months before trial and the Defendant was postulating further improvement in condition. The case required two RTMs; D’s valuation increased substantially by the second RTM. Quantum settled for a lump sum and periodical payments worth in excess of £8 million.

U v University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust (2014)

Represented D in a quantum only case; D had admitted liability for causing C’s brain injury. Settled at RTM for a lump sum and PPOs worth £4.1 million.

Pembroke (2014)

Together with Christopher Wilson-Smith QC, represented Claimant in a claim for surgical negligence against 3 defendants (private surgeon, private anaesthetist and private hospital). Obtained a substantial interim payment after a contested hearing when all Defendants denied liability. Defendants conceded liability at a mediation and quantum was settled at £3.25 million at a round table meeting.

Gomez v Royal Hospitals Cornwall NHS Trust (2014)

Represented Claimant in a surgical negligence case. Liability admitted. Most of the claim was for loss of earnings. RTM at which D offered only £400,000. Case prepared for trial but settled 1 working day before trial for £587,500.

RXB v Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust (2013)

Together with David Westcott QC, acted for Claimant who sustained a spinal cord injury during surgery, which was not recognised or remedied until 11 days later, ultimately causing tetraplegia. Complicating factor: C had been seriously disabled from birth. D admitted breach but difficult issues of causation and quantum arose, especially relating to C’s outcome with proper treatment and how damages should be quantified in a case of serious pre-existing disability. At RTM D counsel, unusually, persuaded fundamentally to reassess the case. PPO settlement worth c. £7.0 million achieved post RTM.

Mansi v Kings College Hospital (2013)

Represented Defendant in case concerning delayed diagnosis of a brain tumour. Issues of medical causation and quantum arose. Involved expert evidence in the disciplines of: neurology; ophthalmology, neuroradiology, oncology, endocrinology, forensic accountancy and care. Settled on advantageous terms (for D) after experts’ meetings when C accepted a Part 36 offer made by D before the experts’ meetings. Latterly led by Michael de Navarro QC.

Noble v Imperial College Healthcare Trust (2013)

Together with David Westcott QC, represented Claimant in action against 2 hospital trusts for failure promptly to respond to symptoms of paraplegia after the removal of an epidural catheter. Detailed evidence about breach of duty and complicated arguments (by reference to published literature) on causation. Settled on advantageous terms (capitalised value of PPO >£1M for claimant aged 75).

Tomlin (2013)

Represented Claimant in a surgical negligence case – C’s case that surgery was unnecessary. Liability denied by Defendant until after experts’ meeting. This was a case of additional injury sustained by already disabled Claimant, which gave rise to difficult quantum issues. Complicated by concerns about a witness’s credibility. Settled at an RTM for £475,000.

Elton v MOD (2012)

Instructed by the Claimant who had sustained vascular injury following a wakeboarding accident and underwent an above-knee amputation. The case concerned provision of emergency vascular surgery to servicemen based in Cyprus – the MoD used a Republic of Cyprus hospital. Issues of the extent of the duty of care arose, as well as arguments about causation. Settled at a round table meeting. Latterly led by David Westcott QC.

Pendreich v James Paget Hospital NHS Trust (2012)

Instructed by the Claimant in a case concerning failure to inform GP of C’s high blood pressure and prevent stroke. Quantum only. Issue about treatment of ongoing receipts of permanent health insurance. Settled for £2 m following a round table meeting.

Legrand v Kingston Hospital & Mr Wilsson (2012)

Acted for Defendant (MDU) in Fatal Accident Acts claim for negligent surgery leading to death. High earning wife seeking multi-million pound settlement for death of non-working 30 year old husband. Several novel legal arguments. Documentary evidence of Claimant’s career intentions markedly different from that proposed by Claimant. Late acceptance of Defendant’s earlier Part 36. Led by David Westcott QC.

David Bean v Surrey & Sussex NHS Trust (2012)

Instructed by the Claimant in a Fatal Accident Act case arising out of the death of his common-law wife from cervical cancer. Issues of causation and quantification arose. Settled at a Round Table Meeting.

Product Liability

Cara is currently acting for many claimants in the DePuy ASR prosthetic hip cases. She is also advising the defendant in a number of ongoing thalidomide claims.

Personal Injury

Cara is instructed mainly by claimants in catastrophic injury cases. She has represented claimants who have suffered spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury and amputation. Her wealth of experience in brain injury and spinal cord injury Clinical Negligence cases is invaluable when acting for claimants with similar injuries in personal injury cases.

Whilst many of her cases are quantum-only, she has also contested liability in road traffic and employer’s liability cases. She would be happy to accept instructions from defendants, and she regularly acts for defendants in Clinical Negligence cases.

Cases

R v Aviva (2015)

Represented a family of claimants injured in a road traffic accident. The father suffered a mild to moderate brain injury but there was a dispute about the aetiology of his cognitive impairments. The effect of his cognitive impairment on his future earnings was also in dispute. After the claimant rejected several low value offers, the case settled for £205,000. The daughter’s claim for severe brain injury is ongoing.

H v Kings College Hospital (2015)

Represented D in a case in which an elderly C had been rendered tetraplegic whilst undergoing surgery to decompress his cervical spine. Breach of duty involved consideration of the following issues: positioning of the patient, the standard of surgery, what could be seen on the imaging before and after surgery and the management of C after the operation. There were numerous factual and expert witnesses. Liability was hotly contested. Settlement of damages and costs reached at an RTM. The damages settlement included periodical payments and was worth c. £780,000.

A v Barnet Hospital & Dr Hodge (2014)

Instructed by Claimant in a case about delayed diagnosis of spinal tuberculosis, which led to tubercular meningitis and caused incomplete tetraplegia. Liability disputed by defendants who embarked on a cut-throat defence. Led by David Westcott QC. Liability settled at 97.5% very shortly before trial. Quantum complicated by the fact that the Claimant’s condition had improved substantially in the months before trial and the Defendant was postulating further improvement in condition. The case required two RTMs; D’s valuation increased substantially by the second RTM. Quantum settled for a lump sum and periodical payments worth in excess of £8 million.

K v Generali L’equite (2013)

Together with David Westcott QC, acted for a young male claimant who sustained very severe brain injury in a road traffic accident in France. Very large claim for future loss of earnings. Case settled for well over £15 million.

RXB v Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust (2013)

Together with David Westcott QC, acted for Claimant who sustained a spinal cord injury during surgery which was not recognised or remedied until 11 days later, ultimately causing tetraplegia. Complicating factor: C had been seriously disabled from birth. D admitted breach but difficult issues of causation and quantum arose, especially relating to C’s outcome with proper treatment and how damages should be quantified in a case of serious pre-existing disability. At RTM D counsel, unusually, persuaded fundamentally to reassess the case. PPO settlement worth c. £7.0 million achieved post RTM.

N v Imperial College Healthcare Trust (2013)

Together with David Westcott QC, represented Claimant in action against 2 hospital trusts for failure promptly to respond to symptoms of paraplegia after the removal of an epidural catheter. Detailed evidence about breach of duty and complicated arguments (by reference to published literature) on causation. Settled on advantageous terms (capitalised value of PPO >£1M for claimant aged 75).

AC v Motor Insurers Bureau (2012)

Acted for the Claimant in a contested High Court quantum trial, led by Gerard McDermott QC. Claimant sustained a severe brain injury in a road traffic accident. All heads of loss other than future care agreed prior to trial.

Noble v Owens (2011)

Junior counsel for the Claimant, led by Gerard McDermott QC, in a contested 7 day fraud trial. The Defendant appealed against the award of damages, seeking an order for a retrial, on the grounds that surveillance evidence demonstrated that the judgment had been obtained by fraud. The Defendant failed to prove the allegation of fraud. The expert views were accepted that improvement was multi-factorial and it was held that the Claimant did not dishonestly conceal from the court or the expert witnesses his then true state of disability or dishonestly emphasise his disability. Landmark case in insurance fraud for Claimants.

Professional Negligence

Cara is instructed by both claimants and defendants in lawyers’ negligence cases, usually concerning the management or settlement of personal injury or clinical negligence claims. Cara has recently successfully represented a barrister in a claim about the settlement of a personal injury claim at the door of the court.

Cases

Dunhill v (1) W Brook & Co (2) Crossley (2016) EWHC 165 (QB)

Successfully defended the barrister defendant at a trial on breach of duty. Led by Anneliese Day QC. The Claimant alleged that her former solicitors and barrister had negligently advised her to settle her Personal Injury claim at an undervalue at the court door. Elisabeth Laing J heard the trial on breach of duty and dismissed the claim against both defendants. Laing J was not persuaded that the barrister defendant “had assessed the evidence incorrectly, still less, negligently.” The barrister did not have the luxury of saying that he could not settle the case because he did not have enough information about quantum. On his non-negligent assessment of the situation, he faced fighting and losing, or agreeing a settlement. He was not negligent in doing his best to assess quantum on the medical evidence that was available to him even though it has since become clear that the claimant’s injuries were very much more severe than was appreciated at the time.

Thoseby v Bakers Solicitors (2010)

Instructed on behalf of the claimant. A Professional Negligence action arising from the solicitor’s handling of a Clinical Negligence cerebral palsy case. Breach of duty by the solicitor admitted but dispute about whether the Clinical Negligence action would have succeeded – therefore effectively a Clinical Negligence liability case. Had to take an early view about the value of the claim before quantum had been investigated. Settled in 2010 at a round table meeting prior to the liability trial for £1.3 million. Led by David Westcott QC.

Appointments & Memberships

  • Ogden Working Party
  • Personal Injury Bar Association
  • Professional Negligence Bar Association

Areas of Law


Recommendations


badgeCara Guthrie Accreditations

Testimonials


“Decisive, focused, efficient and excellent with complex cases.” Clinical Negligence, Legal 500 2017

“She is incredibly intelligent, and quickly grasps and offers solutions to complex issues. Her analysis of cases is excellent.” Clinical Negligence, Chambers & Partners 2017

“Fantastic at quantum and a great negotiator.” Clinical Negligence, Legal 500 2016

“She was excellent throughout the case and always available.” Clinical Negligence, Chambers & Partners 2016

“Her pleadings are detailed and she is brilliant on her feet.” Clinical Negligence, Chambers & Partners 2016

“A QC of the future, she’s clever, robust and hard-working. Very user-friendly, she’s good tactically and excellent in court.” “She’s great with numbers and phenomenally quick in conference.” Clinical Negligence, Chambers & Partners 2015

“An excellent heavyweight junior who thinks imaginatively to find a solution to a thorny issue.” Clinical Negligence, Legal 500 2015

“She is a very bright woman who is fiercely organised, very tenacious and a fighter – she’s very direct.” Clinical Negligence, Chambers & Partners 2014

“A great advocate, who gets excellent results for clients.” Clinical Negligence, Legal 500 2014

“Thorough and extremely numerate.” Clinical Negligence, Chambers & Partners 2013

“Extremely bright and tenacious.” Clinical Negligence, Legal 500 2013

“Dynamic, personable and excellent with figures”. “She impresses solicitors with the fact that she is “absolutely laser in cutting through to the issues.” Clinical Negligence, Chambers & Partners 2012

Cara Guthrie has “a strong grasp of difficult legal issues.” Clinical Negligence, Legal 500 2012

Cara Guthrie is “phenomenally bright” and “operates at a level that is very advanced for her call.” Solicitors turn to her as “she’s just what you want at a hearing – confident, articulate and bright.” Clinical Negligence, Chambers & Partners 2011

Cara Guthrie is “a pleasure to work with”, she is “excellent with figures and has a strong grasp of relevant legal principles.” Clinical Negligence, Legal 500 2011

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