Perhaps Russell Ambrose is tiring of losing to me, because he’s agreed to pay my third claim and avoided the hearing listed @ Central London County Court on 7 October (see previous post to read prequel).
Or perhaps he wants to sell Optimax and this is part of a cunning plan, because - as the albatross around Russell's neck - I'd be included in the fixtures and fittings!
To those of you who’d planned to come along to the hearing in October, don’t be too disappointed...
Not only do I have a fourth claim in process, but I’ll be posting details soon about a really exciting trial scheduled to start early next year!
Thousands of patients suffer surgery failure.
15 Jul 2016 21:47 #92
I can tell you why they treat us with such contempt; they want to wear us down to make us go away. I was lied to, lied about and bullied until I wanted to end my life. My Optimax records contain truly filthy lies about my personal life, which my surgeon Malcolm Samuel claimed he knew nothing about. The optometrist Leslie Hudson, who wrote the filth, claims that he told her to put it on my records. They left me with terrible eyesight (and getting worse), and in so much constant pain these past nine years, with no improvement.
Russell Ambrose said he would not give me any compensation, because I would want too much - although I never quoted a figure, and so I have to pay all my eye related expenses myself, while he wastes his money fighting Sasha in court.
Every day, and every night, I am sickened by what these people did to me, because for me, it feels worse than rape, and I will have to live with my injuries for the rest of my life.
I too had surgery with Optimax and I am also outraged that we were not informed of the loss of contrast sensitivity, along with lots of other facts which were withheld.
I'm not sure it's a case of them assuming we won't mind or notice. I think it's a case of them not caring. Of course we will mind and that's probably why they don't tell us. They don't give a f**k. The only thing they care about is getting our money and giving us the facts would affect that..
This is my third legal claim v Optimax due to Russell’s breach of our Settlement Agreement, and I’m really looking forward to going to court with this one on 7 October!
And we're back at the Royal Courts of Justice, so much nicer than Willesden County Court.
Russell refused to pay for three months supply of eye drops (£119.76) and one pair of night driving glasses (£742) when invoiced in March.
He is again denying that he’s party to the Settlement Agreement, and while I don’t care which of his bank accounts he pays me out of, Russell Ambrose (1st Defendant) and Optimax (2nd Defendant) are one and the same to me!
His defence argues that I (yet again) have to supply evidence to prove that the expenses I have claimed, 'arise out of the (lasek) treatment carried out on 18 February 2011 at Optimax’.
What amuses me most is that the defence was written and filed with the court two months before the hearing of my second claim, and therefore the judgement handed down by Deputy District Judge Lawrence on 7 June means that Russell’s legal team need to rethink their strategy!
I could go into court tomorrow without any sweat, as I have all necessary paperwork and documents filed from my two previous claims, and I suspect that Russell’s legal team feel the same way, while earning megabucks for simply rehashing work already done.
Last week I went to Optimax in Finchley Road for an eye test, in case Russell tries to argue when he gets the forthcoming invoices for new glasses - frames and lenses (see 19 June post).
The optom noted that I have severe MGD and that my eyes were very dry, offering to give me some eye drops, but Pushpa Patel (Medical Compliance Manager) told me to buy them myself and invoice Optimax.
As I have to wait until we go to court in October before I receive payment for the last batch, you can no doubt guess what will happen when I send the invoice to Russell!
Summary of 'Sasha Rodoy v Russell Ambrose (Optimax)'
Claim for £3,298: frames, Lipiflow/consult, train fare, eye drops.
After two years I have an amicable relationship with Russell’s legal team, lawyer Qaiser Khanzada and barrister Tim Walker - out of the courtroom that is! And they’ve taught me a lot, to play as dirty as they do and focus on the objective - to beat your opponent!
We’re on first name terms and I think they like me, possibly because every time Russell fights me they profit!
Before the hearing Qaiser agreed with me that the allotted one hour was not sufficient time to deal with the case (it actually lasted 75 minutes). And even worse, when I asked him, Deputy District Judge Lawrence admitted that he hadn’t had time to read my four page Witness statement, therefore intending to deliberate on a complex dispute without any background info.
Tim opened by asking that Russell Ambrose be removed as First Defendant, claiming that he had only signed our Settlement Agreement (SA) in 2012 as a representative of Optimax Clinics Unlimited, and was therefore not personally responsible.
Yet I have Russell Ambrose recorded at our first meeting (Friday 13 May 2011) telling me that he was sorry for what had happened to me, and that he took 'personal responsibility for everything’… that he wasn’t 'trying to run away from anything', and, ‘if I’ve done you any harm I’ll do what I can to make it right’…
But apparently it didn't matter that Russell was a sole trader when he entered into our agreement, and so his name was removed as First Defendant leaving Optimax Clinics Ltd as Second Defendant.
Instead of allowing us both to present our arguments, Judge Lawrence asked questions that simply confused matters.
Tim Walker was as frustrated with this as I was, and as it would take far too long to detail the entire hearing I’ll stick to key points.
For anyone unfamiliar with my personal story; after my eyes were irreparably damaged by lasek surgery at Optimax in February 2011, Russell Ambrose and I settled out of court in September 2012.
Before we signed the agreement Russell promised that he would work with me to help his damaged patients, and so we continued to meet for another year afterwards. Unfortunately it soon became apparent that this was not his true agenda, his arrogance had let him believe that I would work with him to take down OE and give Optimax immunity.
I didn't disillusion him as he was providing me with so much valuable information (all recorded) and documents.
Russell complained that OERML website was also damaging Optimax, and offered to broker a deal for me to accept a massive bribe from David Moulsdale to take it down. When I refused, and told him that I’d recorded all our meetings, Russell was furious and didn’t want to play with me anymore - and we’d been having so much fun!
In 2014 David Moulsdale personally asked me for copies of my recordings etc..., but that’s a story for another time!
Back to the hearing…
Struggling to keep up, the Judge was initially inclined to accept the Defendant’s core argument, that the ‘unlimited treatment’ I am entitled to, according to the terms of the SA, does not include frames/lenses.
I drew his attention to a short email Russell sent to me in July 2013, his response to my invoice for new lenses.
(I'd replied that I agreed with him - it was indeed unreasonable that I needed a new prescription so soon!)
I then referred the Judge to copies of medical publications proving that glasses are most definitely deemed ‘treatment’ to correct eyesight.
Unfortunately however, I had included a document in my evidence that worked against me - the Particulars of Claim from last year’s case for £5,779.90, when I'd mistakenly listed frames in my claim instead of lenses.
In fact, as a goodwill gesture I’d advised Russell that I would put the lenses in my old frames, which were fine in 2014 when the claim was issued, and I amended my claim to only £3,400, which definitely did not include the cost of frames. Settled in October 2015.
Tim Walker argued that the frames had therefore been paid for in October, even though the invoice for frames included in this claim was not submitted until December 2015!
DDJ Lawrence said that the point they’d raised was a legal one, because I had ‘compromised’ my current claim by including frames in my previous claim - even though he appreciated that no payment was made for them (nor had they been itemised).
I was eventually so frustrated with his lack of info that I begged him to listen to my statement to better understand why Russell was being obstructive. He said only if it was related to the case.
I bit back my knee jerk response, said it was, and he finally allowed me to read it.
Firstly I asked to have it put on record that Tim Walker had been disingenuous with his skeleton argument, cherry picking terms of the SA to suit his spin even though he was familiar with all the facts having previously represented the Defendant last year.
'The Defendant owns the the second, and third, largest UK providers of refractive eye surgery. The biggest provider - and his main competitor, is Optical Express.
As is outlined in my Witness Statement, following devastating results of laser eye surgery, I launched a campaign for government regulation in 2012 - there is none - and am a patient advocate representing thousands of people irreparably damaged by this industry.
Since 2012 I have worked closely with John McDonnell, now Shadow Chancellor. Also supported by my own MP, Theresa Villiers, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.
After fighting for a meeting with the government for 4 years, the Health Minister Ben Gummer has finally agreed to meet with me at the end of the month.
The Defendant and I signed the Settlement Agreement in September 2012, after approx 15 one to one meetings spanning almost 18 months. All recorded.
The Defendant’s arrogance led him to believe that he was going to use me to take down his competitor, Optical Express. But once he realised this was not the case he turned on me, and that’s when he stopped paying my invoices.
Both businessmen have openly admitted that it is due to my activities that their businesses are suffering major financial problems.
In 2013 I received a threat against my life from the industry, documented, with police reports filed for my safety.
And it should be noted that I’ve given interviews to the BBC, and have a high profile website, yet neither Optical Express or Optimax have attempted to sue me for libel or slander.
The reason the Defendant is obstructing me and refusing to pay my invoices is because he was happily doing so until 2013, when he realised I had recorded our meetings. And, because I’m campaigning for government regulation, Optimax was as much in the frame as Optical Express and my activities are killing the high street industry!
I work with a number of lawyers representing damaged patients, some left blind!'
The Judge was quiet for a few seconds… then he said that he understood the motivation of the Defendant, and accepted that I'd made a mistake by listing frames in my previous claim, but, he had to rule on a point of law.
He continued to do his best to help me, and did accept that I hadn’t been paid for frames previously, but Tim was a worthy adversary (and a clever barrister) who continued to argue that no matter what I’d spent the money on, frames were listed in my previous claim (paradoxically the main thrust of the defence was that glasses were not part of my SA).
The Judge ruled that I was entitled to claim for lenses and frames under the terms of the SA, but he struck out my £1,948 claim for frames on this occasion due to my having ‘compromised the claim’ by listing frames last year (regardless of the fact that I was not awarded payment for them).
He did advise I should put in another claim for complete pairs of glasses when my prescription changes. (Coincidentally I have noticed recent changes so have booked an eye test @ Optimax Finchley Rd branch on Tuesday at 1.30pm)
DDJ Lawrence awarded me £1,350.15 damages for the Lipiflow/consult, train fare and eye drops, plus £610 costs - including £40 taxi fares to and fro the Court.
Because my claim was initially brought against ‘Mr Ambrose’, and he’d been struck out as Defendant, Tim Walker asked the Judge to award costs to his client, claiming it was a ‘goodwill gesture’ that they’d agreed Optimax Clinics Ltd be joined as Second Defendant.
DDJ Lawrence’s face was a picture as his eyebrows rose above his glasses (another one I predict won’t be having eye surgery), and said it was on record that I had applied to the Court to add Optimax Ltd as Second Defendant in January (£50 application fee included in my awarded costs), and that it was entirely due to the Court having lost the documents that this hadn’t happened, as the Defendant well knew!
He told Tim Walker that Mr Ambrose could claim his legal costs on company expenses.
I have no idea what Russell’s legal fees to defend my claim were, but Tim Walker and Qaiser Khanzada are both high fee earners, and I estimate that costs for the hearing alone were at least £3,000.
A little bit of legalese then followed, Tim explaining that Optimax Clinics Unltd and Optimax Clinics Ltd were ‘different entities’, asking that the latter should be named on the Judgement. The Judge said he wasn’t sure why but agreed.
I currently have a third claim in process for £861.76 (another invoice Russell has refused to pay), plus a court assessment for my £10,500 costs last year which Russell also refused to pay - even though his own costs exceeded £50,000!
Qaiser and I were puzzled that this case had been allocated to Willesden County Court as we’d both asked for a hearing at the Central London County Court. Not only is it a stunning building (with a decent coffee shop across the road) but it’s also easier for the press to attend. So hopefully the next case will be heard there.
Meanwhile, unfortunately for us both, Russell Ambrose is rarely far from my thoughts
If this weren't so sickening I'd be rolling on the floor laughing
'this has worked well previously' my a%*@!
If so then OERML wouldn't exist and none of you reading here would ever have heard of Sasha Rodoy!
'Ambrose told Optician: ‘New GMC rules stating that a surgeon must only perform a refractive surgery on a patient that they have personal consulted with prior to the day of surgery and allowed a sufficient “cooling of”’ period.
‘Previously, consultation, recommendation of surgery type and the taking of informed consent have been widely performed by optometrists. Although this has worked well previously, employing the optometrists’ excellent skills, this is no longer permitted.
Too late for me and thousands of other Optimax patients!
However, this new GMC rule is seriously flawed, and if I've spotted the loopholes then you can bet your life Russell has! (David Moulsdale is still trying to get his blood pressure down after turning purple when he and his OE playmate Steve Schallhorn threw all the toys out of their shared pram when given this news)
Coincidentally, the GOC recently dismissed my complaint (and subsequent appeal) against Optimax optometrist Swati Malkan, who I hold as culpable as the surgeon for ruining my eyes!
NB: I should have the GMC decision on my complaint against surgeon Wilbert Hoe by July.