Friday, 3 February, 2012
An elderly widow, who was the victim of poor workmanship when builders replaced a utility room in her home, has been awarded compensation for professional negligence at Dublin´s Circuit Civil Court.
Kathleen O’Leary (84), from Walkinstown, Dublin, had paid the building company Cranlowe Ltd 23,000 Euros for the work done at her home but, as Mr Justice Matthew Deery heard at the Circuit Civil Court, quantity surveyors compiled a list of twenty examples of professional negligence following the alterations to her 6 feet square (1.82m) utility room.
The court heard that shortly after the work had been completed, the utility room flooded due to inadequate drainage, causing a short-circuit of the electricity as the power supply had not been earthed. Further investigation revealed that the walls of the utility room had not been insulated properly, no under-floor ventilation had been installed and defects in the underground piping resulted in foul water leaking into the surrounding soil.
Giving evidence to the court, quantity surveyor Kevin O’Rafferty stated that had the work been carried out properly it should have cost Kathleen no more than 18,000 Euros, and it would now cost a further 14,912 Euros to have the faults repaired. The court also heard that when Kathleen confronted the co-owner of Cranlowe Ltd – Patrick Cowzer – with the litany of errors, he had become abusive towards her.
Mr Justice Matthew Deery was told that Kathleen´s claim for professional negligence had been granted in default of defence in November 2011, and the case was now before him for assessment of damages. The judge ruled that Cranlowe Ltd should pay Kathleen 14,912 Euros compensation for professional negligence – sufficient for Kathleen to have the necessary repairs made to her utility room – and a further 3,500 Euros to account for the emotional stress Kathleen had endured.
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