Workplace Accident that Smashed Woman’s Front Teeth Results in €16,500 Compensation Award

After a workplace accident involved a collision with a door that smashed fours of her front teeth, IT worker Roseanna MacDonald has been awarded more than €16,500 personal injury compensation at the Circuit Civil Court.

Despite being held partly to blame for the incident that occurred at her place of work, Brightwater Selection, Judge Justice Dara Hayes awarded Ms McDonald – who has an address at Merrion Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4 – was being awarded the compensation due to the injuries she sustained.

As he was confirming the award, Justice Hayes said Ms McDonald sustained major dental injuries in the workplace accident in January 2017. This was a result of her walking directly into double plate glass doors at the Brightwater Selection (Ireland) Ltd’s offices located at Merrion Square, Dublin.

Commenting on the suffering experienced by Ms McDonald, Judge Hayes said: “In the immediate aftermath she was bleeding from her mouth and broke two teeth and fragments of each of them were found on the floor. She experienced significant shock and distress.”

Ms McDonald’s injuries included fractures to her four upper front teeth, along with nerve damage to two of these. This resulted in the teeth turning black in colour. Due to the incident Ms McDonald had to have the four teeth crowned.

Counsel for Ms McDonald, barrister Sharbee Morrin, informed the Judge that his client was in process of moving IT equipment to her car which was parked outside the Brightwater’s offices in Ballsbridge. During this process she had been entering and leaving the office  through one of the double glass doors which she had left in an open position. However, on the last leg of her task the door had been somehow closed. Due to this she walked directly into it.

Appearing in court with O’Hanrahan Solicitors, Mr Morrin, said the doors had previously contained plain frosted strips. However, unbeknownst to Ms McDonald, these strips were taken away as there were plans in place for new frosted strips that included the company’s logo.

The Court was told that a major point of contention had been whether or not two metre-long perpendicular door handles acted as an adequate warning to indicate that the doors were shut as people were approaching. Justice Hayes said that expert forensic engineer Donal Terry contended that, in his opinion, the only acceptable rationale for the occurence of the incident where Ms McDonald did not notice the closed door was that she did not pay full attention to the circumstances in front of her.

Commenting on the Ms McDonald said that she had likely been engaged with a superior prior to the collision taking place.

As he was commenting on the case before him, Justice Hayes issued a plea to employers to ensure that there are clear warnings in place on transparent glass doors for the safety of those using them.

He said: “Clear plate glass doors create an obvious risk of people walking into them and I am satisfied in this case the handles that were present did not provide adequate warning. It is often not possible to eliminate risk but it is always possible to mitigate and guard against it. It is important for occupiers and employers to take steps to minimise risk not just for the novice or those unfamiliar with the premises or workplace but to guard and protect against familiarity breeding complacency.”

Judge Hayes said that the incident that resulted in Ms McDonald’s injuries could have been avoided by the placing of more noticeable markings on the doors. However, he added that Ms McDonald had to bear some blame for the accident and he calculated her liability at 35%.

Due to the significant dental treatment, including four crowns that will likely need to be replaced after 15 years, he awarded general damages at €17,500 together with €4,220 for dental work to date and €3,960 for dental treatment that will be necessary in the future.

After accounting for Ms McDonald’s contributory negligence, the final workplace compensation award was for €16,692 and legal costs involved.


€8m Road Accident Injury Compensation for Law Student Struck by Car on Footpath

At the High Court a legal action taken by a law student, left with catastrophic injuries when he was hit by a car driven by a disqualified  driver who mounted a footpath, has resulted in approval being granted for a settlement of €8m.

Driver Paul Connolly struck 21-year-old Francis Dhala from Dublin and another pedestrian in May 2019 when his vehicle veered onto a footpath close to Coolmine Railway. Following the incident 39-year old Mr Connolly was given a prison sentence of eight-and-a-half years, with the last 18 months suspended, after being found guilty of dangerous driving which resulted in catastrophic injuries and driving under the influence of drugs. Additionally he was handed a 25-year driving ban.

During the trial for Mr Connolly’s part in the road traffic incident, the Circuit Court was informed that he (Connolly) admitted taking drugs the night prior to the accident. At the time of the accident he was driving his child to school and was approaching a railway barrier when he undertook a line of traffic. However, he lost control of the car and mounted the footpath where he struck Mr Dhala and also injured a 54-year-old man..

When the Gardai attended the scene of the accident Mr Connolly claimed that he had struck a shrub and then completed a U-turn and “calmly” drove away from the scene with a smashed window. However, another driver contacted Gardai and remained in touch with them until they intercepted Mr Connolly.

Mr Dhala took the legal action for compensation against Mairead McGrath, the owner of the car, and Mr Connolly alleging there was negligence and a number of breaches of duty. Liability was accepted in the action. 

Justice Michael Hanna referred to Mr Dhala’s recovery from his injuries as a “tale of horrifying injury and inspirational effort and ability by Francis who has done astonishing things to make his lot as good as it might be”. 

He added that “all plaudits” must go to Mr Dhala whose remarkable recovery was “absolutely staggering and shows obviously there is a fine spirit there and will make the best of what he has”. The Judge was also informed that Mr Dhala’s hopes to enrol in a Masters degree course in law and eventually qualify to become a solicitor. He was also told that Mr Dhala has a very supportive family with a sister who has completed a law degree and his lecturer father works for the UN. 

The judge said he had no hesitation in approving the €8m road traffic compensation compensation settlement of certain payouts from the settlement, including €395,000 for medical expenses.

Justice Hanna added that: “One could only hope that he will “in turn offer hope to many people in the situation of catastrophic injuries that they can go on to achieve things”, 



School Bathroom Accident leads to €40,000 Compensation Award for Boy

At the High Court a schoolboy who was involved in a school bathroom door accident where he lost the tip of one of his fingers has settled his compensation action for €40,000.

Seven year old Conor Bissett had the tip of his right little finger amputated. Presiding Judge Justice Garrett Simons was informed that that then five-year-old boy had to have two separate surgeries to deal with his injuries. As a result of the accident at his school on May 22, 2019 his little finger is now permanently short.

The boy in question, seven-year old Conor Bissett from Granard, Co Longford, took the school accident injury compensation action against St Colmcille’s National School, Augnacliffe, Co Longford via his mother Tanya Bissett.

Ms Bissett provided an affidavit to the High Court that stated said her son had suffered a complete amputation of the tip of his smallest finger. The part of the finger that was cut off was carefully placed in milk to be taken to the hospital with him. She added that, upon arriving at the Dublin hospital to be treated, medics acknowledged that the finger was macerated and, due to this, a grafting of the tip could not be carried out.

Following this a surgical procedure in theatre allowed Conor’s wound to be completely cleaned out. The young boy was allowed to return home and additional appointments were arranged for him to have the wound dressed in the weeks after this procedure took place.

His mother informed the court that her son’s wound was not healed. However, he experiences issues with with nail growth though he retains a full range of motion in his finger. She added that thoe treating him are of the opinion that Conor’s little right finger is permanently short and he also has a 2cm scar.

AS he was giving his approval for the settlement, Justice Garrett Simons remarked that he felt it to be a very good one due to the specific details of the accident. The judge said the accident happened as the boy attended school and his hand got caught in the bathroom door.

The judge noted the boy had full functionality of the finger and commented that the main issue for debate in the case was whether the bathroom door was too heavy and closed too quickly for the accident to be avoided.


€5,000 Unfair Dismissal Award for Bus Driver

€5,000 compensation for unfair dismissal has been awarded to Kenneth Folman, a former Bus Éireann worker who had been dismissed from his position following being disqualified from driving.

Despite the WRC adjudication officer ruling, on an earlier occasion, that the individual should be reinstated to his role in the aftermath of the unfair dismissal ruling, the Labour Court has returned a ruling that this should not happen and the man should not get his old job back.

The Labour Court was hearing the appeal, submitted by Bus Éireann following the WRC adjudication officer’s ruling. There was no appeal of the WRC ruling of unfair dismissal.

Mr Folman’s Bus Eireann contract was terminated in August 2019. Prior to this he had been employed by the commercial semi-state company on a full-time basis from the time period between June 2018 and August 2019.

Bus Éireann, as part of their defence informed the adjudicator that there had been many problems in relation to Mr Folman’s work performance that resulted in a final written warning in June 2019. It was added that the man had 100% ‘contributed to his own dismissal’.

Bus Eireann informed the WRC hearing that the man was unable to carry out the job he had been hired to carry out as he was involved in a court case where he was disqualified from driving. This, the group felt, left them in no position other than to terminate his contract of employment as the trust between the employee and the company had been damaged beyond repair. They added that they believe Mr Folman had successfully found employment with another company quite quickly. 

Mr Folman informed the WRc hearing that he was of the opinion that the incidents leading to the final written warning from Bus Eireann were as significant as they (Bus Eireann) were stating. As they were found worthy of a final writ he said that he believed that it was not just to depend on them to terminate his contract of employment.

The WRC adjudicator was also informed that Mr Folman successfully appealed his driving disqualification. Mr Folman stated that all new drivers experience significant incidents during this activity but without doing so they would not be able to become better drivers in time.

He was represented by the National Bus and Rail Workers’ Union, which claimed that Bus Eireann had proceeded from a final written warning to outright dismissal without affording Mr Folman the opportunity of having a fair hearing or the chance to appeal the decision.

Mr Folman informed the hearing that he was earning a weekly wage of around €79 less than he had been before he was dismissed from his Bus Eireann role. He 

Deputy chair Louise O’Donnell, as part of her ruling, said: “Safety is Bus Éireann’s first priority. We are satisfied with the outcome of the Labour Court appeal in this case and have no further comment to make.”

Due to this she said that does not believe reinstatement is appropriate but that she felt the compensation was the appropriate form of redress.



Bouncy Castle Accident Compensation of €40k for Boy who Broke Elbow in Fall

€40,000 personal injury compensation has been awarded to a boy who broke his left elbow in an accident involving a bouncy castle.

The young male, Rean Jay Cabangal, fell from the bouncy castle at the Courtyard Hotel in Leixlip, Co Kildare. Representing the boy at the Circuit Civil Court, Barrister Tom Clarke, appearing with Dillon Geraghty Solicitors, informed the Judge that it was not known if the boy had been shoved or taken forcibly from the castle during ‘horseplay’. He said that there had been no adult supervision when the incident occurred. 

Mr Clarke informed presiding Judge Pauline Codd that the fall had left Rean with a grossly displaced fracture of his elbow. IN the immediate aftermath of the incident he was taken to Crumlin Children’s Hospital. Here he underwent immediate surgery to heal the break with the placement of K Wires. Following the procedure his arm had been in plaster for six weeks. Dr Ahmad Jabal, in an official medical report, stated Rean’s injury could be very serious one often associated with damage to nerves and blood vessels. he added that the boy was fortunate to have made such a good recovery.bRean, now aged 15, had been back playing football within six months of the accident occurring.

Rean, of Supple Hall Dunshaughlin, took the legal action via his mother Leonida Sanico against Moriarty Investments Limited, operating as the Courtyard Hotel, Leixlip, and Ian Radford and Laura Boland, who trade as Dreamtime Bouncy Castles, Lucan, Co Dublin, for €60,000 child accident injury compensation.

Rean, Mr Clarke informed the Judge, had been attending a post Confirmation party at the Courtyard hotel with his friend when the accident took place on April 23, 2016. At the time of the accident there had been no adult supervision of the bouncy castle. As part of the agreement for the bouncy castle company to provide the equipment the hotel had committed to ensuring that there would be adult supervision at all times when it was being used. 

Despite the court order approving the €40,000 settlement was made against both defending parties, it is thought that the hotel operators had given Dreamtime Bouncy Castles an undertaking that they would accept responsibility for compromising the legal proceedings. Judge Codd gave her approval for the €40,000 injury compensation settlement. This award will be placed in court funds until Rean reaches the age of 18 on September 10, 2023.


Dog Attack Accident Compensation of €121,917 Awarded to Woman

At the High Court €121,917 personal injury compensation has been awarded to a women who was attacked and bitten by a large pit bull terrier at her friend’s house.

The attack, which took place on February 14, 2016 resulted in Colene Killian taking a legal action against her then friends Martin and Amy Kilduff, in relation to the “terrifying experience” that occurred at their home at Clonlyon, Belmont, Co Offaly.

Ms Killian claimed that her friends were negligent and in breach of the Control of Dogs Act over failures to ensure the dog was muzzled and under control – which led to her being bitten. She told the court that she was lawfully on the premises owned and controlled by the defendants as a visitor when she was attacked and bitten by a dog present on the premises.

The accident occurred when Ms Killian was waiting to be picked up by her father. While her boyfriend Ollie was in the sitting room speaking in a raised voice during an argument with a third party on his phone, she went into a bedroom to chat with Amy Kilduff.  At this point the dog fled the sitting, entered the bedroom, and jumped onto the bed where his bit Ms Killian’s back.

Ms Killian told the Judge that was entered a hysterical state. The dog was restrained. However, once Ms Killian placed her hand on the bedroom door handle, the dog attacked her and latched onto her arm for about a minute. When the dog was pulled away it could be seen that he had a chunk of her flesh in this dog’s mouth. Ms Killian then noticed there there was a “really big hole” in her arm.

She was taken to Tullamore hospital for medical treatment. Here it was discovered that the wound was too deep to be closed. Medical staff cleaned the wound and gave Ms Killian a dose of antibiotics. On February 17, 2016, she was transferred to St James’s Hospital and, six days later, had an operation to close her wound. She was informed by a plastic surgeon that she would need additional surgeries at a later date.

Due to the trauma and physical injuries that she suffered, Ms Killian dropped out of an agricultural course she was attending. She is now employed as a residential care worker for teenagers with severe behavioural problems.

She was awarded the highest possible compensation award of €65,000. The Judge said that she had suffered with trauma, hospitalisation and the lack of success in addressing the physical appearance of her left arm, among other reasons, merited that sum. The Judge comment that the highest possible amount of compensation was awarded due to future reconstructive surgeries, lifelong scars and Ms Killian;s phobic anxiety about some dogs, he said. He awarded an additional €45,000 to reflect that, plus special damages, which made a total award dog attack compensation award of €121,917.


Girl Award €80k Car Passenger Compensation after Aunt Suffered Partial Seizure while Driving

At the High Court a €80,000 car accident injury compensation settlement has been approved by the High Court for a girl who suffered with injuries following a crash that occurred when the driver of the car she was travelling in, her aunt, suffered a partial seizure.

As he was giving his approval for the car passenger compensation settlement, Justice Garrett Simons said that Caoimhe Coyle, of Glenhoe, Carrigart, Co. Donegal, aged seven had been strapped into the car at the time of the accident six years ago. He added that the case was “very unusual” given the circumstances involved.

There had been some legal discussion in relation to the liability in the case, the judge was informed. This was due to the fact that, while the child’s aunt Nora McHugh caused the accident in the physical sense, there was a point to be considered as to whether she held any legal liability due to the fact that medical evidence was presented that she experienced a partial seizure at the time and cannot be held responsible.

Legal representative for Caoimhe informed the judge that, while Ms McHugh may have a full defence to liability due to her medical condition, the plaintiff would have to overcome a “huge hurdle” concerning liability if the case went to a full trial setting.

Caoimhe, now 13 years of age, has made a satisfactory recovery from her injuries, including a pelvic injury described as moderate to severe, the judge was advised. In addition to this she had also sustained a soft tissue injury to her neck and suffered with anxiety due to the accident.

Caoimhe submitted the car passenger accident compensation action via her mother, Mary Ann Coyle, in relation to the accident. The legal action for car accident compensation came before the judge today through an application on behalf of the child to consider the settlement offer.

Justice Simmons informed the court that, due to the serious risk to the plaintiff in relation to proving liability if the matter went to trial, the settlement offer of €80,000, comprising approximately 75% of the full value of the compensation claim, was a very good one and he would give his approval for it.


Car Park Slip Accident Results in €75,000 Injury Compensation for Public Servant

At the High Court €75,000 in compensation has been awarded to a female public servant who fell in an office car park, fracturing her ankle in the process.

The woman in question, Shirley Farrell, submitted a legal compensation action against her employer, the Minister for Agriculture and the Marine, and Apelona HSG Ltd, a company contracted to operate as a facilities manager by Department. The action was taken as a result of the falling incident in which she sustained her injuries at the Backweston premises in Celbridge, Co Kildare, on October 22, 2015.

Mr Justice Max Barrett said the he believed, based on all of the evidence presented to him, that Ms Farrell was correct in her belief that she must have slipped on leaves as she walked to her car on the day in question.

As Ms Farrell left work that day, there were approximately 10 members of staff remaining in the building and no lights outside, the judge was informed.

She stumbled and fell as a result of the fact that she had no clear visibility of where she was walking. Additionally the presence of the mud on on her tights, she said that she felt it more than likely that the leaves had caused her to slip to the ground. The judge agreed with this suggestion as it was consistent with the time of year and the mud on her tights.

Ms Farrell’s unchallenged testimony was that the outside area and car park were completely unlit when she departed work that evening.

The judge found a breach by the Minister to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, Ms Farrell’s place of work, and the manner in which is accessed to and from it, is safe. He ruled that there was negligence on the part of both defendants.

Ms Farrell’s fractured ankle was medically treated with a below-knee plaster cast and crutches and, after that, with a walking boot and ongoing use of crutches.

She said that, even after the boot was taken off, she could not return to walking for pleasure until about May 2016, discovered that long-distance walks no longer possible and was also unable to resume her dancing classes.

The judge said that he felt that Ms Farrell’s injuries were at the higher end of moderately severe and were commensurate with a compensation award of €75,000.


Homeless Man Involved in Bus Accident Awarded €2m Compensation

At the High Court €2m bus accident compensation settlement has been awarded to a homeless man who was left in a paralysed from the waist down.

The accident that occurred in Dublin during October 2014, left Michael Carroll, who had been homeless for 15 years at the time, in a paraplegic condition, requiring full-time care and confined to a wheelchair. Representing Mr Carroll in court, Richard Lyons SCinfrmed the judge that this horrific accident occurred as he (Mr Carroll) was about to board the bus and the doors closed and the bus drove away. At this point in time Mr Carroll fell under the bus and sustained catastrophic injuries.

Mr Carroll (59) with an address in Finglas, Dublin, had sued Dublin Bus over the accident on October 23, 2014 at a bus stop on James’s St/Thomas St, Dublin.

The plaintiff claimed that he was trying to board a bus when the doors shut and it drove off allegedly resulting in him fall beneath the bus. It was also alleged there was a failure to ensure it was safe to drive off from the bus stop when Mr Carroll was standing too near to the bus itself. Other claims included that there was a failure to stop the bus when Mr Carroll was falling against it as it drove away and that the bus was driven from the bus stop without adequate due care and attention or maintaining a proper lookout.

Dublin Bus refuted the allegations made and stated that the bus driver did not drive away from the bus stop when Mr Carroll was standing at its doors. They counter-alleged that the plaintiff had fallen after the bus had begun to move and the driver did not shut its doors as Mr Carroll was trying to board. They added that they believed the bus driver did come to a halt after noticing that Mr Carroll had fallen against the bus. Dublin Bus further claimed there was contributory negligence on the part of Mr Carroll who it alleged failed to take any or any adequate or reasonable care for his safety.

Mr Carroll could not remember the specific details of the accident. The Court was informed that he has a long record  of alcoholism and was found to be in an intoxicated state when the accident occurred. Due to this, the Judge was informed, liability was an issue in the case.

As a result the compensation claim had been settled by allocating 75% liability to Dublin Bus and 25% to Mr Carroll.

Approving the settlement Mr Justice Kevin Cross said it was a reasonable one.


€80,000 for Boy (8) Left Scarred after Attack by Grandmother’s Dog

A High Court personal injury claim action has been settled for €80,000 in favour of a young boy who was attacked by his grandmother’s dog when he was playing with his cousins in her garden.

Judge Justice Garrett Simons was informed that the young boy in question, Eoin Kerrigan from Drumlish in Co. Longford, was just four years old when he was attacked and bitten by his Grandmother’s Japanese Akita guard dog.

In the attack that took place in the back garden of his grandmother’s Co Longford home, Eoin sustained lacerations to the top of his head and his scalp and forehead.

Eight-year-old Eoin – who lives at Millrace Park, Drumlish, Co Longford – too the personal injury compensation action through his mother Aine Kerrigan against his grandmother Anna Reilly as a result of the attack on October 2, 2016.

Mr Justice Garrett Simons was told that Eoin had been at his granny’s house in Kilmahon, Drumlish, Co Longford for Sunday lunch when he was playing in the garden with his three cousins. It was at this point in time that the dog attacked him occurred. The court was informed that the young boy suffered from severe shocked and trauma due to the accident which left him bleeding profusely.

In order to have his injuries treated the young boy was rushed to Mullingar Regional Hospital. Here medical staff discovered that he had sustained four lacerations, two deep ones to his scalp about six centimetres in length with another cut inflicted to the left side of his forehead and, finally, a cut just above the eyebrow on the left hand side of his head.

Due due his injuries the decision was taken to keep him in hospital where his lacerations were cleaned and sterilized. In order to properly treat the wounds he received 26 stitches under general anaesthetic. In an affidavit presented to the Judge, Eoin’s mother Aine revealed that her son’s stitches were taken out after seven days and it was discovered that his wounds had healed excellently. She informed the Judge that a consultation with a plastic surgeon in 2019 deemed that her son did not require additional treatment for the scars. However, she added that Eoin experiences flashbacks of the incident and was quite afraid for a time after the incident. He had experienced nightmares about the attack for some time.

Mr Justice Simons, in approving the settlement, informed the court that he had witnessed images of the scarring that indicated they had healed up quite well. He referred to the child injury compensation settlement as a very good one.


Publicians take FBD Insurance to Court over Refusal to Pay Business Interruption Compensation

The Commercial Court has heard arguments that the basis of the claims by Insurance company FBD that it is not obliged to paying publicans’ business interruption compensation due to the impact of the the Covid-19 pandemic not sufficient.

In what are being viewed as test cases, four publicans have taken legal actions against the insurance firm in relation to a refusal by FBD to indemnify them for their loss in earning. Three of the publicans are being heard in one action and another is being heard separately. The test cases are concentrating on how the insurance policy is being interpreted rather than the economic impact felt by either the claimants or the defendant.

Representing publicans for three dublin based publican, Michael Cush SC informed the court that the refusal issued by FBD was done so using the basis that the insurance policies purchased by them (the publicans) do not cover an outbreak of a disease that makes a national closure of businesses a legal requirement. The establishments that his is representing include Sinnott’s Bar; The Leopardstown Inn and Lemon & Duke.

Defending these claims, counsel for FBD said, on behalf of their clients, that the insurance policies simply make provision for closure orders that are issued on a local, as opposed to national basis. Therefore an event such as the pandemic would not be covered by their policy.

Counsel for the publicans argued that this interpretation is “clearly wrong” as FBD appears to be claiming that “the more widespread the peril”, then the higher the likelihood that cover does not have to be provided. Mr Cush said that this claims “makes no sense”. he informed presiding judge Justice Denis McDonald that approximately 1,100 Irish pubs and bars are being placed in a precarious position due to the refusal of FBD to provide business interruption compensation following the temporary closure of the premises that was enforced from in mid-March of this year.

The separate action is being taken by the owners of Sean’s Bar in Athlone, Co Westmeath. Through counsel Eoin McCullough SC the claimants are claiming that, as per their policies of insurance with FBD, they are permitted  to have their consequential losses covered by “an insurable risk” and that FBD is in breach of contract.

FBD are disputing the argument that there is a clause in the insurance policy that says that publians shall be indemnified if their businesses are closed as a result of an order issued by a local authority or the government authority following “outbreaks of contagious or infectious diseases on the premises or within 25 miles of same”.

Legal representation for FBD, Declan McGrath SC, countered this by claiming that e closures did not occur as a result of an outbreak of disease at the premises or areas where the pubs were located but due to the measures implemented at a national level that involved a nationwide closure of business

Mr Cush SC informed that court that it is “plainly wrong” that FBD are arguing whether the scope of the policy they sold included the shutdown that came about as a result of the pandemic and, if so, what extent of the losses are covered. he added that the claims of of FBD that this businesses losses due to a pandemic were not in line with the contents of documents FBD gave to its customers outlining what is provided for by the cover.

Justice McDonald was advised that the claims being made by the proprietors of Sean’s Bar, Athlone, were similar to those made in the UK where the British High Court ruled that insurance policy payouts were triggered due to specific “non-damage” clauses that covered disease and denial of access to business premises. This ruling in currently under appeal to the UK’s Supreme Court, counsel said.

A similar action was taken by a group of Parisian restaurant owners against AXA Insurance earlier this year, in June, which resulted in the insurance company paying for three month’s worth of business losses to the policy holders. You can read more about that case here. 


Footgolf Injury Sees Man Awarded €16,000 Personal Injury Compensation

A foot injury that was sustained in a accident with a concealed metal spike has resulted in a amatuer goalkeeper being awarded €16,000 personal injury compensation.

Stuart O’Dwyer of Glenhill Avenue, Finglas, Dublin 11, and Leinster Senior League goalkeeper for Glasnevin FC, suffered the injury to his big toe and sought compensation from Simon Rutledge of the White House pub restaurant, New Park, The Ward, Co Dublin – own of the foot golf course.

Judge John O’Connor was informed that the young man suffered the injury as he was attempting to kick the ball he was playing with out of a patch of rough. He was playing the round of footgolf with his father at the time.

Mr O’Dwyer informed the Judge that his right foot collided with a metal stake. The spike in question had been hidden by long grass just off the 10th green of the foot golf course. He said Mr O’Dwyer had been injured in the footgolf game on June 14, 2018.

He was taken to the accident and emergency department of James Connolly Memorial Hospital, Blanchardstown where he was tended to by consultant in emergency medicine Dr Mr JA McKeever.  Mr O’Dwyer was diagnosed a soft-tissue injury.

Additionally, Mr O’Dwyer, lost the nail on his big toe and he had been left with a mild deformity in the shape of a small lump on the toe after the nail had grown back. Mr O’Dwyer still suffers from some pain, discomfort and bruising in his toe which had been splinted with a buddy strap in the hospital where he had been given crutches.

He did not have to miss work due to his injury so the claim did not seek to account for any lost earnings. His injury had cleared up after about nine months.

The jude was informed that Mr O’Dwyer plays in goal for Glasnevin FC at Leinster Senior League level.

Judge O’Connor said he felt compensation would fall in at the lower end of the scale of what could be awarded at the Circuit Court. Mr O’Dwyer was awarded €16,000 damages and Circuit Court legal expenses


Shop Pastry Compensation Settlement for Leitrim Woman

A personal injury settlement agreement has been reached, compensating Olive Harte Lynch for the injuries she sustained after falling on a discarded muffin in a Londis shop resulting in her allegedly becoming an invalid.

In a hearing earlier this month Ms Harte Lynch informed the High Court that she was seeking compensation for injuries that she suffered after she slipped and fell on a muffin on the floor of McGoldrick’s Londis, Main Street, Dromahair, Co Leitrim on August 23, 2012.

Olivia Harte Lynch, with an address at 46 Skreeney Manorhamiliton Co Leitrim,  filed the shop injury compensation action against shop proprietors JNF McGoldrick Ltd.

Ms Harte Lynch informed that court through her legal representatives that she “has been rendered an invalid” due to the injuries she suffered in the  accident eight that tool place on august 23, 2012. In the incident in question she claims that her legs gave way from under her and she landed on her back on the floor of a Londis shop. Representing her legally, Jonathan Kilfeather SC informed Justice Bernard Barton that his client was alleging that he muffin was not removed from the the floor, leaving it in a position of danger for customers and staff. Additionally it is  the management of the shop did not see to it that the item was cleared away as soon as it was discovered and no cordon was put in place to ensure the safety of customers and staff.

Londis denied all of these allegations and, through their legal counsel Peter Bland SC, counter claimed the there was an element of contributory negligence on behalf of Ms Harte Lynch. There was no argument with the allegation that the incident had taken place in the shop in question and there was no allegation either that the incident had been ‘staged’. He did inform the judge that there was some difference in the medical opinions provided by both sides in the hearing, mainly in relation to the extent of the injuries that Ms Harte Lynch sustained.

The case was adjourned before both sides returned to inform Justice Bernard Barton that case could be dismissed as a settlement agreement had been agreed that both parties were amenable to.


Cork City Fall Compensation of €11,000 Awarded to Woman

A woman with a history of unfortunate accidents involving bad falls has been awarded €11,000 in relation to the injuries sustained in a fall at the junction of Lagan Grove and Shannon Lawn in Mayfield on November 13, 2015.

The accident happened at 10.30am and result in injuries to the knee and shoulder of the plaintiff, Ms Elizabeth Butler.

During proceedings Barrister James Duggan, acting on behalf of Cork City Council, questioned Ms Butler in relation to compensation claims made by her, and other members of her family, in the past. He suggested to to Ms Butler that many of these claims were of a similar nature.

60-year-old Ms Butler – with an address at Gweedore Avenue, Mayfield, Cork – responded from the witness box at Cork Circuit Court by asking Mr Duggan: “Did you ever fall, did you?”

Mr Duggan answered saying: “I have stumbled and fallen on occasions and I got up and I said to myself, wasn’t I the eejit not to be looking where I was going.”

Upon further questioning Ms Butler told the Court that said she had fallen and injured herself as the “The city is in an awful state” and that the accident was not her fault.

Mr Duggan informed  Judge James O’Donoghue said that, including this claim, the plaintiff had brought a total of five compensation claims over the years and made special reference to one claim 30 years ago. Ms Butler had not made this court known to the court. However, she stated that this was as she had no recollection of it.

In delivering his judgement Justice O’Donoghue was critical of the how Ms Butler behaved during proceedings. He said: “Ms Butler does not help herself by her attitude.” At this point Ms Butler move to interject from the body of the court during the judgement and the Judge advised her to “be careful how you answer me.”

The Judge informed Ms Butler that Mr Duggan had to, in his role as barrister, question her in relation to the compensation  filed herself and other members of her families previously as there has been many recorded incidents where “clusters of families are bringing claims.”

He went to say: “I do believe you had an accident but you are not helping yourself. Your attitude to Mr Duggan about your family propensity to bring claims left a bit to be desired.”

Justice O’Donoghue awarded Ms Butler €11,000 in street fall compensation for her injuries sustained in the fall.

Mr Duggan queried if there had been any any finding of contributory negligence by the plaintiff in relation to the claimant maintaining an adequate lookout before the accident. The Judge said that he had not due to the condition of the ground where the accident occurred. He said that “the corporation have left themselves open to be sued.”


Roundup Compensation Claims to Be Settled as Bayer Agrees to Pay $10.9bn

In the US German drugs and pesticides maker Bayer has agreed to pay as much as $10.9bn to settle thousands of legal actions that were taken as, it was claimed, the use of the weedkiller Roundup was leading to users developing cancer.

Of that settlement figure up to $5 billion will be paid out during 2020, with a further $5 billion to be paid out during 2021. This will be financed largely from the company’s existing free cash flow and the proceeds of the sale of its Animal Health business in 2019. Bayer also revealed that three cases that have already gone to trial will not be covered by the settlement.

This follows more than a year of talks and will result in Bayer addressing approximately 75% of the current Roundup-related compensation claims. Bayer had originally inherited the legal actions when it bought out Monsanto in 2018. This settlement includes approximately 125,000 filed and unfiled claims in total.

Former Roundup users claim that glyphosate is responsible for their non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other cancers. However, Bayer denies that glyphosate is a carcinogen and this contention is supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. As recently as this week a federal judge in California ruled that companies cannot be forced to place warning labels on glyphosate-based products.

The settled cases over the use of Roundup and other glyphosate-based weed killers account for about 95% of those currently set for trial. In relation to the compensation settlement Bayer chief executive Werner Baumann said: “The Roundup settlement is the right action at the right time for Bayer to bring a long period of uncertainty to an end.”

In addition to this it was revealed that the group will be making an overall payment of  around $8.8-$9.6 billion to settle the current Roundup litigation. This figure includes $1.25 billion to support another class agreement in relation to possible future litigation and another allowance that will take into account unresolved claims.

Bayer, whose management in April regained shareholder support for its handling of the litigation, has refuted allegations that Roundup or its active ingredient glyphosate can lead to cancer, saying that many years of independent studies have indicated the product is safe for human use. The group said it expects to maintain its investment grade credit ratings and intends to keep its dividend policy.

Settlement mediator Ken Feinberg stated that, even though nearly 25,000 claims remained unsettled, there will be additional trials as cases settle in coming months. He said: “Bayer wisely decided to settle the litigation rather than roll the dice in American court.”

Monsanto introduced Roundup to the market during the 1970s. Bayer has committed to continue selling the weed killer and will not be voluntarily placing a cancer warning label on the product.


Axa Commit to Paying Restaurant Compensation Following French Court Ruling

A Paris court ruling last month resulted in insurance company Axa making the decision that it would paying out most of the business interruption compensation claims from a number restaurant proprietors.

The court ruling stated that Axa should pay a restaurant owner two months’ worth of revenue losses that were incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The case has been seen a a potential precedent for coronavirus-related disputes globally.

Axa informed the Court during the hearing that the policies it provided did not incorporate insurance cover for business disruption due to a health crisis. Axa claimed that the policies that it provided did not cover loss of earning due to the emergency lockdown. The proprietor of four well known Parisian restaurants, Stephane Manigold, brought the case against the insurance giant. He claims that he has been contacted by individuals from the United Kingdom South Africa, Spain and the US asking for specific details of their case. He heralded the decision in the case as having ‘global resonance’.

Due to the Paris Commercial Court, Axa France must make an initial payment of €45,000 to Mr Manigold while a court-appointed expert assesses the extent of his earnings. Axa chief executive Thomas Buberl reacted to the ruling saying that, despite the company’s appeal of the Paris ruling, they are hoping to come up with an agreeable solution and plan to meet the bulk of  compensation claims from restaurant owners. He said that the insurance contracts some of the restaurants had with Axa may have some ambiguity in them.

He commented: “These contracts represent less than 10% out of total contracts with restaurant owners and I am confident that we will find a solution. We want to compensate a substantial part of these contracts, we want to do it quickly.”

AXA also revealed that it will be providing an extra €500m in business aid for small firms, along with their previously shared plans to invest €1.7 billion in domestic French firms. Buberl said: “The idea is clearly to reinforce those companies which are weakened by this crisis”.

Some other French insurance companies have also committed to paying out business interruption loss claims filed by some of their policy holders, depending on the terms of their specific contracts. Generali France, for instance, has shared a public statement that it will be make payments to 600 hospitality firms.

There have been no indication, as of yet, that Irish restaurants submitting legal actions linked to the the COVID-19 pandemic.


Scouting Ireland Fear Legal Compensation Claims due to Child Abuse as early as 2018

It has been reported that the Scouting Ireland organisation, which was rocked last week with the publication of a damning report that revealed a systematic failure to prevent child abuse and protect its members, was informed in 2018 that there was a strong possibility that the group would face financial ruin due to related compensation claims.

Former board chair of Scouting Ireland, Aisling Kelly, was speaking to a room of senior volunteers from the group on December 10th, 2018, when she informed them that there was a chance that legal actions submitted against the organisation linked to “extensive, prolonged, and at times organised child sexual abuse”. She went on to say that such legal actions could “sink the organisation” if large numbers of abuse victims sought compensation from Scouting Ireland.

Her fears were based on the massive compensation settlements, in other jurisdictions, in relation to child abuse and scouting organisations. As recently as February 2020, the Boys Scouts of America declared bankruptcy following a number of legal actions related to law for alleged child abuse. It was also reported in The Irish Times Scouting Ireland recently agreed a compensation settlement of more than €100,000 for a man who alleged he was sexually abused when he was a member of the CBSI as a young boy. Scouting Ireland has set aside a fund of €2.5 million to cover the costs of legal claims and cases from survivors.

This comes following the publication of a report last week in which child protection expert Ian Elliott revealed the outcomes and recommendations following the review he was commissioned to complete by Scouting Ireland. It unveiled the extent of the historic abuse at the scouting groups and described how the act failed to act in the interests of the young members.

Along with the release of the report, Scouting Ireland issued a public apology to the victims. Scouting Ireland ChairAdrian Tennant claimed that since learning of the abuse scandal Scouting Ireland had attempted to “own” responsibility for facing up to the past failings.

The report described the culture of the scouting groups in Ireland showed widespread “cronyism” and a lack of adequate governance. This, it claimed, led to cases of child abuse not being reported to the proper authorities. Scouting Ireland was labelled a “seriously dysfunctional organisation”, with “sex offenders dominating the leadership for decades”. The report said that there was a “systematic failure” of the organisations to maintain appropriate records of reports of alleged child abuse allegations.

It has been reported that the Government is now investigating if a a statutory inquiry into the past abuse needs to be conducted.


Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Compensation Award of €87,000 for Woman Involved in Car Crash

A compensation award of €87,000 has been approved for a woman who developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after she witnessed the partly decapitated body of a motorist involved in a bus crash.

Lisa Sheehan developed moderately severe PTSD and had to leave her hairdressing job two years after the accident occurred as she felt unable to continue in the position. Mr Justice David Keane awarded her €87,238 compensation in relation to the incident. The 36-year-old married mother of two from Banteer in north Cork, took the legal action against Bus Éireann and FBD insurance which provided cover for the deceased motorist.

She told the judge that experiences nightmares and flashbacks, her condition placed great strain on her relationships and she continues to have counselling and medication. She alleged that this suffering was caused due to the negligent operation or control of both the bus and the car. Bus Éireann denied negligence while FBD admitted the accident was caused by the negligence of the deceased car driver. However, both defendants claimed that Ms Sheehan’s psychiatric injuries did not give rise to any cause of action recognised by the law and they did not owe her a duty of care.

When the accident occurred on January 28, 2017, Ms Sheehan was driving home from work in Cork city following work. When she was approaching Mallow her car struck some debris and she came to a stop. It was at this time that she discovered the damaged bus and the severely damaged car which had hit it close by. When she went over to the the car she discovered “a badly disfigured and partly decapitated body”.

She called the emergency services and began looking in searching the surrounding area for others who might have been involved in the accident but she found no one. She searched the other areas close by and found the bus driver whose face was covered in blood.

In relation to the legal arguments that the defendants were making, the judge said the law on primary/secondary victims is far from settled in this jurisdiction. He added that, while in his view nothing turned on that division in this case, he was satisfied Ms Sheehan was a primary victim as her car had been struck by debris from the crash.


Family Take Legal Action in Relation Kerry Holiday Tragedy

A potential €700,000 holiday fatal accident injury compensation action has been submitted by the family of a woman who died when her pony and trap smashed onto rocks at the Gap of Dunloe.

The personal injury compensation action is being taken against Kerry County Council in relation to the death, in the accident, of Rosalyn Joy Few and partner, Normand Larose, at a location about two miles from Kate Kearney’s Cottage on Apr 9, 2018.

Legal Counsel for for Ms Few’s daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren first submitted a claim against the council with the Personal Injuries Assessment Board in August 2019. However, as this mandatory PIAB process did not produce a satisfactory result the matter will now go to full trial.

The case is due to be heard once normal service resumes after the Covid-19 crisis, which has led to restricted court services. A Kerry County Council spokesperson said: “It is the policy of Kerry County Council not to comment on existing or ongoing legal proceedings.”

Solicitor Adrian Hegarty, on behalf of Ms Few’s family said that his team are planning to issue proceedings as soon as possible due the trauma suffered by the family members as a result of seeing their “mother/grandmother/mother-in-law” killed on the side of a road. The deceased couple was on a family holiday with Ms Few’s daughter, Tonya Tier, son-in-law Bill Walthers and grandchildren Caitlin (15) and Gavin (8) at the time that the accident occurred.

Mr Hegarty said: “I will be issuing proceedings as soon as the courts re-open fully. There are two aspects of the claims — nervous shock and fatal injuries, loss of dependency. There is a claim being brought by the estate for Joy Few, and a claim in respect of the estate of Norman Larose.”

Ms Few (64), of Phoenix, Arizona, and Mr Larose (62) were thrown off the narrow road with the pony and they fell, with the cart, 20 feet down the ravine and crashed into rocks.

Ms Tier and her husband arrived at the scene shortly afterward as they were traveling in another trap behind while the couple’s children were traveling in a trap of their own. The entire family was present as emergency workers rescuers, frantically tried to lift the cart off the stricken couple.

The inquest heard that when pony men, aided by emergency worker Mr Walthers, got to the couple, Ms Few was already dead and Mr Larose was ‘breathing heavily’ at the time. His heart was no longer beating when the card was removed and paramedics administered CPR for about 40 minutes in an attempt to revive him.

Garda collision expert, Sergeant Jim O’Brien, informed the inquest into the accident that he was of the opinion that pony carts, like the one in the accident, should have brakes installed.

He said that: “A barrier would be more effective (than a sign). And brakes on pony traps would be effective.”

The amount of fatal accident compensation that could be paid out is calculated in two parts. FIrstly there is a statutory compensation amount, which is set at approximately €35,000. There is also additional compensation calculated on the basis of “loss of dependency”.

Typically €40,000 to €50,000 for each claimant is awarded in relation to nervous shock claim. However this could go up as high as €100,000. Finally there will be legal expenses on each side to be taken into account and this could be as high as €200,000.


More Time Needed as Creche Assault Case is Adjourned Until June

Additional time to continue deliberations on a number of outstanding charges in a creche assault case has been requested by the jury in a case where a childcare worker is accused of sexually assaulting four girls in a Leinster crèche.

Last Monday the jury in the case was unable to come to a number of verdicts, despite acquitting the man on three other charges relating to the first girl, and acquitted of both charges in relation to the fourth girl. The jury then informed Judge Elma Sheahan that it would like more time to deliberate on the remaining charges against the 29-year-old man, who cannot be named to safeguard the identity of the children.

The man had entering a plea of not guilty in relation to 23 counts of sexually assaulting the girls at the crèche on dates ranging to August 2014 and December 2016, when they were aged between five and eight years old. The prosecution claimed that accused man in question  had sexually assaulted the girls, who were all part of a “small circle of friends”.

However, legal counsel for the accused man say that the case was “marked by its failure to listen to the children” and that the man had been left “utterly devastated” by the false allegations made against him.

Yesterday at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court yesterday the trial told Judge Sheahan that it was unable to reach verdict in relation to the remaining 18 counts of sexual assault after deliberating for 21 hours and 41 minutes.

Judge Sheahan then opted to adjourn the trial until June 16 and thanked the jury for their service while remanding the man on continuing bail.


School Camp Compensation of €55,000 Awarded to Boy who Cut Knee on Tree Stump

At the High Court a child injury compensation action has been settled for €55,000 for a boy who cut his knee when he fell on a tree stump at a mid-term camp.

The accident in question occurred what Diarmuid O’Connor was just 10 years of age. He was attending the mid-term camp during the break from school when he was exploring an area of bushes. The court was told that it was during this exploration that the accident happened.

The claim was awarded against the operators of the camp, Artzone Ltd. They were responsible for the running of the art camps during February 19, 2016. The camp was being conducted at Taney Parish Hall, Dundrum, Dublin.

Judge Justice Garrett Simons was informed that Diarmuid had wandered off during break during break time. He was accompanied by some friends, as he did so, and they decided to go into a part of the camp that was quite bushy. It was here that he fell. when the alarm was raised employees of the came cam eot the scene. They removed the accompanying boys away from the scene of the accident and called for a ambulance to attend the scene.

As he was giving his approval for the child injury compensation settlement, Mr Justice Garrett Simons said the young boy has been left with a scar. In addition to this, he is now apprehensive about wearing shorts, like most boys his age when the weather is warmer during the summer months.

Diarmuid took the personal injury compensation claims via his mother Jacinta O’Connor. Diarmuid is now 15 years of age and live at an address in Ashton Avenue, Knocklyon, Dublin,

Justice Simons referred to the agreed settlement as a satisfactory one and and made reference to the fact that a trial could have been problematic when the issues of supervision and how the young boy was permitted to walk off, unsupervised, with friend were considered.


Creche Sexual Assault Trial for 29-Year-Old Man Begins

A childcare employee accused of sexually assaulting four girls in a creche was concerned about children sitting on his knee as he felt it made him “vulnerable to complaints”, his trial has heard. It is alleged that the man, on dates between February 2015 and December 2016, assault the group of girls 23 times. The individual in question had entered a plea of not guilty in relation to the accusations that have been registered by the girls who were aged between five and eight-years-old at the time of the assault.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court was informed on Monday that a performance review carried out by the creche in September 2014 said the man had an “excellent relationship with the children. Children of all ages hang on to your every word and in some cases hang on to you physically.

The man is standing trial in relation to ten counts of sexual assault in relation to the first girl, eight in relation to the second girl, three in relation to the third and two in relation to the fourth. The offences are all alleged to have occurred in different places at the crèche and on a bus owned by the crèche .

The creche owner agreed with legal representative for the defence. Seán Guerin SC that this was a positive comment in relation to the man’s relationship with the children. She said: “It showed they wanted to be in his company and they enjoyed his company. They had a good relationship with him.”

In order to maintain the anonymity of the children involved, the man’s identity and the name of crèche cannot be revealed by the media. Prosecuting Counsel Orla Crowe said the man was first given a tole in in the kitchen of the crèche in 2013. However, not long after this he started to work with after-school children. In December 2016 was was relieved of this position as he had not attained the required level of childcare qualification to hold this position. The man’s job included taking children to school in the early mornings and bring them back to the creche after school ended. As an extra duty he supervised the older after-school children. Ms Crowe said an allegation of sexual misconduct against the man was first submitted on 12 December 2016 when one of the girls informed another child who, in turn, advised one of the other creché workers. The child’s parents were made aware of the situation and they contacted the gardaí. The court was informed that these assaults typically took place in an upstairs toilet in the creche. Allegedly, the man repeatedly took the child out of her designated room, brought her down a corridor that had a CCTV camera, took her into the bathroom and sexually assaulted her in an area external to the cubicles. The jury was told this bathroom area is also captured by a CCTV camera, except for an area just inside the door. This door features a glass panel, meaning the man would have been “easily visible” to anyone passing by. The court was told that the d that the children would be available for cross-examination by the defence team over a video link, and videos of previously conduct Garda interviews will be shown to the court during the trial. The children’s parents and the specialist garda interviewers will also be available. The court was advised by the créche owner that the man had no relevant qualification in child care when he started work but had begun his required training. This was standard company policy and the man had completed a one-day child safeguarding workshop. In relation to the man’s suitability for the position the proprietor said that she was of the opinion that it would be good to have a male role model in the crèche. The owner went on to say that legislation had changed and anyone working in a crèche after 31 December 2016 had to have a FETAC level 5 qualification. Due to this fact the man was knowledgeable of the fact that he would not be able to continue his position because he did not have this qualification. On 12 December 2016 the creche owner in the management office when a staff member reported to her that one of the after school students had advised another child that she had been made to kiss the man in the ‘privates’. She told the court that she was no confident on which course of action to follow after hearing this in case it was just a case of some of the children being fanciful. She contacted the parents of the children involved and the next day a father of one of the girls contacted the gardaí in relation to the incident. Due to this the man was told that he was be suspended from his role as there was a serious allegation submitted against him. The trial continues.

Compensation Claims Submitted in Relation to 1960s Catholic Church Adoptions in Belfast

At the High Court in Belfast the first of what is predicted to be a number of compensation claims in relation to illegal adoptions arranged by the Catholic Church of children born in the Republic of Ireland, has been submitted.  

At present there are 148 believed to have been impacted in adoption incidents like this, a number has grown from 126 when it was first announced by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar 20 months in May 2018. At the time the Taoiseach told the Dáil that the disclosures of the adoptions were just “another chapter from the very dark history of our country” which had “robbed children – our fellow citizens – of their identity”

The plaintiff in this particular case is well known Belfast actor Patrick FitzSymons. Now 57, FitzSymons is an actor who played the character Reginald Lannister in Game of Thrones and also produced the biographical TV movie of Irish comedian Dave Allen, Dave Allen at Peace. He was born to an unmarried couple in Co Clare during the 1960s. His parents, trying to avoid the social stigma of having a child out of wedlock permitted the Catholic church agency St Patrick’s Guild to have him adopted to a married couple in Co Antrim. 

Mr FitzSymons said that his adoptive parents, who have both passed away had “loved me and provided for me as best they could’ and that his “natural parents, my birth mother in particular, had endured the institutional shaming and disapproval of Ireland at that time to do what she thought to be the right thing”.

During summer 2018, Mr FitzSymons was told by Tusla his births was mistakenly registered between 1946 and 1969 by the Dublin-based St Patrick’s Guild. He has previously talked about the emotional impact both sets of parents endured due to the incident and his initial reluctance to initiate the case.

He said: “When I was contacted by Tusla last summer and told that I was one of the 126 it was clear to me, given the turmoil I and my family had endured over the past two decades, that I should stand up and be counted. But still I agonised about the possible consequences.

“My adoptive parents – both now dead – had loved me and provided for me as best they could. Would I want anything that might reflect badly on them? Of course not. My natural parents – my birth mother in particular – had endured the institutional shaming and disapproval of Ireland at that time to do what she thought to be the right thing.”

He also spoke about how he discovered that he was adopted saying “My adopted mother and I were forever falling out, partly about religion. She possibly felt she had not properly fulfilled her promise to bring me up as a Catholic – because that had been the only stipulation. Rather cryptically, in a letter, I had written something along the lines ‘if you want to talk to kids you should talk to people who have had kids of their own’. I can’t remember what the context of that was. But one evening I was just having a regular visit with her and she asked if I had ever had the intuition that I was adopted. I just said ‘no’ and she said: ‘There’s something I need to tell you’. Well, the bottom fell out of my world. She said it was only fair that I did know. Perhaps she had been planning to tell me anyway.”

The legal firm representing Mr FitzSymon’s case, Coleman Legal Partners, are managing 25 similar cases, at present, and are expecting that number to grow even more. Mr FitzSymons solicitor, Norman Spicer of Coleman Legal Partners. said that the firm is handling a number of cases like this but admitted that there are no plans to apply for a “class action” order because of the complexity of the individual cases.

He said: “There is no provision for the North American-style of ‘class action’ under Irish law. However, a court has discretion to grant an order which may mirror to some extent the other system for a specific case or set of cases. We do not envisage making such an application. These are complex cases involving many different defendants, as a result it is difficult to say how long these cases will take as it depends on all of the parties involved and how quickly responses, replies and motions, and so on, can be turned around. Three years (the estimated time the case will take to process) would not be an unreasonable time frame but this is dependent upon many factors and is really only a ‘ballpark’ estimate.”







Cinema Accident Compensation of €40,000 for Schoolgirl

At the Circuit Civil Court Tori McDermott Ellis, an eight-year-old schoolgirl from Loughlinstown, has been awarded €40,000 cinema accident compensation in relation to a fall at a Dún Laoghaire cinema in which she dislocated her knee.

Ms McDermott Ellis was represented in court by Barrister Siobhán Gaffney. Gaffney informed the Circuit Civil Court that Tori  had tripped and fell on an uneven floor surface in the EMC Cinema at the Bloomfield Shopping Centre, Dún Laoghaire. The accident, she informed the judge, had taken place on October 2, 2016.

Appearing in conjunction with Murphys Solicitors, Ms Gaffney told presiding Judge Frances Comerford that Tori, who is now 12 years old, had struck her left knee up against a cup holder that was attached to a cinema seat. After this collision the young girl found that she was unable to get up onto her feet afterwards.

The court was advised that the young girl was rushed by ambulance to Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin. Here was an X-ray was carried out that revealed her left kneecap had been dislocated. Surgeons were able to put her kneecap back into the correct position when the girl was sedated.

In order for the injury to be healed, Ms Gaffney told Judge Francis Comerford that Tori’s left leg had been placed in a cast for a number of weeks. Due to this the young girl was absent from school for a period of that time. In addition to having the cast put in place, Tori also undertook a course of physiotherapy treatments as part of her rehabilitation. Tori, through her mother Mellissa Ellis, had sued Irish Multiplex Cinemas Limited, Dún Laoghaire,

The Judge was informed that Tori, who has an address at Parc Na Silla Lane, Loughlinstown, Co Dublin, had recovered well. Ms Gaffney also remarked to the court that the Injuries Board Book of Quantum places a value of such an injury somewhere between €28,000 and €56,000. She went on to say that, while liability had not been formally admitted in the case, the €40,000 personal injury compensation settlement, had been agreed between all parties before Wednesday’s court application.

The judge approved the settlement together with legal costs involved in the case.


Girl (16) settles for €70,000 after fall on ‘potholed’ lane near home

At the High Court today, a young girl settled her personal injury compensation action for €70,000 in relation to an accident when she chipped her teeth and sustained cuts to her face when, she claims, she allegedly fell on a pothole and “patched” laneway near her home.

The girl in question, Kristen Liddy, took the legal the legal action against Longford County Council, due to their mandate to maintain the condition of the roadway, as a result of the accident that occurred close to her home in Edgeworthstown, Co. Longford on May 10,2010.

Kristen, who was aged just seven when the accident occured, was crossing a laneway between her home at Devine Crescent and the fire station in Edgeworthstown at the time. Ms Liddy, claimed that she tripped and fell forward onto her face, chipping her front teeth and suffering cuts to her right check, right upper eyebrow and left knee.In order to deal with the injuries she later had the chipped teeth capped. However, despite the medical treatment that she was given she has been left with some minor scarring.

The girl took the personal injury compensation action via her father Frank, Ms Liddy, now aged 16, of Devine Crescent, Edgeworthstown. They sued Longford County Council due to the accident in which she sustained the injuries. Medical reports submitted to the the High Court, completed by those who inspected Ms Liddy’s facial injuries, stated that the scars to her right cheek and forehead had healed acceptably.

At the High Court today, Ms Liddy’s legal representatives informed Mr Justice Garrett Simons that he could give his approval to the €70,000 personal injury compensation settlement offer by the Council to settle the legal action.

The judge commented that the €70,000 pothole accident compensation included €64,112 in general damages with the remainder for special damages and was very close to the full value of the case.



High Court Action Settled for €135,000 in Favour of Dead Woman’s Family

The family of a woman who was killed in a hit-and-run accident have settled their legal action for €135,000 with the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) at the High Court.

The court heard today the driver of the car did not stop, absconded and remains untraced since mother of one Caroline Watkins (40) was fatally struck by a car while crossing the road at the Goldenbridge Luas stop on Davitt Road, Drimnagh, Dublin on May 30, 2014.

The legal action claimed that the untraced driver was driving in a dangerous and careless manner and failed to stop, slow down or swerve to reduce the impact of the collision. The claims were denied.

Michael O’ Scanaill SC, with Bonnie Hickey BL represented the Watkins family in court. He told the court that Caroline’s daughter Ella Watkins (16) of Esker Glebe, Lucan, Co Dublin, was only ten years old when her mother died, and was taking the compensation action via her grandmother Ethel Watkins.

The High Court was informed that Caroline’s family were left traumatised due to failure of the driver to remain at the scene and, to this date, remains untraced – CCTV footage of the scene shows Ms Watkins got across half of the carriageway and was moving faster than a walking pace. However, the  pedestrian light was not in her favour and the person accompanying her had not attempted to cross the road. The legal representatives also said that it was of the opinion that the car which struck Ms Watkins was travelling at 55 km /h in a 50 km/h zone.

Previously an inquest into the death of Ms Watkins was told that she had been on her way home to Ballyfermot from a pub. She was with her partner, at about 10.30pm when they decided to walk to Davitt Road to get a taxi. At the Goldenbridge Luas stop, they got to the edge of a pedestrian crossing and waited. However then Ms Watkins walked out onto the road and was struck by the bumper of the car. She then hit the bonnet and windscreen and was thrown forward, landing about thirty feet away on the ground. A postmortem found Ms Watkins died of multiple injuries caused by the impact.

Mr O Scanaill told the High Court that Ella now lives with her aunt and is “an incredible well-rounded individual.”

Approving the €150,000 pedestrian accident compensation settlement in the High Court, Mr Justice Kevin Cross said he could understand the anger, upset and annoyance of the Watkins family where the driver fled the scene and “did not face the music.”

He added that the driver “showed no courage” and remarked that, from watching the CCTV footage, Ms Watkins seemed to be “in a bit of a hurry” and had to cross the road through traffic coming both ways. The red light was against her and she took a chance, the judge commented.

Due to this he awarded €135,000 to Ella, which represents 40pc of the full value of the compensation claim.


Facebook Moderator Claim Taken Against Social Media Giant

A former contractor has submitted a Facebook moderator claim against the social media platform’s Irish subsidiary in relation to psychological injuries he claims he sustained as a result of the work he was expected to carry out. He says that this work involved viewing ‘extremely disturbing, graphic and violent content’.

Earlier today Chris Gray submitted his legal action to the High Court against the Irish subsidiary of Facebook and CPL solutions, the latter being the company that contracted him to complete the moderation work.

As part of his legal action Mr Gray claims that he suffered psychological injuries as a direct result of the “very disturbing” photographs and videos, including executions, lethal beatings, stonings, whippings, the abuse of children, animal torture and extreme sexual content” that he had to view during his time moderating Facebook content. Facebook uses an extensive network of content moderators around the world. This network of moderators, thought to include 15,000 moderators, is expected to filter through all content published on the platform in order to remove inappropriate graphic content – with a 98% accuracy rating.

53-year-old Mr Gray said that he became aware of a “slow creep” whereby his “personal and political views were becoming increasingly influenced by the insidious content he was required to view.” He added that he experienced difficulty sleeping due to nightmares about the content that he viewed and would often wake during the night “with a fright, concerned not by the content, but by whether or not he had marked it correctly during his shift”.

He claimed that there was a lack of support and training to allow him deal with “what seemed like a relentless flow of extreme and graphic material”. He said that, due to this, his mood was greatly impacted and he could not talk about work-related issues with his superiors in a calm and professional manner.

Mr Gray is being represented Coleman Legal Partners, Dublin, and it is likely that this will be the first of a number of Facebook moderator claims submitted by individuals who allege that they are are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Foxglove, a UK-based not-for-profit group is lending its backing to the legal action and are lobbying to have Facebook address the conditions that the works must operate in.



Home Damage Compensation of Woman awarded €54,000 Due to Oil Leak Incident

At the High Court €54,000 has been awarded to a woman in relation to heating oil which spilled from her neighbour’s tank – causing sufficient damage to result in her having to find temporary accomodation for two years.

Ms Davies took the home accident damage compensation against her neighbour Margaret O’Leary. Ms O’Leary was living in a house on a elevated area to the back of Ms Davies’ home. She (Ms O’Leary) denied she was liable for damages as there had been a settlement for the costs of repairing her home and payments for different accommodation for Ms Davies and her family. She was represented in court by her insurer.

Mr Justice Meenan rejected claims by Ms Davies that Ms O’Leary had deliberately lied to to her when Ms Davies approached her about the spill. He awarded her €54, 204, made up of €12,500 general damages and €41, 704 special damages,

In his ruling Justice Meenan said while Ms O’Leary had not been called to give evidence he was happy that she had acted responsibly when she learned the leak was coming from her tank. The action she took to address this included getting the oil removed promptly and hiring environmental experts to review the damage inflicted.

Ms Davies informed the court the leak took place early one morning after they had been experiencing a considerable amount of rain in  January 2013. She said that she went to Ms O’Leary’s  and spoke her her over the intercom as she (Ms O’Leary) did not open her gate and said she did not have an oil leak but would get it checked as soon as possible. Following this Ms Davies said she witnessed men apparently emptying the tank.

Ms O’Leary, when contacted by Ms Davies, advised her that she was having the oil removed as a precautionary measure and maintained that there was no oil leak. Within five minutes of this conversation taking place Ms Davies received a call Ms O’Leary’s son Jarlath who also assured her “there was no oil leaking and the emptying of the tank was solely precautionary.”

The judge was informed that for the repair work the oil damage required the ground floor to be cut up “like a piece of fudge” so the substructure would not be damaged.

Mr Justice  Meenan dismissed Ms Davies’ claim for aggravated damages as, he found, there was no basis for having included them in the statement of claim.



Girl Awarded €15,000 in following Car Accident in Dublin

€15,000 car accident compensation has been awarded to model and personal trainer Zoe Whelan in relation to a shoulder injury she sustained when a Cherrypicker van backed into her Audi car close to the famous Five Lamps in Dublin.

Ms Whelan was praised by Judge Jacqueline Linnane in the Circuit Civil Court today for having made an early disclosure to the defendant that she had previously settled two road traffic accident compensation claims for €12,500 each.

Judge Linnane said said: “All medical reports were fully furnished in relation to Ms Whelan’s previous accidents before this case came to court. There is no question of anything having been concealed from the defence and I want to make that very clear.”

Counsel for Ms Whelan, barrister John Nolan, was told by Judge Linnane that the court had found her evidence of the December 2017 accident far more compelling than that provided by the two witnesses appearing on behalf of Electsol Services Limited. The testimony provided by these witnesses claimed she (MS Whelan) had driven at speed into the back of its Cherrypicker van which was being used in the repair of street lamps in Dunne Street, Dublin.

Ms Whelan (25), who lives in Newbury Park, Clonshaugh, Dublin, informed the court she had come to a halt behind the Cherrypicker in question. The Cherrypicker had been partly blocking the street and was surprised when she saw its reversing lights come on and move backwards towards her. She went on to say that there was nothing else she could do when she saw the reversing lights come on.

Ms Whelan said: “I was screaming and pumping the horn but it kept coming and crashed into the front of my car. My right arm was fully extended and firmly on the steering wheel as I pumped the horn with my left hand.  When it struck my car my arm was pushed back, injuring my right shoulder.”

In what Judge Linnane described as a vigorous cross-examination by defence counsel, Ms Whelan told the court she did not tell lies, denying defence allegations that it was her who had driven into the back of the Cherrypicker.

Tony Doyle, the driver of the Cherrypicker told Mr Nolan the reversing lights would have come on when he had put the vehicle into reverse but he had not moved it as he did not have an interior rear mirror and had been awaiting hand signals from Mr Leavy. When there had been no signals he had got out and saw there had been an impact.

Judge Linnane said Ms Whelan had told the court her shoulders had been injured in both of the two previous accidents, previously mentioned, and the court accepted the December 2017 incident would not have helped the earlier injuries she sustained.

Ms Whelan had taken the legal action against Electsol Services Limited, of Rathbrack, Killucan, Co Westmeath, and Dublin City Council for which it had been completing sub-contract work on street lights in the Five Lamps area.


€30,000 Creché Abuse Compensation Award for Boy Featured on RTÉ Documentary

At the High Court a €30,000 creche abuse compensation award has been been settled in favour of an eight-year-old boy who attended a creche mentioned in an RTE exposé on the treatment of pre-school children when he was just a baby.

Lucas Doyle was just two years old what footage of him allegedly being strapped into a chair for two hours at the Giraffe creche, Belarmine, Stepaside, Co Dublin. as shown on the RTÉ programme ‘A Breach of Trust’.

The Belarmine Giraffe creche was one of three premises selected by the RTE PrimeTime Investigates programme to be the subject of an undercover investigation in to the standard of care provided by pre school services within the State in 2013. The High Court was told that, ten days before the RTE documentary was broadcast, the producer and cameraman of the programme came to the boy’s home with footage due to be broadcast. He showed the young boy’s parents the footage from the Belarmine creche which allegedly showed Lucas in a room where children. Along with him being tied into the chair the children are allegedly being shouted at.

Lucas attended the creche in Belarmine between August 2012 and May 2013, starting when he was 11-and-a-half months’ old until he was a year and eight months old. He (Lucas), through his mother Aisling Emmet, took the creche abuse compensation action against Giraffe Childcare Unlimited Company and its managing director Simon Dowling.

In the legal action they claimed that the footage showed that Lucas being allegedly restrained in a chair for two hours on one day. Giraffe Childcare, through the court, informed the boy’s parents that new safeguards had been put in place after the incident. However his parents had sourced alternative childcare and Lucas was reported to have recovered well from any suffering he had to endure.

Mr Justice Garret Simons approved a creche abuse compensation settlement of €30,000.