Dublin Zoo Compensation of €25,000 for Boy who Witnessed Tapir Attack his Young Sister

A 10-year-old schoolboy has been awarded €25,000 in the Circuit Civil Court after he witnessed an attack at Dublin  on his toddler sister by a Brazilian tapir at Dublin Zoo. His parents were also injured as they fought to save their daughter Katie’s life in the incident.

Katie’s parents Daragh Owens and his wife, Patricia, fought off the crazed animal and sustained injuries themselves in the attack that took place in Dublin Zoo on 8th August 2013.

Barrister Francis McGagh, counsel for the family, told Judge Francis Comerford today Tuesday that the children, Katie and Ruairi had been in the tapir cage. Ruari, who is now 15 years old, witnessed the female tapir, which had earlier given birth to a calf, lift his two-year-old sister, Katie, in its mouth and violently shake her. The Court was also told that Ruari’s brother Cathal, who was only six at the time, had also seen the Tapir attack. Both boys, while not physically injured, had suffered significant psychological injury and trauma.

Graphic pictures of the injuries caused in the horror attack had been published in the Medical Journal.

Mr McGagh said the Zoological Society of Ireland, had also made a €25,000 zoo injury compensation settlement offer to Cathal, now aged 11, but Judge Comerford said that from medical reports Cathal seemed to have been more seriously affected by the attack on his sister. Cathal’s settlement hearing was adjourned until the court receives an up-to-date medical report. Personal Injury Compensation claims on behalf of Katie, her mother Patricia Frost, and her father, Daragh Owens, were also currently before the High Court.

Dublin Zoo was ordered to make donations of €2,500 each to both the Jack and Jill Foundation and to the Laura Lynn Children’s Hospice in December 2014 after the Zoological Society was prosecuted on the grounds of negligence in the District Court where the judge applied the Probation Act, thus avoiding a criminal conviction.


Go-Kart Injury Compensation Award of €10k for Schoolgirl

The Circuit Civil Court has awarded €10,000 personal injury compensation against a holiday centre after a 17-year-old schoolgirl’s hair became trapped in the wheels of a go-kart  which resulted in her below-waist-length hair becoming trapped.

The girl Alannah Reddin, of Maple Avenue, Ballybrack, Co Dublin, advised Judge Terence O’Sullivan, through her legal counsel Esther Earley, that lumps of Alannah’s locks had to be cut off so that she could be released from the go-kart’s back wheels. She, Ms Earley, added that Alannah had been trapped for almost an hour as staff attempted to free her before having to resort to cutting the young girl’s hair.

Judge O’Sullivan heard that Alannah,was holidaying with her family at Trabolgan Holiday Centre, Cork, in April 2017 when the accident occurred. Counsel for Ms Earley argued that Trabolgan and Hemway Limited had been responsible for arranging a number of various activities at their premises. However when it came to go-karting they had not given any warnings about the risks involved for those with long hair participating.

Alannah, taking the legal action against the holiday park through her mother Emma Reddin, had not been advised to tie up her long hair. Ms Earley told the Court said that the organisers of the activity should have been able to recognise the danger and the possibilty of the participants’ especially long hair could becoming tangled in the wheels of the go-kart

Alannah, the court was told, had suffered pain in her scalp and had experience migraines  for some time after the accident. However, the young girl did not experience any other lasting problems apart from the duration of time it had taken for her hair to grow back.

Judge O’Sullivan approved a holiday park personal injury settlement offer of €10,000. He said Alannah had experienced a frightening experience and hair loss and he felt the figure was an adequate amount of compensation on the basis that some contributory negligence would have to be taken into account. As Alannah would be 18 on November 12 2018 the judge directed that payment be made directly into her bank account.  Additionally she was also awarded just over €1,000 for incidental expenses associated with her personal injury compensation claim.


European Medicines Agency Reviewing Use of Epilim

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is currently reviewing the use of Epilim to treat cases of Epilepsy following a number of report that have linked it to instances of birth defects and disability.

Epilim, a drug which Epilepsy Ireland has urged doctors not to prescribe for new child patients, is currently under review by the European Medicines Agency. Findings of the review are expected to result in new guidelines regarding its use. Epilim is the brand name in Ireland for sodium valproate,

In Ireland, according to official figures released by the Health Service Executive, 1,700 female patients between the ages of 16 and 44were prescribed Epilim during the calendar year 2016. Epilepsy Ireland, and other campaigners, have asked that females being treated with the drug be considered for alternative medications as a precautionary measure.

Issues experienced by Irish using the drug include, along with some reports of spontaneous abortion:

  • Foetal malformation
  • Tumours
  • Spina bifida
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Autisc illnesses
  • Issues with development

Report in France state over 4,000 infants were born with malformations since 1967, when the use of the drug on children in the womb began in that country. Dr Mahmoud Zureik, the scientific director of France’s ANSM, remarked that the results showed that the potential for experiencing significant birth defects was globally four times greater in children born to a woman suffering from epilepsy being  treated with Valproate (Epilim), when compared with woman females who were not treated with the drug.

The Fine Gael Minister for Health Simon Harris is due to meet with Irish mothers of children who are thought to have suffered following being prescribed the drug to treat their own epilepsy.

Epilim is currently being implicated in 40 cases of birth defects and disabilities reported to the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA). Lobby groups are of the belief that this figure might actually be closer to 400 in the 43 years that the drug has been prescribed for treatment of epilepsy in expectant mothers in Ireland.

Once the EMA review findings have been released it is likely that the HPRA will meet to review the use of Epilim in Ireland by doctors.


Whistleblower Claims Toxic Chemical Personal Injury Lead to Death of Air Corps Members’ Children

A protected disclosure claiming that children of Air Corps employees have died due to toxic chemical personal injury at Baldonnel Airfield has been made by whistleblower within the Defences Forces.

Earlier in 2017 a document was released to the public in which an employee of the Defence Forces claimed to have evidence of the “the untimely deaths of at least 20 adults…of which I believe died of illness related to unprotected chemical exposure”.

The Defence Forces whistleblower claims, with the permission of the children’s parents, that :

  • The death occurred of a newborn girl due to ventricular septal defect (heart defect)
  • A  five year old boy died while having surgery to address a ‘malrotated intestine’
  • One girl aged 15 died after suffering from Ewing’s sarcoma, a form of cancer and her father is currently suffering from leukaemia

Additionally there have been reports in relation to the effects of chemical exposure on the wives of members of the defence forces. A former mechanic who previously worked with the Air Corps discovered that a number of these women had experienced multiple miscarriages and in one particular case, a woman had 8 miscarriages in succession. An independent third party was appointed by the Minister for Defence in 2016, to investigate the allegations made in relation to fertility issues.

Although the HSA have advised that procedures into risk assessment need to be monitored, a whistleblower has stated that these steps are “too little, too late”, particularly in the case of those who have lost family members or who have developed life-changing illnesses and disabilities.

There have been claims made that these deaths are due to  systematic failure on the part of the Defence Forces which meant that Air Corps personnel were exposed to toxic chemicals at Baldonnel. The Defence Forces are now facing legal action by some former employees. The Defence Forces have issued a statement which says, “Given these matters are subject to litigation, it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

The Department of Defence has assigned former civil servant Christopher O’Toole with the duty of reviewing claims from three whistleblowers who alleged the health of many Air Corps staff may have been affected by exposure to chemicals used to clean and service aircraft.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said he believes a Commission of Investigation is now necessary. He said “The situation is far from satisfactory because with his opening comments the report’s author is essentially saying he cannot fulfill the terms of reference. From the Government’s point of view they established this review, they must have known the terms of reference could not be fulfilled. It’s farcical.”


Judge Approves Settlement of a Rear End Accident Claim

A judge at the Circuit Court has approved the settlement of a rear end accident claim made on behalf of two sisters who suffered psychological injuries.

In February 2016, the sisters were safely secured in the back seat of family car when it was involved in a rear end accident on Newcastle Road in Dublin. The girls, aged seven and four, escaped without any physical injuries but subsequently became nervous whenever large vehicles passed the car while they were travelling in it.

A medical examination revealed they were suffering from  “a mild effect on the mental health” – the older of the two girls being diagnosed with periodic worry, panic and hyperventilation while travelling in the car; and the younger sister being diagnosed with symptoms of panic whenever they approached the scene of the accident, which was close to the family home.

The girls’ mother made a rear end accident claim on behalf of her daughters. Liability was admitted by the negligent driver, and his insurance company made an offer of settlement amounting to €33,000. After seeking professional advice, the offer was accepted subject to it being approved by a judge as the rear end accident claim had been made on the behalf of two minors.

Earlier this week at the Circuit Civil Court, the circumstances of the accident and the nature of the girls´ injuries were explained to Mr Justice Raymond Groarke. The judge heard that the girls had only missed one day of school because of the accident in order to seek a physical examination from the family GP, and was also told the girls´ mother was satisfied with the settlement of the rear end accident claim.

Approving the settlement, the judge ordered it should be paid into court funds until each girl reaches the age of maturity. The settlement is to equally divided, so each of the sisters will receive €16,500 on turning eighteen years of age.


Tayto Park Compensation of €25k Following Fall

A High Court Action has been settled for €25,000 for a Tayto Park compensation claim after a child fell from a tower and fractured his lower arm in March 2012.

The Court was advised that Conor Bolger, then aged just 8 years old, had to have surgery and pins inserted near his elbow following suffering the fracture in the amusement park accident.

Taking the legal compensation action through his father Brian Bolger, the now aged 13 Conor Bolger of Briarfield Road, Kilbarrack, sued Ashbourne Visitor Centre Ltd,Co Meath trading as Tayto Park due to injuries sustained in the accident that occurred on on March 25, 2012.

Counsel claimed that Conor was playing on a tower in the main playground area, then the main attraction in Tayto Park. The tower, it was alleged, was overcrowded and Conor fell as a result of this. The area that he landed on was, according to Mr Bolger’s legal team, insufficiently covered with protective wood chips and he (Conor) suffered a fracture to his left elbow as a result of this. In the aftermath of the incident Mr Bolger had his elbow in a cast for a month and had pins inserted below his elbow in a surgical procedure.

Additionally, his legal team stated there was believed to have been a failure in providing an adequate inspection procedure that would have seen a raking of wood chips in the playground to plimsoll level which may have provided adequate insulation in the event of an accident like this occurring. 

The claims were denied by Counsel for Ashbourne Visitor Centre David McGrath SC. He stated that Conor Bolger was climbing the tower when he “just fell”. He claimed that there was no criticism of the tower itself.  Mr McGrath stated that Mr Bolger’s family were happy with the proposed settlement despite Conor suffering a serious injury and undergoing a surgical procedure that left him with a scar.

In approving the proposed settlement for Tayto Park compensation, Justice Kevin Cross stated that, following a personal inspection of the scar on Conor’s elbow, it was not “too upsetting”. Mr Cross also took into account the fact that Conor enjoys playing basketball which may have been inhibited by the injury that he suffered.


Historic Sexual Abuse Case Heard in Waterford

A historic sexual abuse case has been heard at Waterford Circuit Criminal Court concerning the abuse of a man who was fourteen years of age in 1976.

At Waterford Circuit Criminal Court, Judge Eugene O´Kelly was told the circumstances of a historic sexual abuse that took place on a scouting holiday in Cheekpoint – a small village on the confluence of the Rivers Suir and Barrow, twelve kilometres from the town of Waterford.

The court heard how, in June 1976, a group of teenage scouts had arrived in Waterford and were taken to Cheekpoint to set up camp by their scout leader – a man who is now in his 70s and who cannot be named in order to prevent the identify of his victim.

When the camp was set up, the scout leader beckoned one of the teenage boys towards his tent, pulled him inside and started tickling him. It was during this event that the fourteen-year-old boy was touched inappropriately by the scout leader.

The victim did not make a complaint about the historic sexual abuse until 2013, when he reported it to the gardaí. When questioned, the former scout leader admitted he may have touched the boy inappropriately and was charged with historic sexual abuse.

Judge O´Kelly was read a victim impact statement in which it was claimed that the boy had suffered nightmares as a result of the historic sexual assault and, in later life, had drunk heavily – causing the collapse of his business. The court also heard that the victim has taken anti-depressants for the past twenty-eight years.

The judge was told the former scout leader had resigned from his position on the board of management at UCC after admitting the offence and placed on the sexual offenders list. He has also paid the victim more than €7,500 compensation and issued a statement in which he said he was extremely sorry for what he had done.

Taking into account the historic sexual assault had taken place more than forty years ago and that the perpetrator had demonstrated a “significant element of remorse” following a “one-off incident”, the judge sentenced the former scout leader to fifteen months in prison and suspended the sentence for three years.


Settlement of Creche Abuse Claim Approved after Second Court Hearing

The settlement of a creche abuse claim has been approved by a judge at the Circuit Civil Court after the approval of a previous proposal had been denied.

At the Circuit Civil Court last week, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke heard that the plaintiff on whose behalf the creche abuse claim was made was just two years of age when she started attending the Giraffe Childcare and Early Learning Centre in Stepaside, County Dublin.

In September 2012, the young girl was transferred to the creche´s “Toddler´s Room”; after which, it was alleged, she started showing signs of anxiety. According to her parent´s testimony, the girl would cry “No creche. No creche” as she was being got ready each morning, and was often withdrawn and tired when she was collected each evening.

The girl´s parents discussed their concerns about the signs of anxiety and disturbed sleep patterns with her carer, but were told she was receiving an appropriate level of supervision. However, after watching the RTE documentary “A Breach of Trust” – in which their daughter´s carer was depicted being abusive to children in the same age group, the parents removed the girl from the creche and sought legal advice.

A creche abuse claim was subsequently made against the Giraffe Childcare and Early Learning Centre on the grounds that the girl had suffered emotional injuries. Liability was initially denied, but an offer of settlement was made amounting to €15,000 without an admission of liability. As the creche abuse claim had been made on behalf of a child, it first had to be approved by a judge to ensure it was in the girl´s best interest.

In July 2015, the circumstances behind the creche abuse claim were related to Judge James O´Donohue at the Circuit Civil Court. Judge O´Donohue ruled that the proposed settlement of the crèche abuse claim was insufficient for the level of injury it was claimed the girl had suffered and he refused to approve the settlement.

Following a period of negotiation, a further offer of settlement was made to the girl´s parents. On this occasion, the approval hearing was heard by Mr Justice Raymond Groarke. The circumstances of the girl´s alleged emotional injuries were once again related to the court and, after Judge Groarke was assured that the girl had suffered no lasting psychological injury – he approved the settlement.


Unprotected Chemical Exposure Claims against the Defence Forces

New unprotected chemical exposure claims against the Defence Forces, made by a former Baldonnel-based air corps mechanic, have been published in the Journal.

Working conditions at the Casement Airbase in Baldonnel, County Dublin, have been the subject of investigation since unprotected chemical exposure claims against the Defence Forces were made in 2015 and 2016 by former air corps personnel, and as a result of a HSA inspection in October last year.

The current investigation is looking into claims that servicemen were exposed to high levels of dichloromethane for up to twelve years despite the Defence Forces being aware of the health risks. The new unprotected chemical exposure claims against the Defence Forces are potentially more serious.

According to the Journal, a “whistle-blower” has alleged air corps servicemen were not protected against exposure to carcinogenic and mutagenic chemicals at Baldonnel, and as a result at least twenty former servicemen have died due to neurological and cancer-related illnesses.

The former air corps mechanic also believes that the partners of personnel based at the aerodrome have suffered fertility issues, and that their children have been born with birth defects or development issues. Five children have allegedly died due to their parents´ exposure to toxic chemicals and, the “whistle-blower” claims, many more are living with life-changing illnesses.

The Journal reports the representative association for air corps personnel – PDFORRA – has been attempting to get attitudes towards health and safety changed for many years. The association´s general secretary Gerry Rooney told the Journal: “There’s a tendency in military organisations to focus on carrying out the operation at all costs. It´s fairly clear there was a problem with chemicals and their use.”

Attempts to get comments from the Defence Forces and Department of Defence about the new unprotected chemical exposure claims against the Defence Forces were unsuccessful, but Dublin South Central TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh was heavily critical of junior Justice Minister Paul Kehoe. He told the Journal that previous chemical exposure claims had fallen on deaf ears, despite Minister Kehoe stating the health and wellbeing of members of the Defence Forces are a priority for him.


Claims for Birth Defects due to taking Epilim

Claims for birth defects due to taking Epilim while pregnant have been made in France on behalf of up to 4,100 children with foetal valproate syndrome.

Epilim is the trade name of an anti-epilepsy drug that uses the active ingredient sodium valproate to control electrical activity in the brain. Introduced in France in 1967, Epilim was passed for use in Ireland in 1983, and is now also often prescribed to treat bipolar disorder, migraine and chronic pain.

At the time it was introduced into Ireland, claims for birth defects due to taking Epilim while pregnant were being investigated in France. It was alleged that the sodium valproate entered the bloodstream as valproic acid, which caused foetal congenital and development issues.

The evidence of birth defects due to taking Epilim was considered inconclusive, and the drug continued to be prescribed to pregnant mothers. It was only in 2006 that the manufacturers of the drug – Sanofi – warned that sodium valproate may have adverse effects and advised the medical profession to advise pregnant mothers of the potential risks.

Research conducted several years later by France´s social affairs inspectorate – IGAS – found the majority of doctors and pharmacists were unaware of the risks associated with Epilim. The research prompted the inspectorate to conduct a small scale study in the Rhone-Alpes region last year, where a much higher than expected rate of birth defects due to taking Epilim while pregnant was discovered.

France’s National Agency for the Safety of Medicines (ANSM) looked deeper into the issue and researched the health of 8,701 children born between 2007 and 2014 whose mothers were known to have taken Epilim during their pregnancies. ANSM identified up to 4,100 children suffering from foetal valproate syndrome and discovered hundreds of Epilim-related stillbirths.

ANSM´s study has resulted in the families of those affected by the adverse effects of sodium valproate to form a class action in order to jointly make claims for birth defects due to taking Epilim. The families claim that Sanofi did not do enough to adequately inform the medical profession of the risks associate with the drug. It also claims the drug manufacturer failed to put adequate warning on its packaging.

In Ireland, the Disability Federation has called on the government to conduct an audit of children diagnose with foetal valproate syndrome. The organisation claims the scale of the problem in Ireland should be identified in order that adequate support measures are provided for families. If a member of your family has been affected by foetal valproate syndrome, and you would like to know more about claims for birth defects due to taking Epilim while pregnant, you should speak with a solicitor.


Judge Orders Full Hearing of Claim for a Broken Leg at Play School

Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke has said the proposed settlement of a girl´s claim for a broken leg at play school is inadequate.

In April 2015, the plaintiff was just three years of age when she climbed onto an open wardrobe at the Larkin Early Education Centre in Ballybough, Dublin, and fell – landing awkwardly. X-rays revealed that the young girl had fractured the tibia in her right leg, and she had to undergo a manipulation of her bones under anaesthesia.

She was discharged from hospital wearing a long leg cast, and had to wear a walking boot for several weeks afterwards. Despite the accident occurring almost two years ago, the girl continues to feel pain in her leg and, on her behalf, her mother made a claim for a broken leg at play school against the Larkin Early Education Centre.

The claim for a broken leg at play school was assessed by the Injuries Board and, once the assessment was completed, an offer of settlement was made by the school amounting to €31,000. The family´s solicitor advised the girl´s mother not to accept the offer and, as no improved offer was forthcoming, the case went to the Circuit Civil Court for evaluation

The hearing took place earlier this week before Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke. At the hearing, Judge Groarke was told the circumstances of the accident and how the settlement of the claim for a broken leg at play school had been determined. He agreed with the family´s solicitor that the offer of settlement was inadequate and ordered that it go to a full trial at the Circuit Civil Court.

According to the recently revised Book of Quantum, the range of compensation settlements for a moderate lower leg fracture in which the bones have been displaced is €40,500 to €70,400. Considering that injuries to the tibia are considered to be more serious than those to the fibula, and that the young girl continues to experience pain in her leg, the final settlement of her claim for broken leg at play school is likely to be at the higher end of the scale.


Judge Approves Settlement of Claim against B&Q for a Finger Injury

A Circuit Civil Court judge has approved the settlement of a claim against B&Q for a finger injury, made by a Dublin man on behalf of his six-year-old son.

In November 2011, the man´s son was just sixteen months of age when he cut the base of his right hand middle finger on a fire purchased from B&Q. He was taken to the A&E Department of Crumlin Hospital where it was diagnosed that he had completely severed one tendon, and suffered damage to another as well as to an artery and a nerve.

The young boy underwent surgery under a general anaesthetic to repair the damage to his finger and was discharged from hospital wearing a cast. Despite the seriousness of the injury, the boy can now use his right hand fully without difficulty or pain, and the scars from his injury and the subsequent surgery are expected to disappear as he grows older.

Through his father, the boy made a claim against B&Q for a finger injury, and also included Focal Point Fires of London in the claim – alleging that the company was negligent in the manufacture of the wall-mounted fire. B&Q and Focal Point Fires admitted liability for the boy´s injury and made an offer of settlement amounting to €30,000.

The family were advised to accept the offer of settlement; but, as the claim against B&Q for a finger injury had been made on behalf of a child, the proposed settlement first had to be approved by a judge to ensure that it was in the boy´s best interests. The approval hearing took place earlier this week at the Circuit Civil Court before Judge James O´Donohoe.

At the hearing, Judge O´Donohoe was told the circumstances of the accident and the medical attention that the boy subsequently received. He heard that the boy had recovered full functionality of his right hand and that there was a low possibility of a permanent cosmetic injury. After inspecting the boy´s hand Judge O´Donohoe approved the settlement of the claim against B&Q for a finger injury, stating that the settlement was adequate and appropriate.


Judge Approves Settlement of Child´s Fall from Window Injury Claim

A Circuit Court judge has approved an Injuries Board assessed settlement of a child´s fall from window injury claim in favour of a five-year-old girl.

In August 2012, fifteen-month-old Róisín Byrne fell eleven feet onto an emergency fire escape from a window of her parent´s temporary accommodation in Blackrock, County Dublin. Róisín injured her head, punctured a lung and fractured a rib in the accident. Now five years of age, she still has a visible scar on her forehead.

Róisín´s parents – Ronan Byrne and Chloe Murphy – had previously complained to the caretaker of the property about the large Georgian sash window from which their daughter fell. They claimed that it presented a risk of injury due to opening just twenty-one inches from the floor and had asked for a security mechanism to be fitted so that the window could be locked shut.

The request was never attended to and, on Róisín´s behalf, Chloe applied to the Injuries Board for an assessment of the child´s fall from window injury claim. The owner of the accommodation – Enda Woods – gave his consent for process to continue, and the Injuries Board assessed the injuries to Róisín as having a value of €46,000.

Both parties accepted the Injuries Board´s assessment but, as the child´s fall from window injury claim had been made on behalf of a minor, the proposed settlement first had to be approved by a judge. As the value of the assessment was in excess of €15,000, the approval hearing was held at the Circuit Civil Court before Mr Justice Raymond Groarke.

At the approval hearing, the circumstances of Róisín´s accident were related the judge, who was also informed about the scar on her forehead. Judge Groarke approved the settlement of the child´s fall from window claim, which will now be paid into court funds until Róisín is eighteen years of age.


Settlement of Claim for a Scar from an Accident in a Creche Approved

A boy, who cut his eye in a fall in 2007, has had the settlement of his claim for a scar from an accident in a creche approved at the Circuit Civil Court.

In July 2007, three-year-old Calum Lawless was playing at the Happy Days Creche in Clonee, Dublin, when he tripped on an uneven floor surface and landed on his face. Bleeding heavily from a cut close to his right eye, Calum was taken to the VH1 Swiftcare Clinic at Dublin City University, where he was treated for a three-centimetre laceration with glue and steri-strips.

Calum´s eye remained closed for a week after his accident, and the area around his eye remained bruised for almost a month. Now twelve years of age, Calum has a permanent visible scar by his eye that – due to its location – cannot be resolved by plastic surgery.

Calum´s mother – Lorraine Lawless from Dunshaughlin in County Meath – made a claim for a scar for an accident in a creche on her son´s behalf against the owners of the Happy Days facility. In her legal action, Lorraine alleged that the creche had failed in its duty of care to provide Calum with a safe environment in which to play.

Liability for Calum´s injury was admitted, and an offer was made to settle the claim for a scar from an accident in a creche for €45,000. As the claim had been made on behalf of a child, the proposed settlement had to be approved by a judge to ensure it was in Calum´s best interests.

The case went to the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin, where Judge James O´Donohoe was told the circumstances of Calum´s accident and its consequences. After hearing that the family were happy to accept the creche´s offer of €45,000 compensation, Judge O´Donohoe approved the settlement of the claim.


Judge Approves Caravan Holiday Injury Compensation Settlement

A judge at the High Court has approved a €106,000 settlement of caravan holiday injury compensation for a girl who allegedly cut her leg on a protruding nail.

In August 2009, Shauna Burke was just ten years of age when she was playing with friends near her family´s mobile home at Slattery´s Caravan Park in Lahinch, County Clare. While she was running around near the mobile home, Shauna cut her leg on a nail that was allegedly protruding from a metal box attached to a pole.

Shauna suffered a deep laceration above her knee and, despite receiving medical treatment for her injury, now has a permanent 6cm visible scar. Through her father – John Burke of Corbally in County Limerick – Shauna made a caravan holiday injury compensation claim against Austin Francis Slattery – the owner of the holiday venue.

In the legal action, it was claimed that the nail represented a hazard that Slattery knew about or should have known about as it was located in an area frequented by holidaymakers. Slattery denied liability for Shauna´s injury, but an offer of €106,000 caravan holiday injury compensation was made to account for Shauna´s pain and suffering and the cost of future medical care.

As the caravan holiday injury compensation claim had been made on behalf of a minor, the offer of compensation had to be approved by a judge to ensure it was appropriate for Shauna´s injury. At the approval hearing, Mr Justice Anthony Barr was told how Shauna´s accident was claimed to have happened and of its consequences.

After inspecting the scar on Shauna´s leg, Judge Barr said that the offer of caravan holiday injury compensation was a good one and he was happy to approve it. As Shauna is now seventeen years of age – but not yet a legal adult – the settlement of compensation will be paid into court funds, where it will be held in an interest yielding account until Shauna is eighteen.


Final Delayed Delivery Compensation Settlement Approved in Court

A final delayed delivery compensation settlement has been approved in the High Court in favour of a sixteen-year-old girl who suffers from cerebral palsy.

Mary Malee was born at the Mayo General Hospital on 11th October 1999 after becoming distressed in the womb. Due to there being no consultant available to assist with the birth, Mary´s delivery was avoidably delayed by eighty minutes. By the time she was delivered by emergency Caesarean section, Mary had sustained brain damage due to a lack of oxygen and she now suffers from cerebral palsy.

Mary´s mother – Maura Malee from Swinford, County Mayo – claimed a delayed delivery compensation settlement from the Health Service Executive, alleging that there had been a failure by the Mayo General Hospital to ensure that a paediatrician was present after a deceleration of the foetal heart rate had been identified, and that the hospital´s negligence had led to the failure to deliver Mary in a timely manner.

In March 2014, an interim delayed delivery compensation settlement of €1.5 million was approved by Ms Justice Mary Irvine, who then adjourned the case for two years to allow for the introduction of a structured settlement system. As no system for the phased payment of compensation to catastrophically injured claimants has yet been introduced, Mary and her family returned to the High Court to hear the approval of a final delayed delivery compensation settlement.

At the hearing a statement was read to Mary by representatives of the Mayo General Hospital, who apologised for “the many challenges that you have faced as a result of the treatment provided to your mother Maura at the time of your birth” and who told Mr Justice Peter Kelley that a final delayed delivery compensation settlement of €5.56 million had been agreed with the family.

After hearing from Mary that “the stress of ongoing engagement with the HSE and the courts is not what I want”, the judge approved the final delayed delivery compensation settlement. Judge Kelly also described Mary as “heroic” for the challenges she has overcome so far in her life and commended her for her ambition to become an advocate for people with disabilities.


Judge Approves €17,500 Settlement of Clothing Injury Claim

A judge has approved the €17,500 settlement of a clothing injury claim made against designer label company Ralph Lauren in favour of a five-year-old girl.

Shortly after her birth in April 2010, Amelia Duhy was bought a Ralph Lauren dress and pants combination as a gift from the Brown Thomas store in Dublin. When she was aged ten weeks, Amelia´s parents – Robert and Julie Duhy from Drogheda in County Louth – took their daughter on holiday and dressed her in the designer label combination.

One evening, as Amelia was being prepared for bed, Julie noticed red welds on her daughter´s outer thighs. On the family´s return home, Julie took Amelia to her GP, who dismissed an allergic reaction and referred Amelia to a consultant plastic and reconstructive surgeon. The plastic surgeon identified the welds as “secondary to a tight constriction band”.

Once the cause of the marks had been identified, the dress and pants combination was examined by an expert in the technology of elastic fabrics. He determined that the elastic used in the garment was twice as powerful as would be recommended for an adult. Julie subsequently sought legal advice and made a clothing injury claim against Ralph Lauren Ireland Limited.

The designer label company entered a full defence against the clothing injury claim; but, as Mr Justice Raymond Groarke was told at the Circuit Civil Court, also offered a settlement of €17,500. The judge also heard that, for two and a half years, Julie had to massage Bio oil into her daughter´s thighs until the marks eventually disappeared.

After hearing that the Ralph Lauren New York brand had been stitched into the Chinese-manufactured dress and pants combination, but that the elastic had never broken Amelia´s skin – and the wounds had never wept – Judge Groarke approved the settlement of the clothing injury claim and closed the hearing.


Compensation for Emotional Shock during a Mock Armed Robbery Approved by Judge

Two settlements of compensation for emotional shock during a mock armed robbery have been approved by a judge at the Circuit Civil Court.

Eight-year-old Casie and eleven-year-old Abbie Kennedy were shopping with their mother in the Dundrum Shopping Centre in March 2013, when they heard a man swearing at the staff in the H&M shop – ordering them to open the till and get on the ground.

Trapped in the shop´s changing room, and unaware that they were witnessing part of a training exercise, Claudia and her terrified daughters stayed in the changing room until the shouting stopped. Only then did Claudia look outside the door of the changing room; but, unable to see anything, she kept the girls in the changing room until she could hear voices in the shop.

Claudia escorted the sisters into the store and asked the manager what had happened. Angry that nobody had thought to check for the presence of customers in the changing room before staging the mock armed robbery, Claudia rang the H&M head office in England to complain.

Unhappy with a curt apology and the offer of a €30 voucher, Claudia claimed compensation for emotional shock during a mock armed robbery on behalf of her daughters. In her legal action against H&M Hennes &Mauritz (Ireland) Ltd, Claudia alleged that Casie and Abbie had feared for their lives and the life of their mother during the incident.

H&M Hennes &Mauritz (Ireland) Ltd made offers of compensation for emotional shock during a mock armed robbery to Casie (€8,000) and Abbie (€10,000). At the Circuit Civil Court, Judge Rory MacCabe heard the family was willing to accept the offers and, after hearing that Casie and Abbie continued to suffer nightmares as a result of their experience, the judge approved the settlements.


Mother Files Claim for a Child being Scalded on an Aer Lingus Flight

A woman from New York has filed a claim for a child being scalded on an Aer Lingus flight after her son was burned by hot liquid being spilled on him.

The claim for a child being scalded on an Aer Lingus flight does not contain much in the way of detail about how the accident happened, only that the unnamed boy flying from Dublin to JFK International Airport in New York was “injured as a result of scalding hot liquid” on June 30th, 2014.

The boy´s mother alleges that her son´s injuries occurred as a result of negligence by a member of the flight crew – a claim that Aer Lingus denies – and that, as a result of the accident, the boy “was deprived of his enjoyment of life, pursuits and interests and in the future will be deprived on the same”.

Under the Montreal Convention, Aer Lingus is liable to pay compensation for any avoidable injuries that occur during a flight irrespective of how the injury occurred. Negotiations to resolve the claim for a child being scalded on an Aer Lingus flight are scheduled to take place at the end of the month. It is understood that the airline has requested a copy of the boy´s medical records to assess the level of compensation he may be entitled to.

Mediation Continuing in Second Aer Lingus Scalding Injury Claim

The claim for a child being scalded on an Aer Lingus flight is the second claim of this nature that the airline has received recently in the US. Last August, a similar claim was filed in Jacksonville, Florida, on behalf of a ten-year-old girl allegedly scalded by hot tea during a flight from Dublin to Orlando.

The parents of the injured ten-year-old are claiming $75,000 compensation for the burns sustained by their daughter, when hot tea spilled onto her from a cup on which the lid had not been properly attached. The girl – who prior to her accident was a “successful amateur competitive surfer” – suffered burns to her lower torso and thighs and may need plastic surgery in the future.

Although Aer Lingus is again liable for compensation under the Montreal Convention, the airline is disputing the amount of compensation being claimed. Mediation is continuing in this Aer Lingus scalding injury claim in the hope that a suitable compromise can be agreed without the need for court action.

Aer Lingus Flight Injury Compensation Awarded in Ireland

The claims against Aer Lingus in the US for a child being scalded on a flight are not the first that the airline has had to contend with. In June 2011, five-year-old Sophie Gorman from Knocklyon in Dublin was scalded on an Aer Lingus flight from London when a stewardess attempted to place a cup of tea on the table in front of Sophie´s mother, and spilled some of the hot tea on Sophie´s leg.

On her daughter´s behalf, Sophie´s mother made a claim for a child being scalded on an Aer Lingus flight due to the ongoing treatment Sophie had to receive after returning to Dublin and the small pigment irregularity Sophie now has on her leg. In July 2012, a €7,000 offer of settlement from Aer Lingus was approved in the Dublin Circuit Civil Court by Mr Justice Matthew Deery.


Emotional Trauma Compensation awarded to Fourteen-Year-Old Boy

A judge has awarded a fourteen-year-old boy €51,244 emotional trauma compensation after hearing how a fire in the family´s home had traumatised him.

On June 26th, 2010, the home of the Monds family from Kinnegad in County Westmeath was devastated after a Hotpoint dishwasher caught on fire late in the evening. The family´s four children were safely evacuated from the burning house by their parents, but the property was not habitable again until spring the following year.

One of the four children – Aaron – was only nine-years-old at the time. Aaron had already been diagnosed with a mild intellectual disability and he was severely traumatised by the fire. He developed an irrational fear of fire and, for years after the event, had symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder that included checking and re-checking electrical appliances were switched off and unplugged.

Through his father – Henry Monds – Aaron made a claim for emotional trauma compensation against Indesit UK Ltd, the manufacturer of the Hotpoint dishwasher. As an investigation had attributed the fire to a fault in the electrical appliance, liability was admitted, and the claim for emotional trauma compensation went to the High Court for the assessment of damages.

At the High Court, Mr Justice Bernard Barton heard that Aaron had suffered night terrors about fire and burning for many years after the devastation of the family home. The judge also heard that Aaron´s condition was improving after years of therapy, however he still had anxiety attacks about the possibility of another fire during the night.

Judge Barton accepted the medical evidence that Aaron was suffering residual symptoms of a post- traumatic stress disorder consequent upon the fire in the family home. He awarded Aaron €51,244 emotional trauma compensation and ordered that the settlement will be paid into court funds until Aaron reaches the age of eighteen.


Judge Adjourns Approval Hearing due to Too Low Offer of Compensation

A judge has adjourned a second approval hearing on the grounds that the injury settlement he had been asked to approve was a too low offer of compensation.

In November 2012, Harry Ryan (12) from Swords in County Dublin had been playing on a local green, when he slipped and badly cut his lower right leg on a piece of broken glass. Harry was taken to the local VHI Swift Care Clinic, where he had eight stitches under a local anaesthetic, and steri-strips applied to help his cut heal.

Through his mother – Ita – Harry made an injury compensation claim against Fingal County Council and a settlement of injury compensation was agreed amounting to €3,000 without an admission of liability. As the claim was made on behalf of a child, the settlement had to be approved before the claim could be closed.

However, at the Circuit Civil Court last week, Judge James O´Donohoe refused to approve the settlement as he considered it too low an offer of compensation in relation to Harry´s injury. He adjourned the case for a week so that the two parties could reconsider the settlement, and a second approval hearing was scheduled for yesterday.

At the second approval hearing, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke was told that the offer of compensation had been increased to €3,500. Harry´s barrister told Judge Groarke that he was conscious of the recent dismissal of a similar claim in the High Court and that Fingal County Council had prepared a full defence if the claim went to a full hearing.

Having inspected the scar on Harry´s leg, Judge Groarke said that the value of the proposed settlement was still a too low offer of compensation. The judge said that an appropriate settlement should amount to €30,000 and he adjourned the case for another week so that Harry´s solicitor could assess the risk of taking the claim to a full court hearing.

Judges refusing to approve settlements when a too low offer of compensation has been made is happening more frequently. Insurance companies often encourage plaintiffs to accept inappropriate offers for their own financial gain. If you have received an offer of settlement, which you believe may be a too low offer of compensation, you should seek professional legal advice.


Claim against Mother for Injuries in a Car Crash Resolved at Court

A teenage girl´s claim against her mother for injuries in a car crash has been resolved at court with the approval of a €1.3 million compensation settlement.

On 26th November 2005, Beth Cullen (then just six years of age) was badly injured in a car crash on the dangerous “Nine Bends” stretch of the N11 near Ballinameesda. As a consequence of the car crash, Beth – from Kilmacanogue in County Wicklow – lost the use of her left eye, became deaf in her left ear and also lost her sense of smell.

On his daughter´s behalf, William Cullen made a compensation claim against her mother – Caroline Barrett – who had been driving the family car when the car crash happened and who was considered responsible for causing the accident.

In the claim against the mother for injuries in a car crash it was alleged that Barrett had failed to steer, stop, swerve or manage the car prior to the accident. It was also alleged that, through her actions, Barrett failed to have any or any adequate regard for the safety of her daughter.

Liability was conceded by Barrett´s insurance company, and a €1.3 million settlement of the claim against the mother for injuries in a car crash was negotiated. As the legal action had been taken on behalf of a minor, the negotiated settlement had to be approved at the High Court to ensure it was in Beth´s best interests.

The approval hearing took place at the beginning of last week before Mr Justice Kevin Cross. Judge Cross heard about the circumstances of the accident and the injuries that Beth had sustained. After being told that Beth was doing well at school despite her reduced senses of sight and hearing, Judge Cross approved the settlement and wished Beth well for the future.


Judge Approves Settlement of Compensation for a Broken Wrist on Holiday

A Circuit Court judge has approved a settlement of compensation for a broken wrist on holiday in favour of a young girl who was hurt in an accident in Spain.

In June 2014, the Budhe family from Clondalkin in Dublin were enjoying a holiday on the Costa del Sol in Spain. While the family were sitting beside the pool, six-year-old Sophia went to get a drink from the poolside drinks dispenser.

As she had seen other children use a chair to reach the drinks dispenser, Sophia also climbed onto the chair. However, the chair was wet from previous use, and Sophia slipped and fell – landing on her outstretched left wrist.

Sophia´s wrist began to swell the following day, and she was taken to the Accident and Emergency department of a local hospital in Benalmadena, where an X-ray was taken and a soft cast was applied to her wrist.

On the family´s return to Dublin, Sophia attended the Tallaght Hospital where a further X-ray was taken. The soft cast was subsequently replaced with an above-the-elbow plaster back slab, which Sophia was required to wear for several weeks.

Through her father Amar, Sophia claimed compensation for a broken wrist on holiday against the travel agent through which the holiday was booked – Linevana Ltd, of Lower Liffey St, Dublin – and also the tour operator – TUI UK & Ireland.

In the claim it was alleged that both Linevana and TUI UK & Ireland were negligent for not supplying a suitable and safe means for children to reach the drinks dispenser. Both defendants admitted their liability for Sophia´s injuries and a €14,000 settlement of compensation for a broken wrist on holiday was agreed.

Because the claim for compensation for a broken wrist on holiday had been made on behalf of a child, the settlement had to be approved by a judge to ensure it was in Sophia´s best interests. Consequently, at the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke was told the circumstances of Sophia´s accident and the settlement that had been agreed.

Judge Groarke approved the settlement after hearing that Sophia had made a full recovery. The funds will now be paid into court, where they will be managed in an interest-yielding account until Sophia becomes a legal adult at age eighteen.


Court Approves Settlement of Compensation for a Finger Injury in a Door Accident

The Circuit Civil Court has approved a €40,000 settlement of compensation for a finger injury in a door accident in favour of a nine-year-old girl.

In November 2012, Julia Roman severed her fingertip and lost a nail when her finger caught between the doors of the Doc Morris Pharmacy in Lucan, County Dublin. Julia – who was just six years old at the time – was taken by her father to the Emergency Department of Our Lady´s Children´s Hospital in Crumlin, where doctors were able to reattach the fingertip while Julia was under a general anaesthetic.

Julia had to attend the hospital on several occasions so that doctors could check on how her injury was healing and to have her dressings changed. Now nine years of age, Julia has a small scar on the bulb of her finger and has had to give up playing the piano because of recurring pain in her finger.

On Julia’s behalf, her mother – Elena Roman – claimed compensation for a finger injury in a door accident against the owners of the Doc Morris Pharmacy – Unicare Pharmacy Ltd – and the company that installed the doors at the pharmacy – Lovco Cleaning and Building Services of Tallaght in Dublin.

Liability for Julia’s injury was conceded and an offer of compensation for a finger injury in a door accident was made to the family amounting to €40,000. The family agreed to the proposed settlement, but before the claim could be resolved, the settlement had to be approved by a judge to ensure that it was in Julia’s best interests.

Consequently, at the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke was told the consequences of Julia’s unfortunate accident three years ago and the consequences it had made to her quality of life. The judge approved the settlement of compensation for a finger injury in a door accident and closed the case.


Settlement of Electrocution Accident Compensation Approved in Court

A settlement of electrocution accident compensation has been approved in the High Court in favour of a boy who was severely burned while playing.

On July 3rd 2008, Kurt O´Callaghan from Wexford was playing in woodland near his home and making a camp with his friends, when he decided to put a “Keep Out” sign on an electricity pole. As Kurt nailed his sign into the Electricity Supply Board (ESB) pole, the nail went into an electricity cable and the force of the subsequent electric shock knocked him off the wall he had used to gain access to the pole.

A passing motorist rushed Kurt – who was just ten years old at the time – to a local hospital, from where he was transferred to the Children’s Hospital in Crumlin, Dublin. Kurt spent the next three months undergoing multiple operations to treat burnt areas on his head, neck, shoulders, chest, and hands. Kurt may need further surgery or skin grafts in the future.

Through his mother – Denise – Kurt made a claim for electrocution accident compensation against the ESB, alleging that he had been exposed to a danger of electrocution which the ESB knew existed or should have known existed. It was further alleged that there had been a failure by the ESB to carry out an inspection of the wall Kurt used to access the electricity pole so as to detect the dangerous nature of the wall´s proximity to the electricity cables.

The electrocution accident compensation claim was supported by expert evidence that was critical of the ESB for not identifying the risk of danger. The expert´s report said that there was a statutory requirement to ensure that electricity poles were inaccessible to a height of three metres, and the ESB should have spotted that the pole was accessible if the wall was used to access it.

The ESB denied that it was responsible for Kurt´s injuries, and the electrocution accident compensation claim was scheduled for a full court hearing. However, before the hearing could take place, a negotiated settlement of the claim was agreed for €700,000. Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Kevin Cross said that it was a good one in the circumstances, as Kurt may have been accused of contributory negligence if his claim for electrocution accident compensation had gone to a full hearing.


Children in Residential Care Homes in a “Vulnerable Situation”

The Ombudsman for Children has claimed that children in residential care homes are in a “vulnerable situation” due to a lack of monitoring by the HSE´s Child and Family Service.

Listeners to this morning´s “Morning Ireland” program on RTE1 heard the Ombudsman for Children – Niall Muldoon – criticise the HSE´s Child and Family Service (“TUSLA”) for allowing voluntarily and privately run children´s residential care homes to remain open when it should have been known that their owners were in breach of statutory regulations.

Mr Muldoon blamed staff shortages at TUSLA and “inconsistencies and discrepancies” in monitoring standards for the failure to inspect the residential care homes. He said his own office´s investigation had revealed that it often took fourteen months after the registration of a care home for an inspection to be carried out, and this was placing children in residential care homes in a “vulnerable situation”.

The inconsistencies, Mr Muldoon explained, were due to the HSE having four different regions that have developed over the past twenty years. Each region has developed its own policies and procedures within that time, and this concerned the Ombudsman inasmuch as his office wants to see the same standards of care for children in residential care homes across the country.

In order to resolve this situation, the Ombudsman for Children has initiated proposals to amalgamate TUSLA into the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA – the agency currently responsible for monitoring state run residential care homes). The intention is to run the agency as an independent authority in line with the recommendations made by the 2009 Ryan Report.

Speaking later in the day on RTE´s News at One, TUSLA´s Director of Quality Assurance – Brian Lee – said: “We are working very closing with the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and with HIQA to move this along. There’s nothing impeding us from supporting this process but it’s in the hands of the Department and HIQA to move this forward.”


State Claims Agency Criticised after Settlement of Claim for Severe Birth Injuries

The mother of a brain damaged girl has criticised the State Claims Agency for delaying the settlement of her daughter´s claim for severe birth injuries.

Alex Butler (10) from Dunmore East, County Waterford, was born at the Waterford Regional Hospital in April 2005, “blue and lifeless” after her delivery had been mismanaged and she had been deprived of oxygen in the womb.

Alex was resuscitated, but is tetraplegic and normally confined to a wheelchair. Only through the efforts of her parents is Alex capable of walking a few steps, but she will require full-time care for the rest of her life.

Through her mother – Sonya – Alex made a claim for severe birth injuries against the Health Service Executive (HSE), her mother´s consultant obstetrician John Bermingham, and the locum Mahmud Khbuli who had failed to identify the need for an emergency Caesarean Section when Alex´s foetal heartrate dropped.

The HSE admitted liability and the case against the two doctors was dismissed. The family received a €1.4 million interim settlement of compensation in 2013, and the claim for severe birth injuries was recently heard once again at the High Court for a final settlement to be approved.

Even though liability had been admitted and an apology read out to the family at the start of the proceedings, it took eighteen days for the State Claims Agency to agree to a €9 million final settlement of the claim for severe birth injuries – provoking Alex´s mother to describe their attitude as “disgusting”.

“They fought tooth and nail” Sonya told the press after the settlement had been approved. “They basically want Alex to have an existence, not a life. They want her to scrape by with the bare minimum rather than her having the life that she should have had.”

In response, the State Claims Agency issued a statement which read: “The State Claims Agency recognises that clinical negligence cases involve patients who have suffered enormous trauma and pain. The Agency is acutely conscious that it has a duty to act fairly, ethically and with compassion in all its dealings with these patients and their families.”

The statement concluded by attacking the lack of a structured settlement system: “The Agency has frequently stated that the current legal system for resolving medical negligence cases is not fit for purpose and has been to the forefront in introducing reforms to make the process easier for the families involved.”


Judge Says €15,000 Compensation for Crèche Psychological Trauma Insufficient

A judge at the Circuit Civil Court has refused to approve a settlement of compensation for crèche psychological trauma, saying that €15,000 is not enough.

Emilie Kiely (4) from Sandyford in Dublin started attending the Giraffe crèche in Stepaside in 2011 when she was just eight months old. In September 2012, Emilie was moved to the “Toddlers Room”, after which she would become stressed and anxious when her parents were preparing to take her to the childcare facility.

The crèche was exposed in May 2013 by the RTE Prime Time documentary “A Breach of Trust” for allegedly mistreating children in its care. Emilie´s parents withdrew their daughter from the childcare facility after they saw one of the minders responsible for looking after their daughter screaming at children in the program.

After seeking legal advice, Emilie´s father – John – claimed compensation for crèche psychological trauma, alleging that his daughter´s behaviour had changed after her transfer to the Toddlers Room and would cry “No crèche! No crèche”. John claimed that his daughter had suffered stress, emotional upset and terror due to a breach in the crèche’s duty of care.

The claims were denied by the Giraffe Childcare and Early Learning Centre, but an offer of compensation for crèche psychological trauma amounting to €15,000 was made to Emilie´s parents without an admission of liability. As the offer of compensation was in favour of a minor, the settlement had to be approved by a judge before the case could be closed.

Consequently the circumstances of Emilie´s alleged psychological trauma were heard by Judge James O´Donohue at the Circuit Civil Court. Judge O´Donohue ruled that the proposed settlement of compensation for crèche psychological trauma was insufficient for the level of injury that it was claimed Emilie had suffered.

He ruled that the case should go to a full hearing before another judge – a decision that will affect up to twenty-five other compensation claims for psychological trauma that have been made on behalf of children that attended the Giraffe childcare facility. The Kiely´s – and many of the other parents – have also initiated legal action against the crèche for breach of contract. That claim is yet to be resolved.


Girl Awarded €30,000 in Cut Knee Sports Injury Claim

A teenage girl has been awarded €30,000 compensation in settlement of a cut knee sports injury claim after a previous settlement was rejected by a judge.

Rhian Holohan (now 17 years of age) was playing in goal for Kentstown Rovers FC when – in June 2012 – she dived to make a save and cut her knee on a piece of broken glass that was on the surface of the Ayrfield United FC pitch.

The game in the Dublin Women´s Soccer League was stopped so that Rhian could receive first aid treatment and she was taken to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, where her lacerated knee was cleaned and sutured under anaesthetic.

Because of the depth of the cut, Rhian had to use crutches for support for several weeks. She experienced considerable pain from her swollen knee and was unable to play football again for several months. She now has a visible 1.5 cm scar on her knee.

Through her mother – Anita Holohan of Kentstown in County Meath – Rhian made a cut knee sports injury claim for compensation against Dublin City Council, the Trustees of Dublin Women´s Soccer League and the Trustees of Ayrfield United FC.

Liability for Rhian´s injury was accepted by the defendants and a settlement of €22,000 was negotiated. However, when the cut knee sports injury claim went to the Circuit Civil Court for the settlement to be approved, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke said that the settlement was not appropriate for the level of injury and asked the parties to reconsider the offer.

Following further talks between the parties, the offer of settlement of Rhian´s cut knee sports injury claim was increased to €30,000 – a figure which Mr Justice Raymond Groarke found more acceptable. Judge Groarke approved the revised settlement of Rhian´s cut knee sports injury claim and closed the case.


Claim for the Failure to Treat Meningitis Resolved in Court

A young boy´s claim for the failure to treat meningitis has been resolved in court with the approval of a €3.7 million interim settlement of compensation.

Matthew McGrath was admitted to Wexford General Hospital on 27th May 2004 at the age of 17 months after it was noticed that he was uncharacteristically drowsy and vomiting fluids. Matthew was diagnosed with Haemophilus Influenza Type B – which is known to lead on to meningitis – and he should have been administered antibiotics.

Overnight, Matthew´s condition deteriorated and he was identified as being in shock. Despite medical guidelines recommending against it when a patient is in shock, Matthew underwent a lumbar puncture procedure to confirm suspected meningitis – due to which a compression of the spinal cord took place and Matthew is now permanently paralysed.

Due to the failure to administer antibiotics when Matthew was first admitted to the hospital, and the subsequent inappropriate lumbar puncture, Matthew cannot move his arms or legs and can only breathe through a ventilator. He spent the next two years of his life in hospital until his parents were eventually allowed to care for their son at home.

Through his mother – Cathy McGrath of Gorey in County Wexford – Matthew made a claim for the failure to treat meningitis against the HSE – alleging that, if he had been treated with antibiotics and given fluids at the time of his admission into Wexford General Hospital, he would not have suffered such devastating injuries.

After an investigation into the claim for the failure to treat meningitis, the HSE admitted liability and issued an apology to Matthew´s parents. An interim compensation settlement of €3.7 million was agreed, but first had to be approved by a judge before payment could be made.

Consequently, at the High Court in Dublin, the circumstances of Matthew´s devastating and unnecessary injuries were related to Mr Justice Matthew Cross. Judge Cross approved the settlement, and adjourned the claim for the failure to treat meningitis for five years in order that reports into Matthew´s future needs can be conducted.