€30k Compensation after 16-year-old Girl Finds Glass in Jar of Nutella

A teenage student has been awarded more than €30,000 damages in the Circuit Civil Court in relation to an incident in which, she alleges, she swallowed a chocolate spread that had miniscule shards of glass in it.

The girl, 16-year-old Jamie Lee McAdam, took the product injury compensation action through her mother Natasha, against Ferrero UK Limited, Greenford, England, producers of branded chocolate and confectionary product Nutella.

Presiding Judge Justice Groarke was informed that the incident had changed Jamie Lee’s eating habits and she had lost some weight along with recurring episodes of abdominal pain that she experienced. Barrister William Binchy, counsel for Jamie Lee, told the Judge that she had been offered a personal injury compensation settlement of €31,600 by the defendant. Mr Binchy was recommending that it be approved by the court.

Mr Binchy, told the court that Jamie Lee had been injured after consuming Nutella spread over a bagel that her mother had prepared for her. While investigating Jamie Lee’s injury her family discovered there were numerous pieces of glass in the Nutella that remained in the bottom of the jar.

The Nutella in question had been produced in the United Kingdom by Ferrero and bought in a sealed jar in an Irish grocer. Mr Binchy said Jamie Lee had become worried in the hours following the event when she started to suffer stomach pains. Her mother had called Temple Street Children’s Hospital and had been advised by staff to bring her daughter to the hospital to be seen.

She had been attended to by a Doctor and x-rays were conducted but no fragments of glass were found and she had been sent home without any further treatment being administered. Jamie Lee was unable to remain in school the next day as she was suffering from further pain. The following day she had experienced pains in her stomach and had to go home from school.

Judge Groarke approved the offer which will remain in court funds until Jamie Lee’s 18th birthday.


Compensation for Car Accident Injuries Awarded in Court

A total of €37,500 compensation for car accident injuries has been awarded to two plaintiffs injured in the same accident by the Circuit Civil Court.

In November 2013, the two plaintiffs were travelling along the M1 in a recently-purchased Toyota, when the sun roof of their car blew off. Alarmed at the sudden noise – described as being “like a bomb going off in the car” – the driver of the Toyota braked sharply, causing all five adult occupants of the car to suffer whiplash-type injuries due to the sudden deceleration.

The driver of the car and her 72-year-old mother claimed compensation for car accident injuries against the company from which it had been purchased – Denis Mahony Limited of Kilbarrack Road in Dublin. They alleged in their legal action that their injuries were directly attributable to a fault with the sun roof that should have been identified in a pre-sale inspection.

The car dealership denied the sun roof was faulty and contested the claims for compensation for car accident injuries. However, at the Circuit Civil Court, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke heard from an independent car assessor, who found extensive corrosion of the remaining frame of the sun roof and testified the corrosion had made the car unsafe to drive and should have been identified before it was sold to the driver.

Judge Groarke also heard that the five adult occupants and two children in the car had been travelling to Newry for a pre-Christmas shopping expedition at the time of the accident. The driver had subsequently pulled in to an AppleGreen filling station and stuck a plastic sack over the hole in the roof, but the shopping trip had to be abandoned.

The judge said he accepted the sun roof flying off would have been a terrifying experience assuming that the car was travelling at 80-90kmph, and added he understood why the driver had applied the brakes so sharply. He found in favour of the plaintiffs and awarded the driver of the car €12,500 and her mother €25,000 compensation for car accident injuries.


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 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 €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.


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.


Injury Claim for Shards of Glass in a Dunnes Sauce Settled out of Court

A 22-year-old student, who made an injury claim for shards of glass in a Dunnes sauce, has resolved her legal action out of court for an undisclosed amount.

Amy Holden, from Ballybrack in County Dublin, made her injury claim for shards of glass in a Dunnes sauce after eating marinated pork chops that had been purchased from the Dunnes Stores in Cornelscourt in Dublin the previous day.

Amy alleged that on the 13th September 2013, she had bitten into one of the pork chops – that are sold already marinated – and felt something hard as she was chewing the meat. Amy felt a sudden pain in her mouth, and removed the meat to find several shards of glass.

As Amy was bleeding from cuts in her mouth, she was taken to St Colmcille´s Hospital in Loughlinstown; where she was given a tetanus injection and had an x-ray. Although the x-ray revealed no internal damage, Amy was advised to seek further medical attention if she started vomiting. Fortunately, the only injury that Amy later developed was a sore throat.

Amy made an application for assessment to the Injuries Board, but Dunnes Stores contested the allegations, and the Injuries Board issued Amy with an authorisation to pursue her injury claim for shards of glass in a Dunnes sauce in court.

As Amy was claiming €60,000 in compensation, the case was scheduled to be heard in the High Court. However, just prior to the start of the hearing, the court was told that following talks between the two parties, the injury claim for shards of glass in a Dunnes sauce had been resolved.

No details were provided about the settlement of Amy´s injury claim for shards of glass in a Dunnes sauce, other than it was agreed without an admission of liability.


€35K Compensation for Injuries in a Trampoline Accident

A seven-year-old schoolboy has been awarded €35,000 compensation for injuries in a trampoline accident after a previously negotiated settlement was refused by a judge.

Kevin Stokes from Lucan in County Dublin was playing on a trampoline in July 2012, when his leg went into a gap between the base and the frame. Kevin – who was just five years of age at the time – was taken to Our Lady´s Children´s Hospital, where x-rays revealed fractures to his fibula and tibia as a result of the trampoline accident.

Kevin was admitted to the hospital with a black slab cast surrounding his leg. Several days later the fractures were manipulated and Kevin´s leg was put into an above-the-knee cast. He was discharged from hospital in a wheelchair and the cast stayed in place for a further month.

After the cast was removed, Kevin needed to use a walking frame for several weeks, during which time he was unable to play with his friends and continued to experience pains in his leg. Through his mother – Margaret – Kevin made a claim for compensation for injuries in a trampoline accident against the shop from which the trampoline had been purchased – Smyths Toy Store.

After a forensic engineer had determined that the mechanism for securing the safety clip to the frame was inadequate, Smyths Toy Store acknowledged their liability, and a €25,000 settlement of compensation for injuries in a trampoline accident was negotiated.

However, at the Circuit Court in Dublin, Mr Justice Raymond Groake refused to approve the settlement – saying it was inadequate for the level of injury that Kevin had sustained. Smyths Toy Store increased its offer of compensation for injuries in a trampoline accident to €35,000 and, after hearing that Kevin had made a good recovery from his injuries, the judge approved the settlement.


Compensation for Property Damage Caused by Pyrite

The fund recently established for repairing homes damaged by a shift in the ground below their foundations is failing to provide adequate compensation for property damage caused by pyrite.

Despite the establishment of the Pyrite Resolution Board and €10 million funding to repair homes that have been damaged by pyrite, many homeowners have been excluded from claiming compensation for property damage caused by pyrite because they either live in the wrong areas or have suffered the “wrong” kind of damage.

The €10 million fund is only available to homeowners situated in Meath, Kildare, Offaly, Fingal or Dublin, who own properties that were built between January 1997 and July 2012, where it can be shown that “no other avenue of redress is available to the homeowner” – implying that a homeowner has already tried to claim compensation for pyrite property damage from their insurance company or the constructor of the property, but has been unable to do so.

Further exclusions apply to persons who own more than one property in the affected areas, owners of commercial properties or those who have already paid out of their own pocket to have work done to safeguard the structural integrity of their property. Furthermore no compensation for property damage caused by pyrite is available from the state for homeowners when damage to their homes is due to pyrite being present in the bricks or cement used to construct their properties.

In the claims for compensation for pyrite property damage received so far by the Pyrite Resolution Board, it would appear that many people have not sought compensation from their insurance company or the constructor of the property. This means that not only are the claims for pyrite property damage compensation being declined, but the condition of the affected properties is deteriorating further.

It is recommended that anybody (from any location in Ireland) who believes they may have a construction defect due to pyrite shift – or a defect attributable to pyrite being used in the construction of their home – speak with a solicitor at the earliest possible opportunity. Claims for compensation for property damage caused by pyrite are subject to time limits under the Statute of Limitations, and it is important that you do not lose your entitlement to compensation for pyrite property damage through hesitation.


Woman Allowed to Claim for Adverse Reaction to Steroids

A Cork woman has been granted permission to pursue her claim for an adverse reaction to steroids against the pharmaceutical company Pfizer after a High Court hearing.

Lorna Savage (43) from Cobh in County Cork started taking the steroid Deltacortril in 1997 when it was prescribed for her by her GP Dr. Michael Madigan and her consultant Dr. MG Molloy to treat vasculitis – a condition which damages blood vessels and causes a rash.

After using the steroid, Lorna developed a more serious condition – Avascular Necrosis – which results in the interruption of the blood supply causing bone tissue to die and the bone to collapse. By 2001, Lorna had to have both knees and a hip joint replaced. She is now confined to a wheelchair and relies on morphine to manage the continual pain she suffers.

Having sought legal advice, Lorna made a claim for the adverse reaction to the steroids; alleging that its manufacturer – Pfizer – had failed to provide adequate warning in the literature accompanying the tablets that their continued use could cause Avascular Necrosis, and that the company had failed to warn her about drinking alcohol when taking the steroid.

Lorna also made a claim for an adverse reaction to steroids against the estate of Dr Madigan (who died in 1999) and the Southern Health Board – who employed Dr Molloy at the Cork University Hospital – alleging that both doctors were negligent in prescribing the treatment for her, had failed to investigate her symptoms appropriately or suspect that she was developing Avascular Necrosis.

All three defendants denied their liability for Lorna´s adverse reaction and, in a pretrial motion, lawyers representing Pfizer attempted to get Lorna´s claim for an adverse reaction to steroids thrown out on the grounds of “an inordinate and inexcusable delay” in bringing her claim.

However, at the High Court, Mr Justice George Birmingham dismissed the application to strike out Lorna´s action – finding that the time lapse was excusable because Lorna had undergone multiple surgeries recently and had found it impossible to brief her solicitors. Judge Birmingham also noted that Avascular Necrosis is a well-established but rare side effect of Deltacortril and he said the case would be listed for a full court hearing later in the year.


Judge Upholds Combine Harvester Injury Claim against John Deere

A Supreme Court judge has upheld a High Court ruling in a combine harvester injury claim against John Deere – one of the world´s largest manufacturers of farm machinery.

In June 1995, thirty-year-old Denis Scollard was working for agricultural contractors Thomas and William Wright, collecting silage for various farmers in County Limerick and operating a John Deere 6810 combine harvester.

While operating the combine harvester, a grass blockage occurred; and Denis attempted to clear the obstacle via the inspection hatch. However, as he was doing so, the fingers of his left hand were crushed when the combine harvester´s paddles came down inside the chute.

Denis made a combine harvester injury claim in 1996 against his employers and received €430,000 personal injury compensation. Thomas and William Wright then made a claim against the companies from whom the machine was leased and supplied to recover what they had paid to Denis.

AIB Finance & Leasing and Geary’s Garage Ltd – respectively the leasing company and suppliers of the combine harvester – in turn sought indemnity from John Deere Ltd who are the manufacturers of the combine harvester.

John Deere Ltd denied any liability for Denis´ injuries and argued that the accident could not have occurred as claimed as the paddles would not have crushed Denis´ fingers if he had followed the instructions published in the combine harvester´s manual.

Their defence was that there was no scientific basis to explain how the paddles could have moved if Denis had disengaged the engine of the combine harvester as he claimed he had. However, at the High Court in December 2007, Ms Justice Mary Irvine found in favour of AIB Finance & Leasing and Geary’s Garage after hearing evidence from two eye witnesses and a medical expert.

The judge ruled that John Deere Ltd had been negligent by “designing, manufacturing and selling a combine harvester with a design defect” and she ordered them to settle the combine harvester injury claim; commenting that Denis´ injuries would have been far worse if the engine of the combine harvester had been engaged.

John Deere Ltd appealed the decision, and last week the case was heard at the Supreme Court before Mr Justice Frank Clarke. After hearing the case again, Judge Clarke upheld the High Court verdict that Denis´ injuries were a foreseeable consequence of negligence, and ordered John Deere Ltd to reimburse the €430,000 paid in settlement of Denis´ combine harvester injury claim.


Compensation for Faulty Poly Implant Prothese Breast Implants

A French court has ordered TUV Rheinland to compensate thousands of victims of faulty Poly Implant Prothese breast implants.

The German company TUV Rheinland was brought to the Commercial Court in Toulon in order to answer claims raised in a class action that it negligently awarded the faulty Poly Implant Prothese breast implants the European seal of approval, without noticing that the implants contained low grade industrial silicone instead of the higher grade gel that had been originally approved.

The class action was comprised of PIP breast implant victims from Britain, Ireland, France and South America; some of whom had sustained terrible injuries after the silicone gel from the implants leaked into their lymph nodes when the implants leaked or ruptured. One woman in France is acknowledged to have died due to the faulty Poly Implant Prothese breast implants.

TUV Rheinland´s legal team argued that they had been defrauded by Jean-Claude Mas – the founder of Poly Implant Prothese, who is waiting a verdict on the charge of aggravated fraud – and that their role had been to inspect the manufacturing process rather than the finished product. However, solicitors on behalf of the class action contested that TUV Rheinland failed to do its job properly and gave “global credibility” to a product which was clearly faulty.

After hearing evidence from both parties – during which time it emerged that the employee in charge of quality control had only a cookery diploma, while another in charge of the laboratory had previously trained as a pastry chef – judges at the Toulon court found that TUV Rheinland had “failed its obligations of checking, caution and vigilance” and awarded each claimant €3,000 with immediate effect for the removal of their faulty breast implants.

Future awards of up €13,000 for faulty Poly Implant Prothese breast implants could be made to each of the 17,000 plaintiffs subject to an individual assessment and an appeal against the settlement by TUV Rheinland to be heard early next year. If unsuccessful in their appeal, up to 400,000 other victims could claim compensation for faulty Poly Implant Prothese breast implants – suggesting that TUV Rheinland could be faced with a bill of €6.4 billion for their negligence.

Speaking after the verdict was announced, spokesperson for the PIP Action Campaign Group Jan Spivey said “It is a first important victory for PIP victims worldwide and especially those British victims who have received no help from the health service or the Government. It means that they can start to get the surgical help [to replace defective implants] that they urgently need.”

The verdict in France comes just over three weeks after the Irish Medicines Board released its latest update on the faulty Poly Implant Prothese breast implants:

“The Irish Medicines Board (IMB) notes the scientific opinion [from the European Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks] which states that ‘There is currently no convincing medical, toxicological or other data to justify removal of intact PIP implants as a precautionary approach. Implant removal in the absence of malfunction may be considered for women who are experiencing significant anxiety because they have a PIP breast implant. However, the decision to remove an intact PIP implant for this reason should be based on an individual assessment of the woman’s condition by her surgeon or other treating physician after consultation’.

Women with health enquiries about the faulty Poly Implant Prothese breast implants, should contact the IMB on 01 6764 971.

For more information about compensation for faulty Poly Implant Prothese breast implants, speak with a solicitor on 1-800 989 900.


DePuy ASR Hip Replacement Case Put Back Again

The twice-postponed DePuy ASR hip replacement court case has been put back in date again – this time after a change of plaintiff and a ruling about referring to the DePuy recall as evidence.

The first Federal DePuy ASR hip replacement case was delayed again last week after the parties in McCracken -v- DePuy (Case No 1:11 dp 20485) were allowed additional time by U.S. District Judge David A. Katz for discovery to take place and to deal with other legal matters.

The first `Bellwether` DePuy ASR hip replacement case has now been rescheduled for September 24th, and will revolve around the hip dislocation sustained by Ann McCracken (57) from Rochester in New York, which is alleged to have been due to metal particles displaced by her DePuy ASR XL Acetabular Hip Replacement System causing the soft tissues around her hip to decay.

Ann had a DePuy ASR XL Acetabular Hip Replacement System implanted in August 2009, but had to undergo revision surgery in January 2011 after she had suffered her dislocated hip. In October 2011, Ann had to undergo further surgery to insert a device restricting the movement of her hip, which has reduced her mobility and will result in her present hip replacement system wearing out quicker – resulting in another hip replacement operation in the future.

The latest delay is due to Judge Katz agreeing that the worldwide recall of the DePuy hip replacement systems should not be referred to in court – not only because the DePuy ASR hip replacement case to be heard on its individual merits, but DePuy´s lawyers successfully argued that any reference to the DePuy recall at trial might prevent other companies from voluntarily withdrawing potentially dangerous medical devices because of the legal consequences.

One of the purposes of this first ‘Bellwether’ DePuy ASR hip replacement case is to evaluate the relative strengths and weaknesses of the plaintiffs´ claims and DePuy Orthopaedic´s defence. If Ann´s case – and others still to be scheduled among the `Bellwether’ trials – results in a yardstick for compensation settlements, DePuy Orthopaedics are likely to negotiate settlement offers with the 7,800 plaintiffs also attached to this DePuy ASR hip replacement case through the consolidated multidistrict litigation (MDL).

If no compensation yardstick is established by the juries in each of the trials – or if there are both positive and negative verdicts returned – all of the remaining DePuy ASR hip replacement cases will be referred back to the US District Courts in which they were originally filed – each to be heard individually and prolonging the how long it will take for each plaintiff to receive a fair settlement of DePuy hip replacement injury compensation.

This second scenario would also have an impact on plaintiffs in Ireland who have made a claim for DePuy hip replacement injury compensation, as each DePuy ASR hip replacement case in Ireland would then have to go through the court process.


Compensation for Injury Caused by Broken Chair Awarded in Court

A Canberra woman, who made a claim for compensation for an injury caused by a broken chair at work, has had her claim resolved in court for more than AU$1 million.

Terry Anne Downie was employed as a team leader for the Community Information and Referral Service in the Australian Capital Territory when, in June 2002, she purchased furniture for her office from the ex-government furniture outlet – Fyshwick – including a chair for her own use at work.

In October of the same year, Terry Anne was sitting on the chair while using the telephone when two legs of the chair snapped and she fell to the floor. A co-worker who saw the accident said that she heard a loud crack and then witnessed Terry Anne struggling to get up.

Terry Anne was taken to hospital, where scans revealed that a bulging disc inflamed by the accident was in contact with a nerve root. Doctors were unable to fix the injury and Terry Anne – now 51 years of age – suffers from ongoing pain, mental illness, sexual dysfunction and a permanent sensation, described in court, of ants under the skin of her legs.

In 2005, Terry Anne was paid Au$190,000 in worker´s compensation for an injury caused by a broken chair at work but also made a private claim for personal injury compensation against the chair´s importer – Jantom – claiming that the product was faulty when it was supplied to Fyshwick. Terry Anne´s employers also made a claim against Jantom to recover the amount of worker´s compensation they had paid her.

At the Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court, Judge Master David Harper found in favour of Terry Anne and her employer after hearing expert evidence that plastic moulding on the base of the chair had failed in a catastrophic manner when two of five supporting spokes had broken.

The judge said “Terry Anne has many years ahead of pain and depression. Her life is very different to the life she could have expected if it had not been for her injury. Her enjoyment of life, and the kind of life she is able to lead, have been altered immeasurably.”

He awarded her Au$933,030 compensation for an injury caused by a broken chair at work plus a further Au$112,000 in special damages to cover her medical expenses. Terry Anne´s employer was also able to recover the compensation already paid to Terry Anne and the costs of raising the claim for an injury caused by a broken chair at work.


Outbreak of Hepatitis A Linked to Frozen Berries

An outbreak of hepatitis A has been linked to frozen berries imported from overseas according to a health warning issued by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI).

Ten cases of hepatitis A have recently been confirmed in Ireland, and five of these have been attributed to eating imported frozen berries according to studies conducted by the FSAI, the National Virus Reference Laboratory, the Health Protection Surveillance Centre and the Health Service Executive.

In Italy a similar outbreak of hepatitis A has been linked to frozen berries – particularly berry mixes which contain blueberries, raspberries, redcurrants, blackberries and strawberries – and advice from the FSAI is that all frozen berries should be boiled for at least one minute to destroy the virus if it is present.

The current outbreak of hepatitis A linked to frozen berries comes less than a year after 11,000 German students were contaminated with the virus after eating frozen strawberries across a number of German schools, and health chiefs are taking the threat of the virus spreading in Ireland very seriously.

A further outbreak of hepatitis A in Scandinavia was recorded earlier this year, and although a different strain of the virus was identified, the common denominator among the 16 victims was that they had recently eaten imported frozen berries. A similar case is under investigation in the United States where 117 people have been diagnosed with hepatitis A across nine different states.

The Symptoms of Hepatitis A

The symptoms of hepatitis A usually appear 2-6 weeks after exposure to the virus. Typically they will include a loss of appetite, nausea, fever, abdominal pain and jaundice, and – because the virus attacks the liver – doctors warn against taking alcohol or foods that the liver will find difficult to break down while a victim is suffering from hepatitis A.

If you are suffering any of these symptoms, you should seek a medical examination and a blood test from your GP. The symptoms may only last one to two weeks, but they have been known to persist for months – especially in the elderly and in those with compromised immune defences. Once the virus has taken hold, there is no cure. Victims will have to take pain relief and eat and drink “sensibly” until the virus has left their system.

Thereafter, you should speak with a solicitor with regard to claiming compensation for the outbreak of hepatitis A linked to frozen berries. It may be possible to recover compensation for your pain and suffering, loss of amenity and loss of income from the supplier of the contaminated berries – whether it is a shop, supermarket or from a retailer that has sold you a product made with the contaminated berries.

Update September 2014:

The FSAI has re-issued its advice to boil frozen berries due to a hepatitis A threat after the number of confirmed cases of hepatitis A linked to frozen berries in Ireland suddenly increased to twenty-one.  


Judge Upholds DePuy Hip Replacement Settlement

A Californian judge has upheld the DePuy hip replacement settlement of $8.3 million awarded by a Los Angeles jury to Loren Kransky and denied the company their request for a new trial.

Loren Kransky (65) from South Dakota was awarded the DePuy hip replacement settlement after a hearing at the Los Angeles Superior Court in March this year, in which the jury had found DePuy Orthopaedics negligent for supplying the plaintiff with a faulty ASR XL Acetabular hip replacement system and awarded the former prison office $8.3 million compensation for a faulty hip implant.

DePuy Orthopaedics´ parent company – Johnson & Johnson – appealed the decision and requested that a new trial be held on the grounds that “the court did not let the company tell the jury about the Food & Drug Administration’s review and clearance of the device”. However, Judge J. Stephen Czuleger upheld the jury´s verdict and said that the plaintiff had provided enough evidence during the original trial to establish that the products were defective in design.

The judge´s decision to deny DePuy Orthopaedics a re-trial has prompted Johnson and Johnson to delay the Multi District Litigation (MDL) being heard in Ohio, by filing a motion requesting that any DePuy hip replacement settlements awarded in the case are based on typical injury compensation awards in the company´s home state of Indiana – where compensation settlements are much lower than the national average.

Johnson and Johnson are also preparing to defend a second MDL in Texas; where more than 4,000 claims brought by plaintiffs complaining of defects in DePuy´s Pinnacle hip replacement system have been brought together in one action. The first of the DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement compensation claims is scheduled to be heard in September 2014.The company recently announced that it would discontinue manufacturing and selling the allegedly faulty Pinnacle hip replacement system from August this year.


MDL DePuy Faulty Hip Replacement Cases to be Heard in May

The first Multi District Litigation (MDL) DePuy faulty hip replacement cases – which will establish a benchmark of how much compensation for a faulty DePuy hip replacement many thousands of plaintiffs should be entitled to receive – have been set to be heard in May and July.

The announcement that the first “Bellwether” trial of Faye Dorney-Madgitz v DePuy Orthopaedics (MDL2197) will be heard in May at the Ohio Northern District Court in Cleveland was made by Judge David A. Katz; who also revealed that a secondary case – Ann McCracken v DePuy Orthopaedics – will be scheduled for July 2013 in the event that the Dorney-Madgitz v DePuy faulty hip replacement case is settled before it goes to trial.

The setting of the two trial dates is expected to increase DePuy Orthopaedics´ attempts to negotiate a settlement with plaintiffs in the Multi District Litigation (MDL), after the company successfully settled three DePuy revision surgery claims in Nevada for approximately $200,000 each. If the “Bellwether” Dorney-Madgitz v DePuy faulty hip replacement case proceeds to court, future settlements of DePuy faulty hip replacement compensation could be influenced by the verdict of the jury.

Whereas a low trial settlement of the DePuy faulty hip replacement case would be advantageous to DePuy Orthopaedics and their parent company Johnson & Johnson, should the jury in Cleveland award substantial damages in the case against Faye Dorney-Madgitz, this would set a benchmark for all future claims against DePuy for faulty hip replacements and painful revision surgery.

It may not be too late to initiate DePuy faulty hip replacement claims for compensation in Ireland if you have undergone revision surgery within the past two years or suffered any form of injury due to the recalled DePuy ASR hip replacement systems. Call our 24-hour helpline for more information.


Judge Approves DePuy Knee Replacement Compensation

A judge in Australia has approved a settlement of DePuy knee replacement compensation following a class action suit brought following the recall of the DePuy LCS Duofix Femoral implants.

More than 5,000 DePuy LCS Duofix Femoral implants were implanted in patients in Australia prior to the recall in July 2009 due to a higher than expected failure rate. In March 2010, Pamela Casey became the lead plaintiff in a class action suit against DePuy seeking DePuy knee replacement compensation and, on 29 August 2012, a provisional settlement of the DePuy knee replacement class action was agreed.

Under the terms of the provisional agreement, DePuy are to pay plaintiffs who underwent one revision to the faulty knee implant but required no further surgery A$30,000. Plaintiffs who needed two or more surgical procedures after their initial revision surgery will be paid A$65,000, and plaintiffs who have suffered significant complications due to the faulty knee implants will have their claims for DePuy knee replacement compensation assessed on an individual basis.

At the Federal Court in Melbourne, Justice Robert Buchanan formally approved the compensation settlement following a review period during which he received 430 inquiries into the proposed DePuy compensation agreement. He said that the few complaints about the settlement he received during the review period did not give him sufficient reason to delay from approving the DePuy knee replacement compensation class action agreement.

Further class action suits against DePuy are ongoing in respect of the recalled DePuy ASR hip replacement systems.


DePuy Revision Surgery Claims Settled Out of Court

Three DePuy revision surgery claims – intended to be the first cases to be heard by a jury relating to the recalled ASR hip replacements – have been settled out of court in Nevada.

The three plaintiffs – Annelise Rundle (74), Martha Bender (69) and Katherine Guy (60) from Las Vegas in Nevada – all required revision surgery after being recipients of failed DePuy ASR hip replacement systems in the past six years. It is reported that each has receive a settlement of approximately $200,000 – although this has not been confirmed by either the plaintiffs or by DePuy Orthopaedics Inc.

In their combined claim for DePuy revision surgery compensation, evidence had been made available to DePuy Orthopaedics Inc which revealed permanent bone damage caused by the devices and – in the case of Annelise Rundle – other health issues had developed which were attributable to the metal filings which had been displaced from the faulty hip replacement.

The settlement of the DePuy revision surgery claims came as no surprise as DePuy have a substantial number of claims scheduled against them and will wish to save the court costs of defending the claims made against the company or arguing for a limited assessment of damages. However, how much compensation for DePuy revision surgery was agreed upon has surprised some industry observers.

Professor Eric Gordon, a pharmaceutical industry expert from the University of Michigan, said “J&J [Johnson & Johnson – DePuy Orthopaedics´ parent company] should have expected to pay in the $200,000-to-$500,000 range per case” and he believes that the company will have been satisfied with the outcome of the DePuy revision surgery claims settlement, considering that there are more than 2,000 claims outstanding in the States of California, Maryland and Nevada, and 6,000 more consolidated into a Multi District Litigation (MDL) scheduled to commence in the spring of 2013.

Johnson and Johnson would not comment on whether they were intending to settle future DePuy revision surgery claims prior to other scheduled court hearings.

It may not be too late to initiate claims for DePuy revision surgery compensation in Ireland if you have undergone revision surgery within the past two years or suffered any form of injury due to the recalled DePuy ASR hip replacement systems. Call our 24-hour helpline for more information.


Baby Chairs Recalled due to Claims of Bumbo Seat Injury

Following complaints and reports of injury made to the American Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) a popular series of baby chairs have been recalled due to claims of Bumbo seat injury.

The chairs – which are manufactured for babies aged from 3 months to 10 months – are sold in Ireland through various retail outlets and online stores for around 40 Euros, but have been found to be unstable when used by active children and have lead to several serious injuries when babies have rocked from side-to-side or leant backwards.

Marketed in Ireland as Bumbo Baby Sitters, Bumbo Baby Chairs and Bumbo Baby Chairs, the product was originally withdrawn in 2007 after it was found that parents in the US were placing their new-born children at risk by leaving them unattended and unrestrained in the Bumbo chairs placed on a table. More than twenty reports of infants sustaining injuries due to falling out of Bumbo Baby Chairs were received by the CPSC – including two of a fractured skull injury.

Since the product was re-introduced into the States, more than four million sitters have been sold. However, the application of a label advising parents that the Bumbo baby Seats should not be used at height has not stopped the complaints from continuing. Between 2007 and 2011 the CPSC received more than 50 reports of injuries to children due to using the Bumbo Baby Sitters – with a further 19 skull fractures recorded.

In November 2011, when it was learned that a number of these skull fracture injuries were sustained by children seated on the floor, the CPSC issued a health warning advising parents to be vigilant whenever they placed their children into a Bumbo Baby Seat. This further warning failed to stop Bumbo Baby Sitter accidents from occurring, and now the manufacturer has recalled the baby seats – with the CPSC issuing instructions that they should not be used until a repair kit which includes a safety harness has been obtained from Bumbo International.

In Ireland, parents should also stop sitting their children in the faulty chairs until a restraint has been received from the vendor from whom the sitter was purchased. Although the baby chair recall has not yet been extended to Ireland, parents of children who have sustained an injury due to a faulty chair should contact a solicitor to discuss their right to claim for Bumbo Seat Injury Compensation.


Tassimo Recall: Compensation for Burns Likely to Follow

Claims for Tassimo recall compensation are likely to follow the withdrawal of the popular coffee making machine in Canada and the United States, following the revelation that the machine´s T-disc – the plastic coffee container – could explode and shower bystanders with scalding water.

Burn injuries which were brought to the attention of the American Consumer Product Safety Commission included those sustained by a two-year-old girl, who received second-degree burns to her face after being splattered by hot water and coffee granules, and the case of a ten-year-old girl from Minnesota, whose burns to her face and neck were so severe that she required emergency hospital treatment.

In total, more than 160 personal injuries have been reported to the American Consumer Product Safety Commission, including thirty-seven cases of second-degree burns which required hospital treatment. The Consumer Product Safety Commission launched an investigation and discovered a design fault. As a result, more than 1.7 million Tassimo coffee making machines have now been recalled along with more than four million Gevalia, Maxwell House and Nabob espresso T-discs still believed to be in circulation

At the present time in Ireland, there has been no announcement made of a Tassimo recall. Compensation claims, however, can still be made if a person is scalded or burned by a Tassimo coffee making machine, subject to the circumstances through which the victim received their injury. Claims for Tassimo recall compensation should be made against the manufacturers – BSH Home Appliances Corporation of Irvine, California – with the assistance of a personal injury solicitor.


IKEA High Chair Recall: Your Right to Injury Compensation

Following the discovery of a design fault in the belts of “Antilop” high chairs, an IKEA high chair recall has been announced for all “Antilop” high chair belts purchased between 2007 and 2011.

 The IKEA high chair recall follows reports to the company of the restraining belt on the high chair opening unexpectedly and presenting the risk of a child falling from the seat. At least three children are known to have sustained injuries due to the faulty product – entitling their parents to make IKEA high chair injury compensation claims on their behalf.

 Throughout the world, an estimated 1.2 million IKEA high chairs are affected by this design fault, potentially developing into a significant number of IKEA high chair injury claims. Parents concerned about the safety of their high chair should look on the underside of the chair for the supplier number (#17389) and a production date between 0607 and 0911.

It is not only IKEA who may be liable for injuries sustained due to faulty belts on the “Antilop” high chairs. Business premises such as restaurants and crèches which provide “Antilop” high chairs for their clients´ use may also be liable if a child sustains an injury on their premises due to the proprietor failing to take action following the IKEA high chair recall.

Parents of children who have been injured due to these faulty belts have a right to claim IKEA high chair injury compensation through the Injuries Board, but are advised to seek advice from a personal injury solicitor experienced in product liability claims beforehand.


Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) Recall in Ireland

For PIP implant information, contact the Irish Medicines Board on 01 6764 971.

An estimated 1,500 women could be facing an uncertain New Year, and seeking advice on breast implant compensation claims, following the latest developments in relation to the Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) Recall in Ireland.

Advice provided at the time of the initial recall in March 2010 by the Irish Medicines Board was for women concerned about their PIP breast implants to speak with their original implanting surgeon and undergo an ultrasound scan if it was felt that the integrity of the breast implant sac had been compromised.

However, following the death of a woman in France from anaplastic large cell lymphoma and a high profile social media campaign by women who are witnessing unusual illnesses, the French government has now advised all women who received the recalled breast implants to have them removed.

The French government´s concern may be justified. After the recall of the PIP breast implants for a higher than usual rate of rupture, it was discovered that the silicone gel inside of the implant sacs was not the same medicinal grade that had been passed by the French health and safety authorities, but a cheap substitute which is more commonly used in the manufacture of mattresses.

Although the breast implant recall in Ireland only affects women who underwent cosmetic surgery for aesthetic purposes, many of the potential victims could be entitled to make breast implant compensation claims to cover the cost of removing the recall breast implants, the unnecessary pain and suffering that a further operation would cause and for the emotional trauma this scenario has created – both prior to surgery and thereafter.

 Note: The breast implant recall in Ireland affects an estimated 1,500 patients who received Poly Implant Prothese breast implants from January 2001 to March 2010 at the following clinics:-

  • Shandon Street Hospital in Cork
  • Clane Hospital in County Kildare
  • Harley Medical Clinic in Dublin

In all cases where you suspect that you may have a Poly Implant Prothese breast implant, seek medical attention at the earliest possible opportunity.

For PIP implant information, contact the Irish Medicines Board on 01 6764 971.


Falling Object in Shop Results in 25,000 Euro Compensation

A falling objecting in a shop has resulted in a €25,000 compensation award in the Circuit Civil Court.

Breeda Redican of Donabate, County Dublin, was injured in July 2009 when a tin of paint fell on her foot from a shelf at the Homebase store in Santry, County Dublin. The accident happened when Redican requested help finding a specific type of paint from a sales assistant. The assistant pointed out the location of the paint on a shelf at face level height but simply stood beside Redican while she attempted to left the can of paint.  The can of paint was 2.5 litters and handle on the tin was not visible because the tins were closed packed together. Redican was unable to heavy paint tin and it slipped and fell on her right foot.  Redican was earring flip-flops and required stitching on her toes. Redican has suffered ongoing reduced mobility in her foot with some pain.

Homebase denied any negligence but Judge Jacquline Linnane awarded €25,000 compensation.


Child Awarded 20,000 Euros in Severed Fingertip Claim

A three year old girl, who lost the tip of her fingertip in a nursery pushchair accident, has had a product liability compensation settlement of 20,000 Euros approved in the Circuit Civil Court.
Roisin Longo of South Finglas, County Dublin, was just two years of age when her fingertip was sliced off in the hinge mechanism of her MacLaren Techno XT while she was attending Mellow Spring Childcare Development Centre in Finglas West.
Fast acting staff at the crèche found the fingertip and packed it ice so that her mother, Ms Elaine Deans, could take Roisin to hospital and attempt to have the amputated fingertip sewn back on.
However, as Circuit Court President Mr Justice Matthew Deery heard, the best efforts of surgeons at Temple Street Children´s Hospital could not prevent the tissue dying and the fingertip eventually falling off.
After seeking legal advice, Ms Deans discovered that revealed the pushchair model had been recalled in the United States, and repair kits issued to customers due to acknowledged problems with the hinge mechanism. Even though the pushchair had been manufactured in England, and conformed to British and EU safety standards, Ms Deans filed a claim for product liability compensation against MacLaren Europe Limited, of Northampton, England.
Without accepting liability, MacLaren Europe Limited had made a settlement offer of 20,000 Euros – a settlement offer which Roisin´s mother was prepared to accept and which Mr Justice Matthew Deery had pleasure in approving.


Award Approved for Argos Sofa Rash

A six year old girl has had a compensation settlement approved in the Circuit Civil Court after developing a skin condition due to chemicals used in the manufacture of a sofa.
Mr Justice Matthew Deery heard in court how Holly David of Clonee, County Dublin, was just two years old when her family purchased the sofa in 2006 from Argos Ltd. Holly and her family started to develop skin problems and tingly rashes shortly after the purchase of the sofa, and Holly had to receive medical treatment for dermatitis.
Holly’s family replaced the sofa, which was later discovered to contain the mould inhibitor dimethyl fumarate – a chemical which has subsequently been banned in the EU for use in sofas, and which prompted Argos Ltd to recall the product in 2009.
Holly’s mother, Gabriela, sought legal advice and an application was made to the Injuries Board Ireland for compensation on the grounds of product liability. The Injuries Board assessed Holly’s case and recommended damages of 10,000 Euros – a figure accepted by both Holly’s family and Argos Ltd, but one which had to be approved in court due to Holly being a minor.


British Orthopaedic Association Heightens DePuy Failure Rate Fears

Research published by the British Orthopaedic Association indicates that as many as 49% of the DePuy ASR Hip Replacement Systems implanted in Ireland since 2003 could fail within the next six years.
Orthopaedic surgeons at the British Hip Society Annual Conference in Torquay this month considered the topic of large diameter metal-on-metal –bearing total hip replacement systems, with particular attention to the DePuy ASR hip replacement recall.
In Ireland, 3516 people received the faulty hip replacement system and, in figures which contradict assurances given by the Health Service Executive, it was announced that new projected failure rates for the DePuy ASR hip replacement systems are 35% within four years and 49% within six years.
The surgeons also recommended that patients being monitored for potential hip replacement system failure should have MRI or CT scans to detect any collection of fluid around the hip area, or the presence of cobalt or chromium ions which can lead to neurosurgical problems.
The publication also confirmed that revision surgery for DePuy ASR hip replacement systems can be more complicated than the original implant when soft tissue damage has been sustained, and that specialist hip reconstruction surgery may be required in these instances.
These findings add further weight to lawsuits and class actions currently going through the courts in the United States, where over 500 people have already filed compensation claims against DePuy Orthopaedics Inc.


DePuy Hip Implant Revision Surgery Commences

The Health Service Executive (HSE) has reported that the first revision surgeries for patients implanted with the recalled DePuy ASR Hip Replacement Systems have now commenced.
3,516 people in Ireland had received these faulty hip replacement systems between 2003 and their withdrawal from the market last year due to a “higher than expected” failure rate. Originally the HSE estimated that the failure rate in Ireland would be around 12% in total, however new research by the British Orthopaedic Association has suggested that the failure rate of DePuy ASR Hip Replacement Systems in Ireland could be as high as 49% within six years.
The HSE also claimed in their report that all affected patients had been contacted, and would have now had their initial recall appointment to x-ray the existing implant and have a blood sample taken to check for microscopic metallic wear debris. Some patients have also undergone MRI scans to check for neurological problems caused by cobaltism.
The vast majority of patients are not expected to need revision surgery straight away, but should continue to be monitored with annual reviews for the next five years. Clinical assessments and revision surgery are being provided free of charge, with hospitals recouping the cost of any treatment from DePuy Orthopaedics.
Questions are still being asked about why the HSE did not act sooner than August of last year to alert patients about the problems with the faulty DePuy hip replacement system, and legal test cases are still in progress in The States to determine whether DePuy should pay product liability compensation. The HSE also faces potential claims for medical negligence.


Injured Cyclist Awarded 48,000 Euros for Repair Negligence

A cyclist, who went over the handlebars of his mountain bike shortly after collecting it from a bicycle repair shop, has been awarded 48,000 Euros in damages.
Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne heard how Piotr Lizanowicz (27) of Rathgar, County Dublin, had left his mountain bike with Hollingsworth Cycles Limited, Templeogue Village, Dublin, to have the brakes fixed and broken spokes repaired.
On collecting the bike in April 2009, and paying 54,00 Euros for the service, Mr. Lizanowicz was cycling along the Terenure Road when he heard a noise coming from the front wheel which subsequently locked – throwing Mr. Lizanowicz over the handlebars of his bike and fracturing his elbow.
It was claimed in court that when the front wheel tyre was re-inflated, no check was made to ensure that the tyre and inner tubing were seated correctly within the rim of the wheel. This led to the inner tube popping out while the bike was in motion, obstructing the front wheel from rotating and causing the accident.
Mr. Lizanowicz consequently sued Hollingsworth Cycles Limited for alleged negligence and breach of contract relating to repairs carried out on the bike. Hollingsworth Cycles Limited denied the allegations and challenged the sequence of events, claiming that Mr. Lizanowicz had fabricated the story to get money out of the company.
Having heard both sets of arguments and expert reports, Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne ruled in favour of Mr. Lizanowicz and included in her award of settlement an amount of 7,000 Euros for aggravated damages, stating that the defence had unambiguously made the allegation of fraud against the plaintiff.


Class Action Suits Proposed by European Commission

The European Commission is relaunching the debate about class action suits (also called collective redress) for faulty product in the European Union with the objective of developing common standards across the 27 member countries. Three EU commissioners, justice commissioner Viviane Reding, competition commissioner Joaquín Almunia and consumer commissioner John Dalli, have drafted a paper on the subject and will be launching public consultations in November.

The Financial TImes has today revealed some of the issues covered in the briefing paper, including making class actions cheaper than individual claims, financing class action suits, consensual resolutions through mediation, enforcing judgements throughout the EU, and avoiding abusive litigation.

A previous attempt to introduce EU-wide rules failed due to strong lobbying by business groups worried about potential costs.

As with other EU countries, current legislation in Ireland makes it very difficult to pursue class action suits.