€37k award for Woman in Sexual Harrassment Case

The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) has awarded a €37,000 payout to a woman who claim that she was sexually harassed and had felt pressurised to massage antibiotic cream into her employer’s back and groin.

The woman, a former food service worker, took a legal action in relation to the the payment of wages, unfair dismissal and sexual harassment against her previous employer. The claims were found to be credible by the adjudication officer presiding over the case. The officer also disregarded  the findings of an investigator, who was hired by the employer, who had found that there was no bullying or harassmen previously.

The woman in question advised the WRC that she was subjected to “ongoing bullying and harassment and intolerable working conditions during the course of her employment which had a detrimental effect on her health and well-being”. It was claimed that she worked 25-30 hours a week but was only paid €200 regardless of the hours that she worked.

Additionally, she advised her solicitor that there had been attempts to bribe her into withdrawing her complaints and also that her previous co-employees were obstructed from speaking out on her behalf. She claimed that she was diagnosed with a mental health condition, and was on medication for depression while employed in the role.

The WRC was advised by a witness that the employer “deliberately belittled and put down the claimant”, while another witness stated it was “common knowledge that the claimant was on medication for her mental health issues and that the respondent was constantly on her back and that she was often crying”.

The case for defence rested on the evidence of an investigator that the employer hired when the woman requested her P45 in September 2015. Despite concerns regarding the impartiality of the investigator the woman agreed to the review being carried out.

The WRC adjudicator upheld the claim of sexual harassment, and awarded the complainant in question €17,450. Overall she was awarded €37,450 sexual harassment compensation.


Success for Couple Contesting Mortgage Interest Rate Increase

A North Dublin couple, who are contesting a mortgage interest rate increase, have been told by a High Court judge that he is instructing the Financial Services Ombudsman to look again at a decision made in their complaint against the Danske Bank.

Kenneth and Donna Millar of Portmarnock, County Dublin, initiated legal action against the Financial Services Ombudsman after a failed complaint against their mortgage lender – Danske Bank. The Millars had complained to the Ombudsman that Danske Bank had increased the interest rates on their six variable rate buy-to-let mortgages and on the mortgage on their family home to 4 percent – at a time when the interest rates set by the Central European Bank were at an all-time low.

They argued that the bank was only entitled to change the rate of their variable interest mortgages “in line with general market interest rates” as was stated in their mortgage contract. However, when they started contesting the mortgage interest rate increase with Danske Bank in November 2011, the Millars were told that the bank did not receive any funding from the European Central Bank and so their interest rates were irrelevant.

The Millars also referred the Ombudsman to an explanatory note on the National Irish Bank website (now taken over by Danske Bank) from March 2009 which stated “the interest rate you pay on a National Irish Bank variable rate home loan changes in line with any fluctuations in general interest rates. When interest rates go down your monthly payments do likewise. However, when interest rates rise, your monthly payments will increase too”.

The Ombudsman rejected the Millar´s complaint on the basis that clause 3 of their mortgage contracts stated that the bank would alter the rate “in response to market conditions” and not “in line with general market interest rates”. The Ombudsman also agreed with the bank that it was not obliged to disclose the basis on which their mortgage interest rates were calculated or how they were risk-assessed.

However, at the High Court, Mr Justice Gerard Hogan found that the clause was ambiguous in the “general factual background against which the contract was entered into” (the full text of the verdict can be read here). The Judge set aside the Ombudsman´s decision and instructed the Ombudsman to look again at the Millar´s complaint against the Danske Bank “in a manner not inconsistent with this judgement”.

The Implications of Millar -v- Financial Services Ombudsman

Variable interest rate mortgages like the Millar´s account for approximately 207,000 mortgages in Ireland – almost 30 percent of the mortgage market – but whether or not Judge Hogan´s verdict in Millar -v- Financial Services Ombudsman will enable other property owners to start contesting a mortgage interest rate increase is not clear.

The Millar´s appeal was upheld because of the ambiguous way in which their mortgage agreements were constructed, and not because the judge found that the bank had done anything wrong. Mr Justice Gerard Hogan neither ruled that Danske Bank were in breach of contract nor instructed Danske Bank to reveal how the Millars were assessed for their level of risk – significant inasmuch as the Millars have never been in arrears with their mortgage repayments. Consequently we believe that the implications of Millar -v- Financial Services Ombudsman are that contesting a mortgage interest rate increase will involve an understanding of complex contract law.

If you are one of the 207,000 variable rate mortgage holders in Ireland and you would like to know more about how to contest a mortgage interest rate increase, you are invited to call our 24-Hour helpline or request free expert advice about contesting a mortgage interest rate increase by completing your details in the form at the side of the page.


Judge Clears Way for After the Event Insurance Claims

A High Court judge has cleared the way for after the event insurance to be offered to plaintiffs to protect them from exposure to legal costs when making a personal injury claim.

After the event insurance (often abbreviated to “ATE insurance”) is a policy taken out when plaintiffs make a personal injury claim, to protect them from the legal costs of the defendant should the claim be unsuccessful. No premium is charged until the result of the case is established, and only if the plaintiff is successful is the premium paid at all -when it is usually deducted from an award of compensation.

Recently the provision of after the event insurance was challenged in court, when the defendant claimed that it was unlawful due to being contrary to the “law of champerty”.

The law of champerty makes it illegal for a third party to provide financial support to either party in a court case when the third party has no direct or legitimate interest, or to provide financial support in return for a share of any resulting compensation settlement.

It was argued that, by providing insurance against potential legal costs – and by deducting the insurance premium from a compensation settlement – insurance companies and solicitors offering after the event insurance were acting unlawfully.

Judge Hogan reviewed how after the event insurance works, and found that the provision of insurance did not contravene laws relating to “trafficking in litigation” (where the third party´s only motive in supporting the litigation was to derive profit), and that it serves an important purpose by allowing access to justice to persons who might otherwise be denied that justice.

The significance of Judge Hogan´s decision is that it clears away the grey area of whether after the event insurance is lawful when taken out to protect a claimant from exposure to legal costs, and also that solicitors who fail to offer claimants the option of ATE insurance could subsequently be sued for malpractice if adverse orders for costs are made against uninsured plaintiffs.


Woman Settles Compensation Claim for Hair Colouring Rash

A woman, who had to take steroids and antihistamines for an irritable rash that developed after a visit to the hairdressers, has settled her compensation claim for a hair colouring rash out of court.

Thirty-three year old Grainne Moynihan – a sales executive from Dublin – made her compensation claim for a hair colouring rash following a visit to Coiffeur Salons Ltd, trading as Dylan Bradshaw, in William Street South, Dublin on 11th November 2010.

Grainne alleged in the action against her hairdresser that, following a haircut and hair colouring treatment, she developed an allergic reaction on her ears, neck and scalp which had manifested as an itchy and irritable rash.

In her compensation claim for a hair colouring rash, Grainne stated that she had to seek medical attention after the rash developed, and that she had been prescribed oral steroids and antihistamine medication.

Dylan Bradshaw denied that the treatment Grainne had received was responsible for her rash developing or that they had been negligent in any way. The company entered a full defence against the claim which was due to be heard by Judge Matthew Deery at the Circuit Civil Court.

However, before the scheduled hearing was due to begin, Judge Deery was informed that an undisclosed settlement of Grainne´s compensation claim for a hair colouring rash had been agreed and that the case could be struck off.


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.


High Court Awards Compensation for a Failed Sterilisation

The High Court has awarded a mother €100,000 compensation for a failed sterilisation after the son she was never supposed to give birth to died after only six months of life.

Karen Hurley-Ahern (41) from Newcastlewest, County Limerick, underwent the sterilisation procedure in February 2001 after discovering from her GP that she had a rare blood-clotting disorder that would pose a risk to herself and her unborn child if ever she were to fall pregnant again.

The operation was performed by gynaecologist Dr Victor Moore at the Tralee General Hospital in County Kerry, but in April 2002 Karen fell pregnant again and, after a difficult pregnancy, gave birth to baby Samuel on 10th October 2002 – six weeks early and by emergency Caesarean section.

Samuel suffered from severe abnormalities which were unrelated to Karen´s sterilisation procedure, and remained in hospital for six months – kept alive by a series of life -support machines. In April 2003, Samuel suffered a severe heart attack and Karen and her partner – Garrett Ahern – made the painful decision to switch off the life-support machines.

After seeking legal advice, Karen and Garrett made a claim for failed sterilisation compensation against Dr Moore and the Southern Health Board (now the Health Service Executive), for the suffering and trauma the couple had been through due to the unsuccessful procedure.

Dr Moore and the HSE denied liability – claiming that the procedure had been performed correctly and the couple had been warned that there was a risk of failure. However, in the High Court in Dublin, Mr Justice Sean Ryan found in favour of the now-separated claimants – acknowledging that Samuel´s disability was not a consequence of the failed sterilisation procedure, but stating that Karen had suffered to a significant extent due to the defendant´s negligence.

Awarding Karen €100,000 compensation for a failed sterilisation, Mr Justice Sean Ryan said that the award of compensation was in respect of the worry she had experienced when she discovered she was pregnant, the pain of childbirth, the distress of Samuel´s condition and distress after his death. However, no award was made to Garrett as – according to Mt Justice Sean Ryan – while he had undoubtedly endured emotional anguish, there was no proof Garrett had suffered a defined psychiatric injury.


Claim for Plastic Surgery Errors Settled for Undisclosed Sum

A woman, who was just hours from death after contracting an infection during a breast enlargement operation, has had her claim for plastic surgery errors settled for an undisclosed sum.

Kate Murray (28) from Dun Laoghaire, Dublin, made her claim for plastic surgery errors after undergoing surgery at the Cosmedico Clinic in Kilmacanogue, County Wicklow on 15th March 2008; within three days of which she had started to experience pains across her abdomen and chest and started vomiting.

On 20th March, Kate returned to the clinic, where she was examined by her surgeon – Marco Loiacono – and advised that there were no signs of infection. However Kate was forced to return to the clinic each day for the next five days to have her wounds dressed, as they were seeping yellow-green fluid and blisters were developing on other areas of her breasts.

On none of these latter occasions was Kate attended to by Mr Loiacono, and it was not until the 31st March that Loiacono acknowledged that something may have gone wrong during the original plastic surgery. An emergency operation was organised and Kate´s breast implants were removed that evening.

However, Kate continued to suffer severe pain and, on 3rd April, Kate´s mother summoned her GP. The GP had Kate rushed to St. Vincent´s University Hospital where doctors discovered a severe infection on her chest, in her back and in her stomach.

Kate was diagnosed with such a severe case of “sepsis and extreme infection” that, at a later Irish Medical Council´s Fitness to Practice committee, consultant surgeon Denis Evoy testified that the infection could have killed Kate if she had been hospitalised nine hours later.

Mr Loiacono was barred from practising medicine by the Irish Medical Council in 2011 after he was found guilty of professional misconduct and, although she has to still go through many years of reconstructive surgery, Kate made a claim for plastic surgery errors against both Mr Loiacono and the Cosmedico Clinic.

With liability already established, the High Court was due to hear Kate´s claim for plastic surgery errors for the assessment of damages only but, with neither Kate nor Mr Loiacono present in court, the announcement was made that the case had been settled for an undisclosed sum.


Could UK-style IRSA Mis-Selling Claims be Seen in Ireland?

Following the Central Bank of Ireland´s naming of six Irish banks over the PPI insurance scandal, speculation has increased that businesses may soon be able to make IRSA mis-selling claims in Ireland.

At the beginning of October, the Central Bank of Ireland (CBI) named and shamed six of Ireland´s leading high street banks over the mis-selling of payment protection insurance (PPI) policies on loans, credit cards and overdraft facilities; opening the doors for ordinary citizens in Ireland to make PPI insurance claims for compensation.

However, inasmuch as the mis-selling of PPI insurance is one of the biggest banking scandals of our time, a much larger financial headache could be facing Ireland´s banking industry should the CBI acknowledge that there has been widespread mis-selling of complex Interest Rate Swap Agreements (IRSAs) to small and medium sized Irish businesses.

In the UK, the Financial Services Authority have already identified eleven British banks who knowingly mis-sold more than 40,000 of these policies to business customers on the premise that it would protect the businesses from financial exposure if interest rates on loans the businesses had taken out with the banks began to rise.

The policies were mostly sold between 2005 and 2008, at a time when bank interest rates were at their lowest since 1955. However, since then, bank interest rates have fallen even further – leaving thousands of UK businesses tied into loan agreements which have cost them billions of pounds in interest payments.

Although the offending banks have been told to conduct a “redress exercise and past business review”, many of the banks have appointed their own “independent reviewers” to oversee the refund of mis-sold IRSAs, and business owners are being advised to seek professional legal advice to ensure they receive a fair share of compensation for mis-sold interest rate swaps.

In Ireland, there is already a precedent for business owners to recover compensation for the mis-selling of insurance on bank loans. In July, Dublin property developer David Agar pursued a case against the Ulster Bank over the mis-selling of IRSAs, eventually forcing the bank to write off millions of Euros after his mis-sold loan insurance claim was successful.

Mr Agar´s case, the Financial Services Authority investigation in the UK and the CBI´s action against the banks found guilty of fraudulently selling payment protection policies could all be the foundation for small and medium sized business owners to make IRSA mis-selling claims in Ireland.


PPI Insurance Refund Claims Starting in Ireland

The Central Bank of Ireland has opened the doors for tens of thousands of bank customers to make PPI insurance refund claims against financial institutions who knowingly mis-sold them payment protection insurance policies.

The Central Bank took the unusual step of naming six banks involved in the mis-selling of payment protection insurance (PPI) policies following an investigation into allegations that thousands of policies were sold to customers – including the self-employed, homemakers and part-time workers – who could never make a claim under the terms of the insurance they bought.

The six banks named as perpetrators of the scandal by the Central Bank of Ireland were AIB, Permanent TSB, EBS, Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank and GE Money – all of whom have been told to review their files on payment protection and refund customers who should never have taken out these policies.

Other financial institutions are also suspected of mis-selling PPI in Ireland and officials at the Central Bank have warned that the Central Bank is considering taking legal action against some as yet unnamed firms that it feels broke the rules when selling protection insurance on car loans and credit cards.

Both the Central Bank and the National Consumer Agency issued advice to customers that they need not do anything if they believe they are entitled to make PPI refund claims in Ireland, as they will be monitoring the progress of the refund procedures. However, this advice was attacked by a leading solicitor in Dublin, who claimed that the information provided by the Central Bank and the National Consumer Agency was wrong.

According to the solicitor, a six-year Statute of Limitations applies for PPI insurance refund claims in Ireland and, should a financial institution fail to refund a customer who subsequently complains to that financial institution and has their complaint rejected, the customer´s next step would be to present a complaint to the Financial Services Ombudsman (FSO).

The FSO has no authority to investigate PPI refund claims in Ireland when the insurance policy was taken out more than six years ago and, should the financial institutions take a long period of time to review their files on payment protection, thousands of customers could miss out on their entitlement to a refund of their PPI policy.

It is estimated that more than 340,000 payment protection insurance policies were sold in Ireland between 2007 and 2011 and customers who have been mis-sold PPI policies could be entitled to refunds of between 2,000 Euros and 3,000 Euros. However, the AIB and EBS have already acknowledged that it may be a year before the first refund payments are received by customers – implying that the Dublin solicitor could well be justified in his advice to bank customers that they should use a solicitor to make PPI insurance refund claims in Ireland.


Ulster Bank Writes off Millions in Mis-Sold Loan Insurance Claim

Ulster Bank has settled a mis-sold loan insurance claim brought by Dublin property developer David Agar, after Mr Agar successfully claimed that he had been sold a complex derivative insurance product without being told of the risks involved.

In an action similar to the claims for compensation for mis-sold interest rate swaps in the UK, Mr Agar claimed that Ulster Bank had recommended in 2007 that he purchase a number of financial products related to interest rates on loans he had with the bank.

He stated in his claim for mis-sold loan insurance that he was not told that the complex derivative insurance product obliged the bank to pay him a dividend when interest rates increased or that he was liable to pay the bank a dividend when they fell.

Furthermore, it was claimed in the High Court that the value of the loan insurance allegedly mis-sold to Mr Agar covered finance of 87 million Euros, whereas the funds borrowed from Ulster Bank only amounted to 47 million Euros.

At the time the insurance was sold to Mr Agar, the ECB lending rate was 4 percent. It subsequently fell to 0.75 percent and the bank sought extra payments under the terms of the allegedly mis-sold loan insurance product.

Ulster Bank – whose parent company Royal Bank of Scotland was one of the first banks in the UK to be identified as mis-selling loan insurance to businesses – denied that they recommended any complex derivative insurance products to Mr Agar or made any misrepresentations to him.

However, in the first settlement of its kind in Ireland, Ulster Bank agreed to write-off 30 million Euros of loans and pay Mr Agar´s legal fees of 1 million Euros without admitting liability for his mis-sold loan insurance claim.


Pensioner Receives Compensation for Professional Negligence

An elderly widow, who was the victim of poor workmanship when builders replaced a utility room in her home, has been awarded compensation for professional negligence at Dublin´s Circuit Civil Court.

Kathleen O’Leary (84), from Walkinstown, Dublin, had paid the building company Cranlowe Ltd 23,000 Euros for the work done at her home but, as Mr Justice Matthew Deery heard at the Circuit Civil Court, quantity surveyors compiled a list of twenty examples of professional negligence following the alterations to her 6 feet square (1.82m) utility room.

The court heard that shortly after the work had been completed, the utility room flooded due to inadequate drainage, causing a short-circuit of the electricity as the power supply had not been earthed. Further investigation revealed that the walls of the utility room had not been insulated properly, no under-floor ventilation had been installed and defects in the underground piping resulted in foul water leaking into the surrounding soil.

Giving evidence to the court, quantity surveyor Kevin O’Rafferty stated that had the work been carried out properly it should have cost Kathleen no more than 18,000 Euros, and it would now cost a further 14,912 Euros to have the faults repaired. The court also heard that when Kathleen confronted the co-owner of Cranlowe Ltd – Patrick Cowzer – with the litany of errors, he had become abusive towards her.

Mr Justice Matthew Deery was told that Kathleen´s claim for professional negligence had been granted in default of defence in November 2011, and the case was now before him for assessment of damages. The judge ruled that Cranlowe Ltd should pay Kathleen 14,912 Euros compensation for professional negligence – sufficient for Kathleen to have the necessary repairs made to her utility room – and a further 3,500 Euros to account for the emotional stress Kathleen had endured.


Compensation Approved for Hair Dye Reaction

A teenage boy, who suffered a severe allergic reaction and hair loss after a hair colouring treatment went wrong, has had a compensation settlement of 12,500 Euros approved in the Civil Circuit Court. The unnamed boy, now aged 17, had gone to Peter Mark Hair Stylists of St. Stephen´s Green, County Dublin, in October 2009, to have highlights he had previously in his hair removed in order to allow his hair to return to its natural colour.
However, after the treatment, the boy´s hair started to fall out and he developed spots, ulcers and a swelling on his scalp. He also suffered a reaction which resulted in a severe skin irritation that spread across his forehead and down to his eye level.
Mr Justice Matthew Deery at the Civil Circuit Court heard that the boy´s reaction had not lasted long due to being prescribed steroids to counter the effects of the treatment and that Peter Mark Hair Stylists had offered the boy 12,500 Euros in compensation plus special damages of 1,915 Euros and the costs of his claim.


“Inexplicable” Delay Doctor Liable for Birth Injury Damages

In a High Court ruling, consultant obstetrician, Dr. Raymond Howard, was found liable for a 3.75 million euro compensation settlement, previously agreed in the case of Nicole Hassett of Clonmel, County Tipperary. Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill heard how Dr. Howard had delayed the birth of Nicole in 1997 with “absolutely no apparent reason”, causing her to suffer brain damage during the late stages of labour, and resulting in Nicole, now 13, suffering from cerebral palsy and being severely disabled.
The court was told how Dr. Howard was in St Joseph’s Maternity Hospital, Clonmel, from 12.15am on the morning of November 15. 1997, and should have delivered Nicole by 12.30am. However, he delayed the birth until 1.00am, during which time Nicole suffered the great bulk of her brain damage due to being left in the rigours of intense labour.
However, after hearing the circumstances of the “simply inexplicable” delay, Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill ruled the HSE was entitled to be indemnified by Dr Howard due to his failure to adequately perform his duties and his breach of duty of care towards the child which was the proximate cause of her injuries.
The original court action was brought through Nicole’s mother, Orla, in 2005, and settlement was agreed against the South Eastern Health Board (now the Health and Safety Executive – HSE) with Dr. Howard and the UK-based Medical Defence Union as third parties.


Psychiatric Patient Receives 150,000 Euro Award after Jumping From Window

The psychiatric patient has received a €150,000 settlement in the High Court for self inflicted leg injuries suffered after jumping a second floor window of Saint Brendan’s Psychiatric Hospital

The case was taken against the Health Services Executive (HSE) over the incident on March 12th, 1998, when it was alleged that the patient was placed in an inappropriate ward, that the windows were not correctly secured, and that no measures were taken to prevent patients from jumping out of windows.

Mr Justice John Quirke approved the settlement in the High Court and the victim is expected to be made a ward of court.

The patient’s identity was not revealed for legal reasons and has been moved to another secure facility.

The compensation settlement was made without any admission of liability.


New Superbug Hits Irish Hospitals

A new superbug called CRE (Carbapenem Resistant Enterobacteriaceae) has been discovered in Irish hospitals for the first time. The new superbug is potentially fatal and can cause kidney infection and pneumonia. Four cases have been discovered so far in Ireland, causing concern with medical professionals because it is difficult to eliminate once it takes hold in a country’s medical system (which has already occurred in Greece and parts of the United States).

One of the problems with treating the superbug is that the general population is less responsive to treatments for CRE because of the widespread using of board spectrum antibiotics.

If CRE spreads in Irish hospitals, it it likely to be for the same reasons as the recent MRSA outbreak – contaminated surfaces, especially medical equipment.


Waxing Burn Victim Settles 38,000 Euro Case with Beauty Salon

Suzanne Kelly of Clonsilla, County Dublin has settled her €38,000 personal injury claim with So Belle beauty salon in the Ashleigh Centre, Castleknock, County Dublin over severe rash burns to her armpits and groin following an unsuccessful waxing.

Ms. Kelly claimed that she suffered a painful rash and swelling in the affected areas.

The beauty salon entered a full defence in the Circuit Civil Court but made an undisclosed settlement.


Medical Professor Slates HSE for Stalinism

Professor John Crown, a consultant oncologist, writing recently in The Irish Independent, said that the HSE and Department of Health and Children together “comprise one of the least ethical organisations that I have ever dealt with”. Professor Crown goes on to describe the HSE as “secretive, self-serving, dishonest, incompetent and unintelligent.”  He concludes, with an interesting historical comparison, that the “corruption and incompetence” of the HSE is effectively a form of Stalinism.
These comments are interesting from the point of view of anyone trying to make a medical negligence claim or hospital negligence claim related to one of the HSE’s services.  The management problems that increase the likelihood of negligence are compounded by the way the HSE deals with its own negligence.  It’s really no surprise that the Injuries Board Ireland refuses to deal with cases against the HSE.


Hospital Negligence Statute of Limitations Rules Updated

Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne has made an important ruling in the High Court regarding the definition of “date of knowledge” for medical negligence claims and hospital negligence claims. The 1957 Statute of Limitations Act has been updated to reduce the time from “date of knowedge” to making injury claims to two years (rules are different for child injury claims).
However, Ms Justice Dunne ruled that an individual may be aware of an injury but not be aware that it was caused by negligence. Specifically, Justice Dunne said that in the case of Edward Naessens that it was “very difficult to accept” that the victim had the necessary medical expertise to decide if a recurrence of a tumour was due to medical negligence.
In this particular case, the victim Edward Naessens had an operation in February 1994 for an adenoid cystic carcinoma (removing a cancer tumour) but was told that no further treatment was required apart from six-montly reviews. He was told in 1996 that additional pain was due to scar tissue and nerve damage. It was only after a recurrence in 2000, after which he received comprehensive post-operation care in St. James’ Hospital, that Naessens realised that he had not received the same level of care previously. Specifically, it was claimed that after his first operation, Neassens should have received additional radiation treatment and a CT scan when he complained of pain, in addition to being advised about the high risk of a recurrence of cancer.
The defendants were the CEO and a consultant surgeon at St. Vincent’s Hospital, who had requested that the court rule that the case was statute barred.
The decision now means that not all medical negligence claims are automatically subject to the two year Statute of Limitations rule.  It also confirms that judges do indeed have full discretion regarding interpretation of the rules in the interest of serving justice when there are special circumstances.


Adam Clayton Sues Accountant for Professional Negligence

U2 bassist Adam Clayton has launched a High Court case against Gaby Smyth alleging professional negligence.  Smyth is usually described as U2’s ‘financial controller’ or even the group’s financial ‘mastermind’.
The papers lodged in the High Court in Dublin on June 4th are for a plenary summons for alleged ‘negligence’  The papers also name two accountants employed by Smyth in Gaby Smyth & Co., Jill Percival and Pat Cleary.  Bank of Ireland Private Finance is also named in the lawsuit.
It will be Clayton’s second case in the High Court this year, after succeeding in January to get the assets of his former housekeeper Carol Hawkins frozen for allegedly defrauding him of €1.8 million.
The details of the professional negligence claims against Gaby Smyth & Co. are not yet full known. It is not yet clear if there are any professional negligence claims related to the allegations concerning Carol Hawkins.  It is known that the negligence claim is related to investments and professional advice.
Clayton has retained the services of the law firm Gleeson McGrath Baldwin.