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.