Month: July 2015

Settlement of Claim against the Giraffe Crèche Refused by Judge

The proposed settlement of a claim against the Giraffe Crèche has been refused by a judge on the basis that it is inappropriate for the level of alleged injury.

In 2011, Emilie Kiely started attending the Giraffe Childcare and Early Learning Centre in Stepaside, Dublin when she was eight months old. The following September, Emilie started exhibiting signs of anxiety as she was being prepared to go to the crèche – a change in behaviour which coincided with a move to the “Toddlers Room”.

In May 2013, the Giraffe Childcare and Early Learning Centre was one of three crèches exposed by the Prime Time documentary “A Breach of Trust” for alleged child abuse. Emilie´s parents reacted to seeing one of their daughter´s minders screaming at children by withdrawing Emilie from the crèche.

Emilie´s father – John Kiely from Sandyford in Dublin – sought legal advice and subsequently made a claim against the Giraffe Crèche on his daughter´s behalf. In his legal action John claimed that Emilie had suffered stress, emotional upset and terror due to the verbal and physical abuse she had suffered at the crèche.

The owners of the childcare facility contested the claim against the Giraffe Crèche, but made an offer of €15,000 compensation without an admission of liability. As the offer of compensation was in settlement of a claim brought on behalf of a child, the settlement had to be approved by a judge to ensure that it was in Emilie´s best interests before it could be accepted.

At the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin, Judge James O´Donohue heard that Emilie would cry “No crèche! No crèche!” before going to the childcare facility and was clearly scared of attending the Giraffe Crèche. The judge ruled that the proposed settlement of the claim against the Giraffe Crèche was inappropriate for the level of injury that it was claimed Emilie had suffered.

Judge O´Donohue said that it would be in Emilie´s best interests if the claim against the Giraffe Crèche was heard by another judge at a full hearing. The judge´s decision has implications for up to twenty-five other claims for compensation that have been made against the crèches featured in the Prime Time documentary.

Claim for a Dunnes Stores Trip and Fall Injury Resolved in Court

A claim for a Dunnes Stores trip and fall injury has been resolved in the High Court in Cork in favour of a pensioner who broke her hip in her local store.

On 2nd July 2013, Bernadette O´Leary (77) from Clonakilty in Cork was looking to purchase a waterproof canopy in her local Dunnes Store so that she could protect her stall at the weekly farmers market, where she sold food items such as homemade cakes.

Bernadette found a small detachable gazebo that she thought would be suitable, but before buying it she wanted to make sure that it was waterproof. Bernadette asked a shop assistant for advice and, as the shop assistant was unsure about the protection the gazebo would offer, he went to ask a colleague.

The shop assistant told Bernadette to follow him but, as she entered the adjacent aisle, she stumbled over a fold-away deckchair that had been left in the aisle waiting to be placed on a display shelf and fell heavily – breaking her hip.

Bernadette was taken to hospital by ambulance – where she waited forty-eight hours on a trolley waiting for a bed to become available. Once she was allowed home, Bernadette sought legal advice and made a claim for a Dunnes Stores trip and fall injury.

Bernadette claimed in her legal action that the fold-away deckchair left in the aisle represented a hazard contrary to Dunnes Stores´ own safety statement. The company contested Bernadette´s claim for a Dunnes Stores trip and fall injury by saying that she should have looked where she was going.

With Dunnes Stores denying liability for Bernadette´s broken hip, the Injuries Board issued an Authorisation for Bernadette to pursue her claim for a Dunnes Store trip and fall injury through the courts; and the case was heard this week by Mr Justice Henry Abbot at the High Court in Cork.

Judge Abbot was shown a CCTV video of the accident, after which he agreed with Bernadette´s counsel that “the defendant had invited the plaintiff into the path of a hazard on which she fell and was injured”. The judge awarded Bernadette €137,000 compensation in settlement of her claim for a Dunnes Stores trip and fall injury.