Author: News

$10.9bn Roundup Compensation Settlement Agreed by Bayer

Bayer, the German drugs and pesticides maker which purchased Monsanto during 2018, has agreed to pay as much as $10.9bn to settle thousands of US-based legal actions taken in relation to users of weedkiller Roundup developing cancer.

Three cases that have already gone to trial are not included in the settlement. $5bn of the settlement is due to be paid in before the end of 2020, with the same amount being paid the following year. The settlement will be financed using the the company’s existing free cash flow and the proceeds of the recent sale of its Animal Health business.

This settlement represents around three quarters of the claims taken in relation to Roundup and is the result of talks that have lasted more than one year. The claims, almost 125,000 filed and unfiled, were inherited by Bayer when they purchased Monsanto in 2018.

The allegations that were made by former Roundup users included that glyphosate is to blame responsible for their non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other cancers. However, Bayer, denies glyphosate is a carcinogen and this contention is backed up by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

In relation to the settlement Bayer chief executive Werner Baumann commented: “The Roundup settlement is the right action at the right time for Bayer to bring a long period of uncertainty to an end.” The settled cases connected with Roundup use and other glyphosate-based weedkillers account for about 95% of those currently set for trial.

The settlement figure includes $1.25 billion to support another class agreement in relation to possible future litigation and another allowance that makes provision for unresolved claims.

Bayer has consistently denied allegations that Roundup or its active ingredient glyphosate can lead to cancer based on the many years of independent research which say that the product is safe for human use. In April Bayer regained shareholder approval for its handling of the litigation.

Settlement mediator Ken Feinberg revealed that 25,000 claims remain unsettled and, due to this, there will be more trials as cases settle in coming months. He commented: “Bayer wisely decided to settle the litigation rather than roll the dice in American court.”

Monsanto put Roundup on the market during the 1970s. Bayer also said that they will not be adding a cancer warning label on the product.

Healthcare Volunteer Admits Drugging & Sexually Assaulting Teenagers

A Kildare Man, who cannot be identified, has pleaded guilty to oral rape of one boy and abusing another boy during 2018

The 29-year-old man was a member of a voluntary paramedic organisation and was accused of drugging the boys with a strong pain relief medication. In addition to this admitted to arranging a get together with the child with the aim of sexual exploitation and aiding and facilitating the production of child pornography.

The is due to be sentenced next Wednesday. He has been suspended from his volunteer suspicion since the accusations were initially made . He was also suspended from a nursing course he was studying at the time which included a placement at a national children’s hospital.

The Judge was told that, on one occasion, he assaulted a 15-year-old boy by forced him to use an oxygen mask to inhale the drug before abusing him. On a different occasion he assaulted the boy and allowed him to be filmed with a camera phone.

He was also accused of assaulting another child on May 18th, 2018 at a place in south Dublin and in the Wicklow mountains. As part of his guilty plea he admitted stealing medicinal items, including a vial of Penthrox and a carbon dioxide chamber from Naas race course during 2018. Penthrox is an analgesic normally prescribed by medical practitioners, the Defence Forces, ambulance paramedics, sports clubs and surf lifesavers to alleviate the effects of pain. Administration takes place by using a green whistle to inhale the contents of a vial. Penthrox includes an active ingredient known as Methoxyflurane.

In court medical experts said that Penthrox should not be administered to those who are not yet 18 years of age. There was further evidence who show that the accused has removed a filter from the device, something that would cause the drug to be four times stronger and lead to cases of memory loss. The Judge was informed that the defendant’s Internet search history included terms like “nitrous oxide side effects”, “Penthrox and knock out”, and “how much Methoxyflurane does it take to knock you out”.

Counsel for the defence, James Dwyer SC, submitted  plea for mitigation on behalf of his client, saying that the individual regrets his actions and the hurt he caused the boys.

$52m Compensation Settlement for Facebook Content Moderators

Following a hearing in San Mateo Superior Court, California, last Friday is was revealed that Facebook have agreed to a preliminary settlement of $52 million to compensate content moderators for the psychological suffering they endured while working on behalf of the social media platform.

This development heralds a landmark move for the rights of content moderators and confirms the great burden that is placed on them as a result of the tasks the jobs involves. As part of the preliminary settlement, Facebook have confirmed that they are putting in place a process to make available extra counselling services for moderators. The content moderators included in this class were employed since 2015 in locations across the United States including California, Arizona, Texas, and Florida.

Before the final approval can be given for the settlement there will be a period of time allowed for class members to consider if the terms of the settlement are acceptable to them. If there are no changes then it is expected that a judge will be able to give final approval before the end of the 2020.

This preliminary settlement is particularly relevant for Facebook content moderators based in Ireland as there is currently a compensation action is submitted to the High Court by a group of content moderators, some of those who were employed by vendor CPL solutions. It was filed as a result of the moderators suffering from ‘psychological trauma” linked unacceptable work conditions and insufficient training to allow them manage with the stressful manner of the duties and the often violent and graphic nature of the material they were expecting to review.

The terms of the proposed settlement state in the US state that every moderator will receive at least $1,000. However, a content moderator can seek additional compensation if they are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder or related conditions. Anyone who is diagnosed with a mental health condition cans claim up to $1,500 more, and people who receive multiple concurrent diagnoses — PTSD and depression, for instance — could be eligible for compensation up to $6,000. Along with the aforementioned compensation, which is intended to be used for medical treatment , moderators with a qualifying diagnosis will be eligible to submit evidence of other injuries they sustained for their time at Facebook and could receive up to $50,000 in damages

In total the preliminary settlement includes 11,250 moderators. Legal representatives in the class action believe that as many as half of them may be eligible for extra pay related to mental health issues associated with their time working for Facebook, including depression and addiction.

The precise amount of the overall compensation paid out to each individual will depend on the number of the members of the class action that apply for benefits. Hence is may be much smaller and it could shrink significantly if the majority of the class is found to be eligible for benefits.

Coleman Legal Partners are representing a number of the Irish-based Facebook Content Moderators. Partner at the firm Dave Coleman said: “The recent developments in some States of the United States are to be welcomed. The acknowledgements from Facebook that seem to be contained in the proposed Settlement are an important first step taken by Facebook in this case.  We hope to see clarity soon with regard to the issue of outsourced workers who carried out commercial content Moderation for Facebook. In the meantime the Irish cases, on behalf of European Commercial Content Moderators continue to be progressed before the Irish Courts and further comment at this time would be inappropriate.”

Facebook issued a statement in relation to the announcement of the preliminary settlement which said: “We are grateful to the people who do this important work to make Facebook a safe environment for everyone. We’re committed to providing them additional support through this settlement and in the future.”

 

 

 

 

 

HSE Faces Possible Medical Negligence Actions in relation to COVID-19 Transfers to Care Homes

It has emerged that the Health Service Executive (HSE) may have to deal with multiple medical negligence compensation claims in relation to the transfer of patients from hospitals to nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the initial steps taken by the HSE, to prepare for the pandemic, was to free up as many hospital beds as possible for the treatment of anyone suffering from the illness. Hospital patients were deemed eligible for transfer to care homes even if they were showing symptoms or had been identified as close contacts of others who were COVID-positive. Due to this nursing home operators have claimed that this directly led nursing homes becoming clusters for the infection occurring and the subsequent deaths of many vulnerable residents,

In Co Louth one nursing home has suffered 23 deaths due to COVID-19. Earlier this week it was revealed that the number of nursing home residents who have died from COVID-19 in Ireland stands at 579.

Last week a HSE representative said: “The Chief Medical Officer (Dr Tony Holohan) reported on Tuesday night that there have been 680 deaths in community residential facilities, of which 530 have been laboratory confirmed. ‘Of these deaths, 579 were in nursing homes, of which 445 have been laboratory confirmed.”

One legal expert, barrister Ciaran Mandal, told online news outlet Extra.ie a family wishing to seek compensation in relation to the death of a relative in a nursing home during the pandemic will need to show that the HSE owed a legal care of duty to that patient. He said: “Without knowing specific circumstances, it is impossible to know whether a relative would have a stateable claim or not”.

Mr Mandal continued: “A Court would take into account that we are in the midst of a global pandemic, and nobody can yet know what failures (in the legal sense) there have been, if any; nor what the implications are of any such failures. But the mere fact alone that a patient has sadly died of COVID-19 does not mean that a relative could successfully sue.”

If you have suffered a loss of a loved one in a nursing home during the COVID-19 pandemic and are interested in seeking compensation due to medical negligence, the smartest thing to do is speak to a legal expert familiar with claims such as these. A legal expert guide you through every step of the process, making it easier for you to cope while coming to terms with the loss of a family member.

 

€9,500 Awarded to Woman Fired by her Ex-Husband

The Workplace Relations Commission was directed a publican, retailer and post office operator to pay his ex-wife €9,500 for her unfair dismissal from the family business.

The woman was relieved of her position in the family business during June 2019 after an investigation into her ‘top-up’ withdrawals of €1,000 at a time from the business to the couple’s personal joint account.

The woman – who was also a director of the business – took a legal action for unfair dismissal to the Workplace Relations Commission as a result of this.

Ms McElduff told the hearing that the manner of her termination from her position had fallen “far short of the requirements of any fair disciplinary procedure” and added that she was not forewarned that she may be dismissed.

The hearing was told that an independent investigator discovered that, from February 5, 2018, and February 14, 2019, €25,160 was transferred online to the joint personal bank account of the husband and wife in 19 separate transactions.

In addition to this, from August 31, 2017, and November 30, 2018, a total of €30,250 in 29 separate transactions was also lodged into the joint personal bank account of the husband and wife as cash lodgements. The husband said he exercised no control over the joint account.

She was informed, in a letter of dismissal that this was “totally unacceptable”. The complainant told the hearing that she had been advised by an accountant in the company’s accountancy practice that she could top up her wages by withdrawals of €1,000. She added that she was certain that she had transferred the money in a transparent manner.

The married couple split up during September 2017 and the woman has issued judicial separation proceedings.

Presifing WRC adjudication officer Anne McElduff ruled the woman’s claim was well founded.

 

 

Compensation Claim Filed Against Aer Lingus in Relation to Passenger Treatment

In the United States an Aer Lingus passenger has filed a legal action after she was allegedly injured in an incident where flight attendants removed her from aeroplane toilet just before take off.

The women in question, American citizen Mary Oshana is claiming that she was forcibly taken to her seat while her pants were still below her knees, exposing her buttocks and genitalia to other passengers. In addition to this she is claiming that she sustained an injury to her hip was injured during the incident.

Ms Oshana, from Skokie, Illinois, submitted her legal action seeking compensation in relation to the Aer Lingus flight crew who behaved “unreasonably, carelessly, and negligently”.

The complaint, which was submitted in District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, stated that the incident occurred shortly before a flight from Chicago to Dublin took off on April 26, 2018. It said that the flight taxied from the departure gate at O’Hare International Airport. However, it came to a halt and remained stopped on the tarmac for around 30 minutes before it taxied on towards the runway for take-off. It was during this time that Ms Oshana decided to leave her seat to go to the toilet.

She claims that about 20 seconds after entering the toilet she became aware that one or more persons were banging on the door, informing her she needed to return to her seat. However, by this stage she was seated on the toilet with her pants down. She informed these people that she would do as they requested “in just a minute”.

The filing states that two Aer Lingus flight attendants “broke through the lavatory door, grabbed the plaintiff under her arms, dragged her to her seat while her pants were below her knees, and threw her with great force into the arm rest and seat. In the process of being thrown with great force into the arm rest and seat, the plaintiff, Mary Oshana, suffered pain and bruising in her hip, thighs and buttocks.

Her lawyers claim the incident falls within the terms of the Montreal Convention, a treaty covering damages for victims of incidents on airlines. Aer Lingus did no comment on the claims.this.”

The court has scheduled a status hearing in early June.

 

Creche Assault Case Adjourned Until June

A jury in the trial of a childcare worker accused of sexually assaulting four girls in a Leinster crèche has requested additional time to continue deliberations on the outstanding charges in the case.

The jury on Monday failed to reach a number of verdicts, despite acquitted the man on three charges relating to the first girl, and acquitted of both charges in relation to the fourth girl.

However the jury then asked Judge Elma Sheahan for more time to consider the remaining charges against the 29-year-old man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the children.

The man had pleaded not guilty to 23 counts of sexually assaulting the girls at the crèche on dates between August 2014 and December 2016, when they were aged between five and eight years old. The prosecution alleged the accused man had sexually assaulted the girls, who were all part of a “small circle of friends”.

However, legal representatives for the defence claimed that the case was “marked by its failure to listen to the children” and that the man had been left “utterly devastated” by the false allegations made against him.

In Dublin Circuit Criminal Court yesterday the trial jury informed the presiding Judge that it was could not come to a unanimous verdict in relation to the remaining 18 counts of sexual assault after deliberating for 21 hours and 41 minutes.

Judge Sheahan adjourned the matter to June 16 and thanked the jury for their service while remanding the man on continuing bail,

 

 

Child Injury Compensation Award of €55,000 Due to Tree Stump Accident

10-year-old  Diarmuid O’Connor from Knocklyon has been has a €55,000 school camp compensation settlement agreed at the High Court in relation to an accident where he cut his knee on a tree stump when he was left unsupervised at a mid-term camp in Dundrum.

Diarmuid, now 15 years old, was just 10 years of age when the incident took place. He was exploring, with friends, among some bushes during the morning break at the art camp. No one was supervising him at the time. It was during this time that accident took place. He cut his leg quite badly in the incident and presiding Judge Garrett Simon was informed that he (Diarmuid) is now too self conscious about the wound to wear shorts during warm weather.

The claim was settled with the proprietors of the camp Artzone Ltd. The Court was informed that Artzone Ltd was responsible for the operation of art camps during February 19, 2016 when the accident took place. The venue for the camp that Diarmuid was attending was Taney Parish Hall, Dundrum, Dublin.

Diarmuid , the judge was informed, had gone for an unsupervised walk with some of his peers during the break time at the camp. As a group, they entered a region of the camp that was particularly bushy. At this time his fell across a tree stump, cutting his leg severely. Camp staff came to his aid and called an ambulance to bring him for further medical attention. They brought the other young boys away from the camp before the ambulance attended the scene.

Mr Justice Garrett Simons gave his approval for the school camps compensation settlement, saying it was a good settlement as Diarmuid had been left with a scar which clearer had a psychological impact upon him.

Taking the legal action via his mother Jacinta O’Connor, Diarmuid now currently lives at Ashton Avenue, Knocklyon, Dublin,

As a full trial hearing may have had issues relating to supervision, Justice Simons said that he was happy with the agreed settlement.

Catholic Church Facing Compensation Cases in Relation to Illegal Adoptions

The first of many expected compensation claims in relation to illegal adoptions, arranged by the Catholic Church of children born in the Republic of Ireland, has been registered at the High Court. 

148 people are now involved in the cases about the adoptions which involved forging birth certificates and other baptismal records. This number has grown since it was first revealed as 126 by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar 20 months in May 2018. The Taoiseach, speaking at the time, told the Dáil that the disclosures of the adoptions amounted to “another chapter from the very dark history of our country” which had “robbed children – our fellow citizens – of their identity”

The plaintiff in this particular case is well known Belfast actor Patrick FitzSymons, who was born to an unmarried couple in Co Clare in the 1960s. His parents, trying to avoid the stigma of having a child out of wedlock permitted the Catholic church agency St Patrick’s Guild to have him adopted to a married couple in Co Antrim. 

Mr FitzSymons said that his adoptive parents, who are now both deceased had “loved me and provided for me as best they could’ and that his “natural parents, my birth mother in particular, had endured the institutional shaming and disapproval of Ireland at that time to do what she thought to be the right thing”.

During summer 2018, Mr FitzSymons was told by Tusla his births was mistakenly registered between 1946 and 1969 by the Dublin-based St Patrick’s Guild.

He has previously spoken about the emotional suffering of both sets of parents to the incident. He remarked: “My natural parents, my birth mother in particular, had endured the institutional shaming and disapproval of Ireland at that time to do what she thought to be the right thing.”

He also spoke about how he discovered that he was adopted. He said: “My adopted mother and I were forever falling out, partly about religion. She possibly felt she had not properly fulfilled her promise to bring me up as a Catholic – because that had been the only stipulation. Rather cryptically, in a letter, I had written something along the lines ‘if you want to talk to kids you should talk to people who have had kids of their own’. I can’t remember what the context of that was. But one evening I was just having a regular visit with her and she asked if I had ever had the intuition that I was adopted. I just said ‘no’ and she said: ‘There’s something I need to tell you’. Well, the bottom fell out of my world. She said it was only fair that I did know. Perhaps she had been planning to tell me anyway.”

The legal firm handling Mr FitzSymon’s case, Dublin-based Coleman Legal Partners, are handling 25 similar cases, at present, and are expecting that number to grow even more. .

Mr FitzSymons solicitor, Norman Spicer of Coleman Legal Partners. said that the firm is handling a number of cases like this but admitted that there are no plans to apply for a “class action” order because of the complexity of the individual cases.

He said: “There is no provision for the North American-style of ‘class action’ under Irish law. However, a court has discretion to grant an order which may mirror to some extent the other system for a specific case or set of cases. We do not envisage making such an application. These are complex cases involving many different defendants, as a result it is difficult to say how long these cases will take as it depends on all of the parties involved and how quickly responses, replies and motions, and so on, can be turned around. Three years (the estimated time the case will take to process) would not be an unreasonable time frame but this is dependent upon many factors and is really only a ‘ballpark’ estimate.”

 

 

 

 

 

School Door Accident Compensation of €10,000 Awarded to Young Girl

A girl from Dublin, who suffered a slightly stunted finger injury after her hand was caught in in a door in her primary school, has been awarded school door accident compensation of €10,000 at Dublin District Court.

The second class pupil took the personal injury compensation action via her mother against Knockmore Junior School, located in Tallaght, in relation to the injuries she sustained in 2017.

The district court was informed that the young girl got her little finger caught in a doorway. In an attempt to settle the case an offer of €10,000 was made. In court medical reports and pictures of the hand injury were provided to Judge Michael Coghlan.

The judge was advised that medical reports indicated the girl’s hand was completely rehabilitated within three months. Her finger was slightly stunted, by 20pc, in comparison the same finger on her other hand,  and there was slight disfigurement in that finger. She experienced pain when getting nails cut had been an issue but this has not subsided in the intervening two and a half years, counsel said.

The judge asked that the girl be brought close to the judge so he could look at her hands. Judge Coghlan said that they were right to bring it to his attention. However, he was not happy it was a major injury deformity and not going to inflict embarrassment.

In relation to it looking different to the same finger on her other hand, he said, it was unlucky it happened. He said: “If you can find a person with identical hands you could put them in the Guinness Book of Records, no one has identical hands.”

Judge Coghlan gave his approval for a €10,000 school injury compensation award. He said that the money was to be paid into court funds on behalf of the girl until she comes of age.

He dismissed an application by her lawyer to make available €500 for immediate payment because her first holy communion was coming up. In addition to this he awarded €1,422 in special damages or expenses.

Facebook & YouTube Moderators Asked to Complete PTSD disclosure

In a somewhat concerning move content moderators for social media platforms, both new hires and existing staff, are being issued with a disclosure statement to complete which states that they are fully aware of the possibility that the content they must view as part of their duties may result in them suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

It has been reported by both The Financial Times and The Verge that Accenture – a professional services firm which is often used by Google, Facebook and Twitter – issued the forms to existing members of staff as an update and to new hires taking up moderator positions.

Accenture contractors are employed as external outside monitors for social media sites. They are typically given duties including deleting any inappropriate content. In order to accomplish this task they must view and hear disturbing posts of a violent or sexual nature. A normal day’s work would include these moderators considering the inappropriate nature of objectionable materials and looking over hundreds of disturbing images.

“I understand the content I will be reviewing may be disturbing. It is possible that reviewing such content may impact my mental health, and it could even lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD),” the statement read.

The notices were sent to Accenture employees in the United States and Europe. Accenture operates at least three content moderation offices for Facebook in Europe, including centres in Warsaw, Lisbon and Dublin, where workplace safety rules are some of the most stringent globally and include protections for mental health issues.

This is particularly worrying as it comes at a time when Facebook is preparing to face legal actions from former content moderators in relation to a variety of different mental health issues experienced in California and Ireland.

Reacting to the move made by Accenture, Facebook has issued a statement claiming that it was not asked to approve or review Accenture’s new form. However the statement did say that Facebook partners are required to provide psychological support for content moderators. Google – YouTube’s parent company – also moved to advise the public that it was not given the opportunity to look over the  documents in question and also directs its partners to have in place mental health supports.

The forms were sent to the moderators and included details of support services that are provided by Accenture such as a hotline and a wellness coach. However these services are not managed by professionally trained experts as, according to Accenture they “cannot diagnose or treat mental disorders”.

Accenture issued a statement which said that the health and said the wellbeing of its contractors is was a “top priority”. It also said that only new joiners were being asked to sign the forms, whereas current employees were being sent the form as an update. The statement read: “We regularly update the information we give our people to ensure that they have a clear understanding of the work they do”.

It is of the utmost importance that social media moderators who are in receipt of this form should not sign any form like this without first consulting with a legal representative who is experienced in these matters.

St Patrick’s Day Boy Accident Compensation of €53,000 for Boy Knocked Down in Hit and Run

A boy who was injured in a hit and run accident when he was crossing the road after the St Patrick’s Day parade in Cobh, Co Cork in 2017 has settled his High Court pedestrian accident compensation claim for more a figure just above €53,000.

The boy in question, Daniel Foley, was just a few days short of his seventh birthday when he was flung across the car bonnet and rolled off, landing heavily on the ground and sustaining injuries. The accident took place just after the boy had watched the St Patrick’s day parade in Cobh on March 17, 2017. He had been walking away from the place where he was watching the parade when the accident occurred.

The young boy, nine-year-old Daniel Foley. sustained fractures to his hip, ribs and lower jaw as well as lacerations. In order to receive treatment had to spend four days in hospital away from his family.

Daniel, who live at The Orchard, Rushbrooke Links, Cobh, took the legal action through his father Pat Foley against a Romanian national, who was the owner of the car and the driver a Spanish national along with the MIBI.

It was alleged that the driver did not pay any or any adequate and proper attention to the increased numbers of pedestrians in the area due to the fact that it was St Patrick’s Day and festivities were ongoing in the town of Cobh. In addition to this it was claimed that there had been a failure to appreciate the road and traffic conditions pertaining and to drive in a manner which respected this.

The accident caused the boy to experience severe shock and a loss of consciousness. Those attending to him called an ambulance and he was taken by ambulance to hospital where he remained for four days. For the two weeks following the accident he could not eat anything unless it was in liquid form.

The court was informed that Daniel has made a good recovery.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross approved the settlement of €53,748 against the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) as the court heard there was no insurance in place.

 

Trauma Caused by Viewing Graphic Content leads to Facebook Worker Compensation Claim

50-year-old Dubliner Chris Gray has filed a legal action to the High Court is Dublin, seeking compensation for the trauma and stress he experienced during the 10 months he was employed by CPL Solutions for moderate content for the social media giant.

This action is potentially the first in a number of compensation cases that will be taken against these companies. Solicitor for Mr Gray, Diane Treanor of Coleman Legal Partners in Dublin revealed that the firm has been contacted by content moderators based in Barcelona and Berlin with an interest in joining the legal action.

Mr Chris Gray’s claim informed that he was expected to constantly view a variety of inappropriate content in order to filter out inappropriate content with a 98% accuracy rating. He revealed that the content included footage of event such as “various scenes of people dying in different accidents … set to a musical soundtrack. [Gray] had a long argument with the quality point of contact [a senior role] about whether the music meant that the person posting it was ‘celebrating’ or whether it just counted as disturbing content.”

He added that he was very traumatized and stressed as a result of the content he viewed and his required work targets. Over time he began to have difficulty sleeping and would often awaken in the night due to nightmares or worry that he filed something wrong. He commented: “It took me a year after I left to realise how much I’d been affected by the job. I don’t sleep well, I get in stupid arguments, have trouble focusing.”

Facebook, commenting on the legal action, released a statement which said: “We are committed to providing support for those that review content for Facebook as we recognise that reviewing certain types of content can sometimes be difficult. Everyone who reviews content for Facebook goes through an in-depth, multi-week training program on our Community Standards and has access to extensive psychological support to ensure their wellbeing. This includes 24/7 on-site support with trained practitioners, an on-call service, and access to private healthcare from the first day of employment. We are also employing technical solutions to limit their exposure to graphic material as much as possible. This is an important issue, and we are committed to getting this right.”

Cori Crider is a director of Foxglove, a UK-based not-for-profit group, which is supporting the legal action. She said: “The reason we’ve got involved is that we think that social media factory floors are unsafe and need to be cleared up. In a decade we’re going to look back on this as we did at meat packing plants at the turn of the century. Facebook’s only going to pay attention to things when they know that they’ve got a typhoon bearing down on them. What I’d like to see is the moderators realising how much power they have if they just organise. Because let’s face it, social media as we know it could not exist without the labour people like Chris provide.”

 

 

 

€56,000 Radiator Accident Compensation Awarded to Girl (10)

Just over €56,000 damages in the Circuit Civil Court has been awarded to a 10-year-old girl who suffered a fracture to her left foot when a heavy radiator dropped from off the wall in her school.

Keira Kuts, of Carlough Road, Cabra, Dublin 7, told Judge John O’Connor, through her barrister Eileen McAuley, that the accident had occurred in October 2016 when the girl was only seven.

Appearing with Synnott Lawline Solicitors ,Ms McAuley informed the court that Keira had been with her class in the library of St Catherine’s Senior School, Cabra, when the heavy iron radiator parted from the from the wall and struck Keira heavily on the foot.

Counsel said Keira, who took the school compensation action via her father Roman Kuts, had been rushed taken by car to the accident and emergency department of Temple Street Children’s Hospital.

A team of medic x-rayed her foot and it had been found that a metatarsal bone in her foot had been fractured. Keira had to wear a a cast for four weeks to allow her bone to bone. She then had to use a boot for an additional four weeks. Following a check up appointment in 2018, it was found that her foot was now back to normal having fully rehabilitated. Ms McAuley said the fracture had fully healed and doctors were entirely satisfied there would be no long term effects.

Judge O’Connor approved a school accident compensation offer of €55,000 together with €1,168 special damages for Keira.

€192,000 for Woman Struck by Minibus Wing Mirror

At the High Court €192,000 car accident compensation has been awarded to a woman who was injured when she was hit by the wing mirror of a minibus as she crossed a road.

Ms O’Kelly, a medical representative living in Killester, Dublin, had taken the legal action against Bus Éireann in relation to the accident when she was knocked to the ground at Lough Atalia Road in the Galway harbour area on December 16, 2015.

Ms O’Kelly had informed the court she was crossing the road after 6pm when she saw the minibus just before she was struck on the right shoulder by the wing mirror of the bus which was turning in to the road.

To have her injuries properly treated Ms O’Kelly had to have surgery and don a neck brace for 12 weeks and is left with a scar on her neck.

Bus Éireann accepted liability during the hearing of the case and argued that Ms O’Kelly was also allegedly negligent for the injuries she suffered.

The judge ruled that Bus Éireann driver was “entirely negligent” in that he failed to keep an adequate lookout and did not stay close enough to the left hand side in his own lane and he simply did not see Ms O’Kelly.

Justice O’Hanlon said Ms O’Kelly was lawfully present on the road having taken all correct precautions as she crossed the road. As such he found that no liability was attached to her in relation to the incident.

The judge remarked that there had been “a stark transformation” in Aideen O’Kelly’s working and social life since the accident and the 54-year-old woman’s lifestyle is now “vastly different”.

Ms O’Kelly, she said, was an experienced sailor who took part at a very high competitive level three to four days a week during the sailing season. Sadly she can no longer do so.

The judge said: “Despite her stoicism, her daily living is not of the same quality as it was. She has to put up with imbalance, difficulty reaching items in her kitchen and difficulty in the normal day-to-day tasks.”

In awarding a total of €192,573 car accident compensation, Ms Justice O’Hanlon said while Ms O’Kelly had managed to return to work, she reported a lack of dexterity and feeling in her hands which causes issues putting on jewellery or opening jars.

 

€108,000 Personal Accident Compensation in Relation to Psychiatric Nurse’s Injuries in Supermarket & Car Crash

Following suffering injuries in a car accident in 2015 and a slip in a supermarket accident just a couple of months later, a retired psychiatric nurse has been award more than €100,000 personal injury compensation.

Damages were assessed at €20,000 in respect of the road traffic incident and over €88,000 in respect of the fall by presiding Judge Ms Justice Miriam O’Regan. Mary Barry of Westcliffe, Ballincollig, Co Cork was awarded €108,000 at the High Court sitting in Cork earlier this week.

Ms Justice O’Regan assessed several aspects of the plaintiff’s claims and her lawyers, Seán Lynch and John O’Mahony, asked for an opportunity to clarify all issues with John Lucey, for the defence.

This award was comprised of €20,000 (plus costs) in respect of the traffic incident on November 25, 2015, at the Kilumney roundabout near Ballincollig and €88,000 (plus costs) for fall at Wilton Shopping Centre on March 2, 2016. The supermarket accident was though to have been caused by yoghurt/ice cream on the floor that had not been cleaned up.

There was no personal injury awards made in relation to plaintiff’s claim for post-traumatic stress arising from the car crash. This claim was made as, she alleged, she was not able to get out of her car for a period following the incident.

“Of total significance in my view is that she has indicated she could not get out of the car but evidence was given that she had gotten out of the car on two occasions prior to the arrival of gardaí. That was completely contrary to the evidence she has given,” commented Ms Justice O’Regan.

 

RTÉ Documentary Featured Creché Settled €30,000 Compensation Claim with Family of Young Boy

Yesterday, approval was given in the High Court for a €30,000 creche abuse compensation settlement for an eight-year-old boy who attended a creche featured in an RTE exposé on the treatment of pre-school children when he was just a young baby.

Lucas Doyle was only two years old when video of him allegedly being tied down in a chair for a period of two hours at the Giraffe creche, Belarmine, Stepaside, Co Dublin was aired publicly on the RTÉ programme ‘A Breach of Trust’.

The Belarmine Giraffe creche was one of three premises selected by the RTE PrimeTime Investigates exposé on the standard of care provided by pre school services within the State in 2013.

In the High Court the Judge Garret Simons was informed that, ten days prior to the RTE documentary being aired, the producer and cameraman of the documentary went to the boy’s home with footage of the incident. The young boy’s parents were shown the footage from the Belarmine creche which allegedly showed Lucas were tied into chairs and were also being shouted at.

Lucas attended the creche in Belarmine between August 2012 and May 2013, initially when he was 11-and-a-half months’ old until he was a around 1 year and eight months old. He (Lucas), via his mother Aisling Emmet, took the creche abuse compensation action against managing director Simon Dowling and Giraffe Childcare Unlimited Company in relation to the abuse he suffered.

It was claimed in the legal action that the footage showed that Lucas being tied in a chair for two hours on one day. Giraffe Childcare has advised Lucas’s parents that new safeguards had been implemented following the incident that was filmed. Despite this, his parents had sourced different childcare providers and Lucas was reported to have recovered well from any suffering he experienced.

Mr Justice Garrett Simons gave his approval for a child creche negligence compensation settlement of €30,000.

BBC Documentary Reveals Psychological Trauma Suffered by Social Media Moderators

A BBC documentary has unveiled the working conditions and duties leading, and resulting psychological trauma, of social media moderators.

The report covered the professional experiences of Shawn Speaglem who was employed as a Facebook content moderator for a third party company Cognizant, headquartered in Florida in the United States. Despite having signed a non-disclosure agreement, Shawn spoke out on the pictures and images that workers have to review as part of Facebook’s moderation policies and processes.

He stated: “One of my first videos that I remember looking at was two teenagers grabbing an iguana by the tail and they smashed it onto the pavement while a third person was recording it. And the iguana was screaming and the kids just would not stop until the iguana was just pasted on the ground. I’ve seen people put fireworks in a dog’s mouth and duct tape it shut. I’ve seen cannibalism videos, I’ve seen terrorism propaganda videos.”

Shawn informed the documentary producers that he has experienced great stress, weight gain and depression due to the content he had to view as part of his expected duties. He stated: “I felt like I was a zombie in my seat. It really gets to you because I don’t have that bystander syndrome where I’m OK just watching this suffering and not contributing any way to deter it.”

In Ireland, where the European Union headquarters of many social media platforms are based a legal action is currently being formulated in relation to the working condition of a number of moderators. Facebook has faced legal employment actions previously. In September 2018 Selena Scola, a former content moderator with the company filed a legal action against the company in relation to the mental effects of the work. She argued that the viewing of disturbing images and videos lead to her contracting Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during the time that she was working at the Facebook headquarters in California. After she submitted her case two more former Facebook content moderators issued similar claims and, due to this, Facebook may now face a class-action lawsuit in relation to this issue.

Continual and repeated viewing of harmful content is an unfortunate part of the as part a Moderators role. These side effects can lead to psychological injury and traumatic mental suffering to the Moderators over time.

Such traumatic suffering can have a great impact depending on the actual content seen, the provision and availability of proper support mechanisms from employers to help staff to deal with work-related trauma and work targets. The latter refers to the level of work and output that must be completed each day. It is the obligation (duty of care) of the employer to ensure that they run a safe place of work, a safe system of work and to prevent harm to their staff.

 

Vaginal Mesh labelled ‘Unsafe’ by UK-based Medical Expert

Dr Chris DeArmitt, a specialist chartered chemist who has helped in excess of 9,000 women is have their vaginal mesh compensation legal cases settled, has stated that substance is unsafe to be used in the treatment of incontinence.

Vaginal mesh is, at present,  currently not being used due to suspension in the United Kingdom. This will remain so until the results of an independent safety review are delivered. The study was begun after thousands of women reported harrowing complications. DeArmitt, a leading medical specialist in the UK has appeared upon during court action against producers of vaginal mesh to speak for the prosecutors .

In the United States more than 100,000 people have submitted legal actions as a result of injuries and illnesses that the believe to have been caused by the use of vaginal mesh.

Dr DeArmitt, during an interview with Sky News, said: “There are two main reasons why any plastics material expert will tell you just obviously that this is a bad material and I have never heard anyone who disagrees with me. I see an absolute disregard for proper testing. Testing is way less than you would see on a vacuum cleaner or a washing machine. It’s shocking. I’ve never seen anything like it in my career.”

In Ireland there have some cases submitted in relation to use of vaginal mesh in recent times, particularly in 2017. Legal counsel for a number of women, who began legal actions in 2017 after undergoing the vaginal mesh procedure, said that they (the women) only became conscious of the issue after viewing media reports in the United Kingdom in relation to its use.

The US regulator, the FDA, in 2019 made the sale and distribution of all mesh that was to be used for the treatment of pelvic organ prolapse illegal due to the many safety issues experienced by the general public. In the UK, the National Institute for Care and Excellence (NICE) revealed that it will, once more, be offered as a possible alternative form of treatment for women experiencing various injuries once the ban on using it expires.

A NICE representative stated: “The benefits and risks of each type of treatment are laid out to ensure every woman is fully informed. Where the evidence is limited, this is also highlighted. There are a number of procedures recommended by NICE, including mesh procedures.”

Due to work of a number of campaigners, the use of vaginal mesh has received more and more media attention. Typical pain suffered by  women include chronic pain, not being able to make love, inability to work as usual and walking troubles. These problems arise from vaginal mesh cutting organs or becoming stuck in tissue, leaving permanent nerve damage.

 

 

 

Compensation Claims likely Following Confirmation of Public Service Card Data Breach

It is extremely likely the State will face a barrage of compensation claims following revelations that the gathering of data during the issuing of Public Services Cards (PSC) was illegal.

The Data Protection Commission (DPC) has published a report which found that the storing of information gathered during the application process was illegal, along with the obligation on the general public to have the card in order to avail of the provision of certain State services and benefits.

There are already several civil society groups who have revealed that they are considering submitting a class-action style case. At the time that the card was introduced advocacy groups in including Digital Rights Ireland, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, the UN’s special rapporteur on extreme poverty, Age Action objected to it.

Following the DPC investigation it was deemed that the operation of the PSC scheme does not comply with the transparency requirements of the data protection acts due to the inadequate nature of information provided, by Department of Social Welfare, to those who were having their data processed. The result of this is that he data held on more than three million card holders must now be deleted and data processing by the Department, rather that the public body providing the service, must be discontinued. These tasks must be completed within the specified timeline or some enforcement measures may be sanctioned against those responsible.

In a statement regarding the investigation the DPC said “Ultimately, we were struck by the extent to which the scheme, as implemented in practice, is far-removed from its original concept,” the DPC said in a statement published on its website.

“Whereas the scheme was conceived as one that would make it easier to access (and deliver) public services, with chip-and-pin type cards being used for actual card-based transactions, the true position is that no public sector body has invested in the technology capable of reading the chip that contains the encrypted elements of the Public Sector Identity dataset. Instead, the card has been reduced to a limited form of photo-ID, for which alternative uses have then had to be found.”

There have been some calls for the Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty to resign from her position due to the controversy. Sinn Fein have revealed that they are considering tabling a motion of no confidence prior to the Dáil returning from summer recess in September. Reacting to the investigation findings, Minister Doherty said: “We only received the report yesterday. It’s a very comprehensive report. We are going to consider the report and issue a full response as soon as we can.”

The card was launched initially in 2011 in order to assist with the processing of social welfare payments. Following this, it was required for a number of other services including first-time adult passport applicants, replacement of lost, stolen or damaged passports issued prior to January 2005, where the person is resident in the State, citizenship applications, driving test and driver licence appointments.

This does not mean that the PSC is now a redundant form of identification and it will continue to be valid for a range of specific services. Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon said: “Any cards that have been issued, their validity is not in question by anything we’ve found in this report,” she said. “They can continue to be used in the context of availing of free travel or availing of benefits that a person is claiming from the department.”

She went on to say that this does not mean that it is impossible to issue a single card, or possibly a national identity card that can be used for all interactions with the state.  She said: “No, we’re not saying that at all. We’re saying that if that’s what’s intended or required, there isn’t a lawful basis [as currently set up]. It can’t be the case that a national identity card automatically offends EU charter fundamental rights or EU data protection law because they exist all around Europe. It is a possibility, by carefully laying down the lawful basis for such a card.”

Ms Dixon has asked the Department to publish the report of the investigation in the Public Services Card.

 

Giraffe Creche Compensation of €35,000 for Young Girl

€35,000 Giraffe Creche Compensation has been awarded to seven-year-old Emily Martin who was filmed in an RTE documentary on creche mismanagement tied into a chair and left to cry during nap time when she was just 21 months old.

Presiding Judge Simons was that that n 2013 an RTE journalist took up a undercover role at the Giraffe Creche in Stepaside. She was employed as childcare worker and was able to secretly record the daily practices for a duration of six weeks. The footage she captured was broadcast on May 28, 2013 displaying many of the children being badly treated.

Emily Martin, via her father Jonathan Martin, was recorded as part of RTE’s first undercover creche expose. she took the Giraffe Creche Compensation action against Giraffe Childcare and the Health Service Executive (HSE).

The court was told that Emily had been attending the Giraffe Creche at Belarmine Copse, Enniskerry Road, Stepaside, Dublin from the time that she was eight months old. Just after her first birthday she was moved into into the ‘wobbler room’. Her (Emily’s) parent’s informed Judge Simons that they had considered the claims of the creche brochure that the care given was of a ‘premium nature’ before enrolling Emily to attend.

They said that they became extremely distressed upon viewing the RTE Primetime documentary footage. The footage in question showed their child tied to a chair to prevent her from walking. There was more footage of Emily crying while holding her toy horse was she was having difficulty getting to sleep during nap time.

Counsel for Emily and her parents advised the judge that Emily was told to ‘go asleep’ repeatedly and a creche worker threatened to taken the toy horse away from her when she did not. The RTE reporter tried to comfort Emily as she was crying but was directed to ‘leave her cry’. Emily parent’s immediately took her away from the care of the creche upon viewing the documentary footage.

Her parents also told the Judge that, once she was moved into the wobbler room,Emily began to experience trouble sleeping and would regularly often become angry and would shout. After she was taken away from the the creche this behaviour came to an end.

The creche abuse compensation action alleged that Giraffe creche had failed to put in place proper precautions for Emily’s safety, had wrongly restrained children in chairs and had tried to put them to sleep in a cruel way. In addition to this it was claimed that supervision and training of staff it was not conducted properly.

A different claim was taken by the Nolan family against he Health Service Executive, stating that the body had not made sure that the creche complied with all childcare regulations.

A settlement was agreed between all parties involved and Judge Simons said he was happy to approve this Giraffe creche compensation settlement, which included meeting the costs of the legal action.

Garda and Tusla Take Action in Creche Scandal

Tusla, Ireland’s Child Protection Agency, is linking up with the Garda Child Protection Unit at Mountjoy Garda to initiate an official investigation into poor and illegal standards of care at the Hyde & Seek Childcare chain that were uncovered by an RTÉ Investigates documentary that was aired last night.

The Tusla Social Work Unit has obtained, and handed over to the Gardai, a copy of RTE’s secretly filming of what was taking place at the creches operated by the Hyde and Seek company. This videotape includes footage of children being emotionally abused and badly treated staff at the creches included. Some of the breaches of legislation and required standards included:

  • Inadequate staff to children ratios
  • Garda vetting not completed prior to employment starting,
  • Poor food
  • Not enough space allowed between cots where children were sleeping

Gardaí in two Dublin stations are seeking all concerned parents to contact them at Mountjoy Garda Station as they seek to investigate operations at the Hyde and Seek crechés. Concerned parents are asked to contact Mountjoy Garda Station on 01 666 8600.

A group representing parents of the children that attended Hyde & Seek creches revealed their devastation and sorrow at what was revealed in the RTE programme and criticised Tusla for not providing the framework within which regulation breaches could not occur. It read: “Our trust has been betrayed. We call on all parties concerned to immediately address how this happened, and to credibly explain how they will make amends. It appears the current oversight system, even when it detects breaches, is inadequate to ensure the same, similar, or more serious breaches do not occur again.”

In a separate statement released yesterday Tusla said: “We recognise and share the serious concerns the programme raises about the quality of care within these crèches, but more importantly the impact of concerning adult behaviours on children. We have been proactively addressing areas of non-compliance with regulations in these crèches since 2018.”

Hyde & Seek Childcare, owned and run by Anne and Peter Davy their daughter Siobhan Davy, has four creches across Dublin City catering for children from three months up to 12 years of age. Prior to the documentary being aired Anne Davy was removed by the company from all activity involved the immediate supervision of children.

In a separate enquiry, Gardaí based in Mountjoy are investigating an alleged assault on a young girl at one of the crèches which is thought to have occurred earlier this month. No arrests have yet been made in this case.

Speaking in relation to the worrying revelations uncovered by RTE Investigates, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: “I think I speak for everybody in the country when I say that I was really appalled by what we saw on Prime Time in relation to the way that children were treated. And I know that a lot of parents dropping their kids off to crèche or to preschool this morning must have been that little bit more worried or that little bit more nervous than they would be normally.”

Hyde and Seek will be facing a number of official investigations, many of which have already commenced, and possibly soome creché scandal compensation claims.

 

 

 

 

Wrongful Death Compensation Award of €170,000 for Widow

The widow of pensioner Martin Flannery, who died due to carbon monoxide poisoning has settled a wrongful death compensation action €170,000.

Mr Flannery has gone to check if the petrol generators were switched on to effectively heat a newly constructed building for his niece. The house was being heated in advance of a first fix airtight test.

However, Mr Flannery was discovered unconscious in the house, which was next door to his own hosue in Mayo, in 2015. An official inquest into the death of Martin Flannery (66)  recorded a verdict of accidental death.

At the time the coroner John O’Dwyer said Mr Flannery was merely helping his brother and his niece by checking on the house when the tragic incident occurred. Martin Flannery was found unconscious in a room at the rear of the property and despite efforts to revive him, he was pronounced dead after being taken to hospital.

In the High Court this week Mr Flannery’s widow Eileen, his wife of 42 years , took the wrongful death compensation action against her husband’s niece Laura Costello and her husband Declan Costello also of Kilkeeran, Ballinarobe, Co Mayo in relation to the accident that took place on September 11, 2015.

In the legal action if was claimed there was a failure to have any proper or adequate system of ventilation in place in the building. In addition to this it was claimed the house has been allegedly allowed to become toxic with carbon monoxide fumes and to constitute a serious hazard for those entering the premises. Finally it was also claimed there was an alleged failure to cordon off the house while the generators were in use and until the place had been made safe for those entering the house. The legal representatives for the defence refuted all of these claims.

The High Court was informed that, when the accident occurred, the house was at first fix stage in construction and had an air tight test scheduled for later that day. Prior to that test the house had to be heated and two fan heaters and an oil heater were put in place. These heaters were powered by two petrol generators as electricity had not yet been connected to the house. Both generators had been running for about an hour the night before. They had been powered off overnight.

On  September 11, 2015 the generators were turned and checked on again. Mr Martin Flannery had checked in the generators at 10.30am and was due to check on them again after bringing his wife to the local town. However, when the air tight specialist called to the house to complete the test at approximately 12.30pm he switched off one of the generators.

At this point in time he noticed a strange smell and became dizzy as he went upstairs in the building. Due to this he left the house but when he went back in he found Mr Flannery unconscious in a room at the back. He dragged him (Mr Flannery) outside to try and revive him. However, Mr.Flannery was later pronounced dead in hospital.

Justice Tom Cross approved the €170,000 settlement in the wrongful death compensation.

€40,000 Personal Injury Insurance for Man Injured in Car Accident

A man has been awarded just under €40,000 damages in the Circuit Civil Court in relation to a car accident that occurred as he had been driving to work via the M50 on December 21 2015

Kieran Brennan of Monastery Road, Clondalkin, Dublin 22, told Circuit Court President, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke that he was stopped at the Northwood exit when he was struck from behind by a vehicle driven by Dylan Duffy.

He told his barrister, Fiona Pekaar that he had, a first, sustained shoulder and neck pain but this had soon resolved. Brennan said he had been left with constant lower back pain that had prevented him from taking part in the same standard of active lifestyle he once had, including being unable to participate in a similar amount of marathon running and soccer matches as he had before the accident occurred.

Medical evidence was presented to show that Brennan had a pre-accident degenerative condition. However Judge Groarke said that that condition had not been an issue before the accident and he believed it had been triggered by the M50 incident.

The Judge, in delivering his ruling, said Mr Brennan had been suffering with a bulging disk in his back and although most medical reports had indicated this had not been due to the accident, he could not ignore the report that suggested it had been a one of the outcomes of the accident.

Legal representative for the defendant referred to the fact that Mr Brennan had taken part in the ‘Hell and Back’ adventure race in Bray, Co Wicklow in October 2016 which was a difficult assault course involving various activities and obstacles to be overcome.

However, Judge Groarke said Mr Brennan still participates in a number of marathons and plays soccer once a week and the court did not believe his level of physical activity was at the same level as it had been prior to the accident occurring.

Judge Groarke said he was sympathetic to Mr Brennan and awarded him general damages of €35,000 and special damages of €4,424.82 against Mr Dylan Duffy, however a stay was granted on his award on condition Mr Brennan was paid out  €20,000.

Personal Injury Compensation Award of €30,000 Awarded to Daughter of Man who Died after being Expelled from Pub

€30,000 personal injury compensation High Court settlement has been awarded to the daughter of a man sadly passed away following a heart attack. Prior to suffering from the heart attack he had been thrown out of a late night bar.

The man in question, 39-year-old Paraic O’Donnell with an address at St Finian’s Close, Achill Sound, Achill, Co Mayo, had an underlying health problem before the episode. He had the heart attack as he was being brought to a Garda Station following being expelled from from Cox’s Latebar in Castlebar, Co Mayo, on June 6, 2012 for alleged threatening behaviour.

The man’s daughter, 12-year-old Edel O’Donnell took the legal action through her mother Claire Scahill, against the licensee of Cox’s, two security staff who threw him out ejected him, the Garda Commissioner and the Ministers for Justice and Finance.

Legal counsel for Edel, Conall MacCarthy BL, said it was a very sad and tragic case in which Mr O’Donnell was a patron of the bar and suffered from a chronic underlying condition when he was ejected from the premises and later had a heart attack which he died from.

During the case it was alleged that when he arrived at Castlebar Garda Station, Mr O’Donnell was not responsive. He was then rushed to hospital for treatment but sadly before this could happen he had died.

The licensee argued that reasonable force was used to eject him after Mr O’Donnell had engaged in violent and threatening behaviour towards the security staff.  The State parties denied the claims and said he caused and/or contributed to the matters which gave rise to his death.

The case against Cox’s and the security men was dismissed and the settlement offered was against the gardai and the ministers. Regarding liability legal advice provided was there may possibly be difficulties in proving liability as the licensee was acting within the law when Mr O’Donnell was ejected from the pub. The same issues were also in existence regarding liability against the State parties.

Mr Justice Simons said it was obvious from the case the public house discharged its duty of care and it was unclear what case would have been made against the State parties. He went on to say that he has no hesitation in approving the settlement sum of €30,000 negotiated.

 

€150,000 Hot Chocolate Ryanair Accident Compensation for Girl (8)

A personal injury compensation claim against Ryanair ,in relation to an eight-year-old girl who sustained second-degree scald burns when a cup of hot chocolate fell on her, has been settled for an approved award of €150,000.

The girl, American Sriya Venkata Neti was on a flight from Rome to Krakow with her parents when the hot liquid and the paper cup slipped on top of her as she took a drink of the hot chocolate.

Taking the legal action through her father Srinivas Neti, Sriya sued Ryanair over the accident that happened on the Rome to Krakow flight on June 25, 2016.

The young girl suffered burns to her thighs and buttocks and as as well as some scarring, the court was informed. Srinivas Neti submitted an affidavit to the court, which said that the scarring has now substantially healed. He also informed the court that his daughter has made a good recovery and the condition of her injuries has greatly improved.

Sriya’s legal representative Hugh Mohan SC told the High Court the little girl suffered serious burns.  A medical report handed in to the court said the hot liquid gathered on the seat causing extreme burning pain and the child’s mother had to release the child from her safety belt on the seat and her clothing had to be removed. Her mother said that daughter’s skin was gone from where the liquid landed and blisters were forming in other places.

When they arrived in Krakow the girl was airlifted to hospital and was then sent to to Toronto, Canada where she spent eight days being treated as an outpatient before returning home to California.

As part of the legal action it was claimed that the failure of the cabin crew to take action lead to the burns suffered being worse than they initially would have been. In particular, it was claimed that there was no efforts made to try and provide any or any appropriate means of cooling the burns. Ryanair refuted the allegations that were made in the legal action.

Presiding Judge Justice Justice Kevin Cross approved the the settlement, telling the Court that it must have been very painful when Sriya was scalded and also pointed to the fact that the young girl has also been left with bad wounds scarring despite making a good recovery to date.

 

Birth Negligence Compensation Action of €60,000 Heard in High Court

A 15-year-old boy who alleges that he sustained a wound to his face during when his mother giving birth to him via Cesarean Section in 2003 has filed a €60,000 birth injury compensation action against the master of the National Maternity Hospital and Dr Stephen Carroll, the surgeon who operated on his mother.

Through his barrister Mark O’Connell Rory Saunders and his mother Noeleen Saunders, of Silchester Park, Glenageary, informed Circuit Court President Justice Raymond Groarke that his cheek was lacerated during the delivery.

The Cesarean section compensation action was taken, Mr O’Connell told Justice Groarke, due to the consequences of the steps taken at the time of Rory’s birth on September 9, 2003. It is claimed that the scalpel employed in the procedure by Dr Carroll cut Rory’s left cheek. Following the deliverythe wound was cleaned and Steri-Strips were applied.

Rory now has a permanent 2.5cm scar on his cheek, which can be seen when standing close to him. The wound, Judge Groarke was told, is more visible during the summer season. In addition to this, the scar has become a source of stress for Rory due to negative teasing and mocking at school and among his friends.

Dr Carroll, who is a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist and a specialist in high-risk pregnancies, and the National Maternity Hospital denied the claims in relation to medical negligence. Specialist plastic surgeon Matt McHugh said that he felt that the laceration was not going to improve in the future.

Judge Groarke was provided with the medical reports of two renowned consultants during proceedings and was also informed that a birth injury compensation offer of €25,000 had been made to Rory.

Judge Groarke stated that he was not content with the compensation offer before the court and remarked that one medical report appeared to give “a very blunt view” on the issue. The Judge said that be believed that the specialist in question, who had not seen his colleague’s medical report before giving his opinion, should be asked to further review the other medical report to see if there was any new considerations for him.

The Cesarean section compensation hearing was adjourned to for more time for the medical reports to be considered by all parties.

Man With Brain Injury Who Was Removed from Pub Awarded €3,500 Compensation

A settlement has been agreed to pay €3,500 compensation to a man with a brain tumour who was asked to leave a licensed premises in the mistaken belief that he was drunk.

The man had been in the pub celebrating the conclusion of rehabilitative treatment for a brain injury he had suffered. He was also experiencing a bad limp due to his condition at that time. However, employees in the licensed premises believed this to be a sign that he was drunk  and asked him to leave, despite the man’s best attempts at explaining the reasons for this.

The man, who had legal representation provided by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC), said that the incident “caused him significant distress and embarrassment.” He submitted the action to the District Court for redress under the auspices of Intoxicating Liquor Act 2003.

Once an apology had been made the matter was settled with the need for a court hearing after the licensed premises agreed to pay the individual €3,500 compensation.

Along with this this, the management of the licensed premises have agreed to  to attending a yearly equality training course. No admission of liability was made.

An IHREC spokesman commented: “In addition, the licensed premises also agreed to provide a policy on treating all customers equally and making reasonable accommodation for customers with disabilities in line with obligations under the Equal Status Acts 2000-2018 and Intoxicating Liquor Act 2003,”

IHREC chief commissioner Emily Logan remarked: “As this case demonstrates, issues arising from brain injury should not mean you risk discrimination when out socialising. It is important that people providing services are trained and supported by employers in understanding the varied needs of their customers.”

Ms Logan went on to say that “the Intoxicating Liquor Act is acting as barrier for people in accessing justice when they face discrimination” as it states that claimants must take their case to the District Court. Ms Logan pleaded for these cases to be heard in the non-court setting of the Workplace Relations Commission going forward.

Repaired Road Accident Compensation Award of €64,000 for Man Following Bike Accident

Joseph Kearney (47), who was inflicted with a serious back injury when his bike slipped on a recently repaired roadway where too much bitumen sealant had been applied, has been awarded €64,000 repaired road compensation at the High Court.

Portlaw, Co Waterford resident Mr Kearney took the repaired road compensation claim against Tipperary County Council, the body charged with the upkeep of the road, and Roadstone Wood Ltd, the business which carried out the repairs on the road in question.

Judge Bronagh O’Hanlon told the High Court that is easy to see that Mr Kearney had experienced significant pain and a loss of the amenities of life due to the accident that happened at Ballinaraha, Kilsheelan, Clonmel, Co Tipperary, on December 26 2011.

Judge O’Hanlon, who ruled that Tipperary Co Council and Roadstone Wood were both at fault in the incident, said that both parties appeared to accept the evidence given by Mr Kearney that there had been poor professionalism shown in relation to the work completed on the road repairs. A similar incident had occurred on another part of the same road and a witness to that accident provided evidence in this case.

Judge O’Hanlon said that that Roadstone Wood had completed the road repair works without making sure it had been finished to the proper standard. She added that Tipperary County Council was also at fault as the accident could have been avoided if corrective steps had been applied following the other accident that occured on the same stretch of road.

The court was told that Mr Kearney’s bike accident happened when he was cycling as part of a group of 17 people, cycling two abreast on the hard shoulder of the road in question. Mr Kearney was wearing his helmet and, as he approached a curve on the road, he fell from his bicycle. Judge O’Hanlon said that she believed Mr Kearney had provided his evidence honestly and did not seek to exaggerate accident or his injuries.

Store Room Accident Compensation Award of €24,000 for Shop Worker

A shop worker has been awarded in excess of €24,000 store room accident compensation against her employer after falling over the open flap of a clothes box in the store that she was working in.

Ms Smiths legal counsel, Barrister John Nolan appearing with Kent Carty Solicitors, told the Circuit Court that Ms Smith had damaged her shoulders and back in the accident that happened in the store during November 2015. His client said that the storeroom at the Vera Moda shop in the Pavilion Shopping Centre, Swords, had been over packed untidily with boxes. Ms Smith (28) said she had been moving stock from a store room when her knee hit off the flap of a box, causing her to suffer a big fall. She was inflicted with injuries to her neck and both shoulders and her back and had a soft tissue injury to her wrist after having made an attempt to break her fall with her hands.

Aisling Smith, of Woodlawn Way, Santry, Dublin 17 was informed by Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke that, due to contributory negligence, he was reducing her personal injury compensation award to just over €19,000 as she had not been maintaining an adequate look-out in the Vera Moda store.

Judge Groarke awarded Ms Smith a total of €22,500 store room compensation but cut the personal injury compensation award to €19,125 due to the aforementioned contributory negligence. He remarked that she had been employed at the store for a long enough period of time that should have seen to it that she was aware of the importance of keeping a proper look-out and been more careful in relation to her own safety.

He said that proof provided by consultant forensic engineer Barry Tennyson, who had completed an examination of the stock room, indicated that the defendant had put a big effort into tidying up the store before the joint engineering inspection. Judge Groarke said the stock room had been kept in a rather messy manner.

Ms Smith told the court that a stock box had been moved out from a safe position against the wall and was left with one of its flaps lying open and causing an obstruction. A store room accident compensation award of €2,000 for loss of earnings was incorporated into her final compensation award.

€52,600 Creche Accident Compensation Awarded For Thigh Bone Break

A nine-year-old boy who broke his leg in a creche accident in 2014 was awarded €52,600 creche accident compensation against its the owners of the childcare centre.

Legal representative for the boy’s family, Barrister Ronan Quinn told the court that Cillian Geraghty was with a group of children who were brought to the bathroom to use the facilities on September 17, 2013, just days in the aftermath of his fourth birthday.

Mr Quinn, who was representing for Ms Andrea Geraghty and her Cillian, was appearing in court along with Joe Clancy Solicitors and advised the court that Cillian broke a thigh bone after a fall and was restricted in his movement for a number of weeks. He had to stay home from school in a right hip spica cast. Andrea informed Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke that a light was switched off and on, without any warning, which startled Cillian and he fell in the bathroom at the creche.

Cillian was brought to Crumlin Hospital on the day of the accident for treatment. Medical staff at the children’s hospital chose to keep the boy in overnight before he underwent surgery the next day.

Mr Quinn told Judge Groarke that, following initial examinations and care, Dr Paula Kelly, consultant orthopaedic foot and ankle surgeon at the Beacon Consultants Clinic, Sandyford, Dublin, noted a 0.5mm length discrepancy between Cillian’s right leg and his left. However she said that this condition had resolved  itself when she reviewed in during later examinations.

Ms Geraghty informed the court, via an affidavit, that the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PAIB) had said a creche accident compensation award of €32,000 would be standard for an injury such as the one Cillian suffered. However, she was not satisfied with this. Additional settlement negotiations were conducted between all parties involved and RSA Insurance, who were representing the creche. Following this a new compensation offer of €50,000.

Ms Gerathy told Judge Groarke that the family had also had to repay a sum of €2,000 to their private health insurers.

Judge Groarke, who said he was satisfied from Ms Geraghty’s assurances to the court that Cillian had returned to full health after the accident. He approved the creche accident compensation settlement terms of €52,600.

Trauma Injury Compensation Settlement of €20,000 for 5-year-old Boy Who Witnessed Mother Glass Panel Injury Approved

A five-year-old boy has been awarded psychiatric injury compensation of €20,000 after he witnessed his mother being seriously injured and covered in blood after she walked into a pane of glass when he was just 15-months-old.

Legal Counsel for the boy, Jude Johnson-Rice told the Circuit Civil Court that in December 2014 the boy was at Terenure College Rugby Football Club with his mother, Jill, when he saw his mother’s injuries after she mistakenly walked into a clear glass pane that did not have adequate indications or warnings.

Despite not witnessing the accident or the glass shattering, Jude had been extremely distressed by seeing his mother covered in blood following the accident. The defendants, Panda Play Café Limited and Terenure College Rugby Football Club, had already agreed a personal injury compensation settlement with the Jude’s claim and had offered a compensation settlement of €20,000 to the five-year-old boy.

Legal Counsel for the rugby club had made a full defence in which it had claimed that the child had not sustained any recognised psychiatric injury. In addition to this they argued that the mother had waited for two years after the incident to take the child in question for medical treatment despite claiming that her son had remained very nervous and anxious for six months after the incident.

Following some correspondence between both legal teams, the family solicitor John Murphy told them after they denied liability that they could incur further serious costs arising out of inspections and the provision of cctv footage.  Following a settlement meeting an offer of had been made.

Judge Garavan, who said that while there was no recognised psychiatric illness diagnosed, nonetheless there were many cases that came before the court that did not measure up to post traumatic stress disorder. He approved the offer.

Garda Work Injury Compensation Award of €38,000 for Assault while on Duty

A €38,500 attack at work compensation award has been approved for a garda who was knocked out in a savage attack by a gang of thugs and left with significant injuries.

At the High Court today Judge Justice Tony O’Connor was informed that Detective Garda Brian Dunne was able to save a dislodged tooth by pushing it back up into his gum after he regained consciousness following the attack.

Garda Dunne told the Judge he will always carry the the pain of pushing his upper right front tooth back into his gum socket with him. He added that he was told by a dental consultant that this course of action saved his tooth.

The High Court was told that that attack happened prior to Christmas 2006 when the uniformed community garda, who was working out of Ballymun Garda Station, had been attacked by a group of six young men as they were going to a party.

Judge O’Connor said that the group in question could only be labelled as ‘thugs’ who had carried out a savage assault on Garda Dunne. The judge was told that the garda had been punched, pushed to the ground, and had a bottle smashed into his face. After this he had been kicked repeatedly in the head and body until he eventually was knocked out.

Co-workers of Detective Garda Dunne rushed to the scene and then brought him to the Mater Hospital by ambulance. Here he had his injuries treated. Garda Dunne stated: “I suffered a very bad gash to my mouth and to the back of my head and I learned that some of my teeth had been pushed backwards. At the scene when I recovered I had pushed a dislodged front tooth back into my gum. Another one of my teeth had been broken.”

He informed the court his underwent a procedure that included four stitches to one side of his mouth and five to the opposite side. On the interior of his mouth he had 14 stitches inserted. The gash on the back of his head had been repaired using glue.

In relation to the pain that he experienced, Detective Garda Dunne said his teeth had been very painful and he had to undergo root canal work. In addition to this, his body was bruised and he had a shoulder injury. After this  he was required to attend review appointments over the course of the following five years. These reviews indicated that that the dislodged tooth had never fully recovered its original position after the assault.

Garda Dunner informed the Court that he had missed work for about six weeks following the attack. He said that he went back to work very quickly as he was due for promotion to detective. He now believes he had probably returned to work ‘too early’.

Legal counsel for the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform barrister Joseph O’Sullivan was told by Detective Garda Dunne that he resumed full duties within three months of the incident occurring. His recovery has been good and he has is once again playing football for his local club, though he still suffers from an occasional niggle him while exerting himself physically.

Settlement Agreed in Fall in Marks and Spencer Compensation Action

A supermarket accident compensation case has been settled in the High Court between Marks and Spencer (Ireland) and a women who alleges that she fractured her leg when a Marks and Spencer employee collided with her while coming off a step ladder.

Loretta McSherry (64) from Cremore,Templeogue, Dublin informed the High Court that she was shopping in the Marks and Spencer store at Dundrum Shopping Centre for some ready-made meals when the accident occurred. Ms McSherry said was moving through the bakery section the accident happened.

Mc McSherry stated: “I looked at some scones but thought they looked stale and decided not to buy. I gave the step ladder a wide berth, I was not aware of anybody on the ladder. I was struck in the shoulder as I walked past. It was like my Superman moment, I flew forward.”

Ms McSherry told the Judge that the pain she felt following the accident was the worst she had ever experienced and left her writhing on the ground. The medical professionals that  treated her said that she had fractured her thigh bone in a manner consistent with a high speed vehicle accident.

Ms McSherry, who works as an IT systems analyst, had submitted the personal injury compensation action against Marks and Spencer (Ireland) Ltd, with offices at Mary Street, Dublin in relation to the accident that occurred on January 4, 2014 at the Dundrum Shopping Centre outlet.

She claimed that Mark and Spencer employees had not made sure that the shopping aisle was safe for customers and that there was an alleged failure to guarantee her safety. She added that a Marks and Spencer employee was allegedly permitted to use a step ladder for restocking without any assistance in doing so. Finally, she said there was a failure to cordon off or stop customers from coming too close to the step ladder.

Marks and Spencer denied the claims and contended there was contributory negligence on Ms McSherry’s part for allegedly failing pay adequate attention to the area that she was shopping in.

 

Family of Murdered Garda Awarded €1.3m Personal Injury Compensation

The family of a Garda who was murdered while on duty has been awarded €1.3million personal injury compensation in a legal action taken against the State in relation to his death.

Garda Caroline Deloughrey, the widow of deceased Garda Adrian Donohoe who was shot dead five years ago while on armed escort duty, took the legal action against the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. Ms Deloughrey has retired on health grounds from the force since the death of her husband.

Mr Justice Michael Twomey, who presides over Garda Compensation matters in the High Court, was asked to give his approval to the negotiated settlement due to involvement in the legal actions of Garda Donohoe’s son and daughter who are now aged 11 and 12.

Ms Deloughrey, a native of Co Clare, told the Court that she met her husband when the were training at the Garda Training Collegein Co Tipperary. Both of them had been working within the Garda National Immigration Bureau based in Dundalk Garda Station. Her husband had been on armed escort duty with a colleague at Lordship Credit Union, Bellurgan, Co Louth, on January 25, 2013 when he was fatally shot.

Ms Deloughrey and her children were legally represented by former Attorney General Eoghan Fitzsimons SC and Barrister Eamonn M J Coffey, who appeared with the family solicitors James McGuill and Company.

Judge Twomey was informed that a settlement of  €970,000 had been agreed by the legal representatives of Garda Donohoe’s surviving family members for Ms Deloughrey with the remainder of the award being split almost equally between her two children, but slightly in favour of the younger child.

The Judge was told that the Minister had agreed that the formula of division of the overall personal injury compensation award was acceptable to the State. The children’s shares of the award are to be lodged in court funds until they are 18 years old and Ms Deloughrey will receive her €970,000 compensation award as soon as possible.

Student Settles Injury at Work Compensation following Hot Oil Accident

A student who took an injury at work compensation against the Chinese takeaway he worked in has settled his High Court action. The young man was burned by hot oil when he unknowingly sat on a bucket of freshly discarded bucket of it.

Umesh Maharjan, a fine arts student sustained devastating injuries when the oil splashed on his back and arm, the court was told. He was in significant pain and has been left with “grossly disfiguring” scars and wounds.

Originally from Kathmandu in Nepal, Mr Maharjan was employed in the Rathnew Chinese Takeaway in Wicklow to help fund his studies in Ireland. The 29-year-old Mr Maharjan, who has an address at Dock Road, Limerick, took his injury at work compensation action against Rathnew Restaurant and Takeaway Ltd due the accident that took place  on August 21, 2015.

His legal representative for Mr Maharjan, Declan Doyle SC, said he was taking a break at the rear of the takeaway where plastic buckets were stored. Another member of staff had placed hot cooking oil from a deep-fat fryer in a bucket there and when Mr Maharjan sat upon it, the lid shifted and he fell backwards when the oil spilled over his back and left arm.

Mr Maharjan sustained life-changing injuries and had significant burns. Co-workers assisted him and applied water to the areas of his body that were burned. He was then taken to hospital.

Presiding Judge, Justice Michael Hanna was informed the issue of liability had been withdrawn in the case and it was before the court for assessment of damages only.

Mr Doyle SC told that Judge that, following talks between all relevant parties yesterday, the case had been settled and could be dismissed.

Copper Face Jacks Injury Compensation of Over €80k awarded for Ankle Break

Colin McNamara, a bar manager from Limerick, has been awarded over €80,000 disco accident compensation by the High Court following a successful claim due to breaking his ankle in a wet floor slip at well known Dublin nightclub Copper Face Jacks nightclub and breaking his ankle in two places.

Mr McNamara was in the Dublin nightclub after he had visited the capital to view a Republic of Ireland soccer match at the Aviva Stadium in 2015 when he fell on the wet floor and broke his ankle in two different places.

Mr McNamara, now 36 years old, with an address at Sycamore Avenue, Rathbane, Co Limerick had submitted the disco accident compensation action against Breanagh Catering Ltd and the owners of the nightclub Copper Face Jacks at Harcourt Street, Dublin, due to the injuries he sustained in the accident that took place on October 9, 2015. In his personal injury compensation action Mr McNamara said that he slipped on a floor which, he claimed, was wet and represented a slipping hazard to patrons.

Mr McNamara informed Mr Justice Michael Hanna that “the wet floor caused me to slip and fall. I turned to walk but I ended up on the floor.”

He claimed that there was a failure to implement any proper steps to clean and dry the floor surface before the accident happened. Additionally, he alleged that the floor had been allowed to remain wet and slippy and presenting a serious danger to patrons.

The defendants in the personal injury compensation action refuted these claims. Mr Justice Hanna told the High Court that he had been given an order of the court giving judgment against the defendant. Due to this, issues of liability were not an issue. As efforts to resolve the case were unsuccessful the defendant chose not intervene in court to challenge the medical evidence, as was their right, but instead chose to use a legal cost accountant.

In the testimony at the High Court, Mr McNamara told the Judge that security staff came and lifted him from the ground and brought him out to a back alley where a member of staff looked at his leg and ankle before advising him that it was not broken. They, the security staff, said that they could not call an ambulance. Mr McNamara said he “hobbled away” and used a taxi to return to his hotel. Due to the fact that he was still in a considerable amount of pain upon his return to Limerick, Mr McNamara went to hospital where he was told that he had broken his ankle in two places. He also had to have surgery and was on crutches for a period of time following this.

Mr Justice Michael Hanna, told the High Court that Mr McNamara has sustained a serious and significant injury when accounting for the fact that he would be required to be “fleet of foot” in job as a bar manager. He went on to say that Mr McNamara was absent from work for five months due to slipping on the wet floor of the disco.

Justice Hanna said that the appropriate figure of nite club compensation was €80,000 plus special damages of €7,116 to cover medical and other expenses of Mr McNamara.

Garda Shoulder Injury Compensation of €8,000 Awarded

A High Court judge has awarded €8,000 compensation to a garda for a soft tissue shoulder injury which he sustained while on duty.

This was far less than the €20,000 personal injury compensation originally sought in the action. Garda Ronan Leonard took the compensation action against the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform over an injury he sustained while on duty he fell on July 11, 2014, while chasing a suspect.

Garda Leonard went to an out of hours doctor service and, following this, was tended to at an A&E hospital department. During this treatment X-rays were carried out which showed no fractures. He was  sent home with a course of pain-killers and anti-inflammatories. Garda Leonard was absent from work for five days on sick leave before returning.

As he was still suffering with constant pain, on July 21 Garda Leonard went to his family GP for ongoing pain. Here he was diagnosed with a sprain to the joint at the top of his left shoulder and given a steroid injection and anti-inflammatories. This course of treatment was repeated in October 2014.

The court was told that Garda Leonard has now made a full recovery from the soft tissue injury and there was no evidence of him making any previous claim under the Garda Compensation Acts.

Counsel for Garda Leonard argued that he should get €20,000 based on the Book of Quantum. However, the court ruled that the appropriate award was €8000, plus €60 agreed special damages.

The Judge remarked in his ruling that the award should be €8,000 due to the recent binding decisions of the Court of Appeal in relation to personal injury cases. This decision stated that a downwards recalibration of damages in certain personal injury actions of between 45-50 percent must take place.

The judge also said that he felt that €8,000 personal injury compensation was fair to Garda Leonard and proportionate to the injury suffered.

Nursing Home Fatal Accident Compensation of €54,000 Awarded Deceased Woman’s Family

€54,000 fatal injury in a nursing home accident compensation has been awarded to the family of a 90-year-old woman who died as a result of scald injuries she sustained from a burst hot water bottle .

The family, the court was told, were awarded compensation due to the trauma, suffering, funeral and travel expenses in the aftermath of death of their mother and granny at a nursing home in Dublin.

Legal counsel for the family Barrister Frank Crean informed Circuit Court President, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke, that the late Olive Sheeran sustained serious scalding on her buttocks, left thigh and calf, heels and ankles when a hot water bottle burst in the bed that she was sleeping in.

The operators of the Deansgrange-based nursing home, SRCW Limited, had agreed to pay the family €54,406 nursing home injury compensation according to Mr Crean. The Court was told that Ms Carol Hayes, with an address at Corabally, Ardfield, Clonakilty, Co Cork, a daughter of the late Ms Sheeran, had initiated the injury compensation action against SRCW Limited on behalf of herself and her brothers Mark (57) and Conor Sheeran (55) and Ms Sheeran’s grandchildren Adam (18), Jennifer (17), Alexandra (26), and Thomas Sheeran (20) and Peter (28), Matthias (26) and Oisin (23) Hayes.

The court was informed by Ms Hayes through an affidavit that she was asking the court grant approval to the Injuries Board assessment “in respect of the fatal injuries” her mother, then aged 89, had suffered in an accident at Ferndene on January 6, 2017. Ms Hayes told the court that her mother had been residing in the home when the accident that led to her death occurred.

The accident took place when a nurse at the home had attended Ms Sheeran’s room and taken two water bottles away to refill them with fresh water. One of the refilled water bottles was then put next to Ms Sheeran’s feet and burst a little while later, inflicting significant burns on her.

Presiding Judge Groarke was informed that following an investigation all water bottles had been removed from use at the nursing home and the investigator had recommended that they be replaced with coded stock which should be inspected once a month and replaced with new bottles once per year.

Ms Sheeran had been rushed by ambulance to the emergency department of St Vincent’s Hospital where she had been tended to before being brought to the burns unit of St James’s Hospital. Her burns were then been treated with antiseptic dressings, antibiotics and analgesia. However, Ms Sheeran had contracted pneumonia and a urinary tract infection and prescribed a course of intravenous antibiotics. Ms Sheeran died before her wounds had completely healed.

Judge Groarke approved the nursing home accident compensation settlement.

€4,000 Police Injury Compensation for Garda Attacked by Girlfriend’s Brother

Garda Fintan Smith has been awarded €4,000 policeman injury compensation after being assaulted by his girlfriend’s brother while he was assisting in restraining him during the course of his work outside a Letterkenny nightclub.

Garda Smith advised High Court Judge Justice Michael Twomey that he was struck to the head by his now brother-in-law at first, resulting in a black eye and nose bleed. Not long after this he was again attacked by the same individual who, despite being restrained with handcuffs in the back of a garda car, managed to kick him to the head when he was sitting in the front passenger seat.

Judge Twomey was told that Garda Smith now has very little to do with this individual. He was invited to his wedding just this summer but was not in attendance on the day. Garda Smith does his best to avoid any family events if he is aware that his brother-in-law will be there. Despite this he maintains an excellent relationship with the other members of his wife’s family.

Ms Fiona Crawford, legal counsel for Garda Smith, told the court the Garda Smith had sustained a badly injured nose during the attack. However, she added that subsequent x-rays revealed, thankfully that he  (Garda Smith) had not suffered a bone injury.

Garda Smith said in the High Court that he had suffered a serious amount of stress following the assault and it led to a considerable amount of tension between him and his partner, the sister of the assailant. He was absent from work for a period of one month after the attack as his came to terms with the embarrassment he was suffering from. He added that the attack had resulted in him feeling a lot of anger at how things had worked out.

Later, Garda Smith put in a request, which was eventually granted, to be transferred from Letterkenny to Ballybofey Garda Station.

Garda Smith, speaking in the High Court, advised Justice Twomey that his attacker was, at the time of the attack, a known troublemaker who did not hold any respect for the gardai.

Judge Twomey awarded €4,000 policeman workplace compensation to Garda Smith for the injuries he experienced while he was working.

Injury Compensation Settlement After Hotel Wedding Dance Fall

A hotel wedding slipping compensation settlement has been agreed at the High Court between a Tipperary hotel and a woman from Clonmel who slipped on the dance floor at a wedding she was attending. The woman in question slipped on petals that fell when the bride threw her bouquet two hours earlier.

The exact details of the wedding fall compensation settlement are not being made public as part of the terms of the settlement. At the High Court Judge Kevin Cross was informed that the case had been settled and could now be dismissed.

Ms Ann White, a native of Clonmel, stated in Court that she had been attending the afters of a work colleague’s wedding at the Aherlow House Hotel in September 2012. Late in the evening she fell after slipping on some petals on the dance floor, breaking her wrist and arm.

The 53-year-old child care worker advised told the High Court that a “serious scrum” of about 20 “very enthusiastic” women occurred when the bride threw her bouquet at 12.30am. Following a number of those involved pulling at the bridal bouquet of pink and white roses, petals came off and were scattered all over the dance floor. Ms White said she went to dance at roughly 2.30am and her right foot slipped on on the scattered rose petals. She (Ms White) informed the Judge that she was wearing stilettos but is is used to them.

As a result of the injuries she sustained, Ms White had to undergo surgery and added that she still suffers from pain in her arm everyday. The Aherlow House Hotel denied Ms White’s claims, stating that it was an unlucky accident which could not have been predicted by the hotel management or staff.

Mr Justice Cross praised the parties involved on coming together and agreeing to a hotel fall compensation settlement.

Former Specsavers Workers Awarded €12,000 after Wrongful Discriminatory Sacking

A branch of Specsavers located in Letterkenny, Co Donegal has been ordered to pay €12,000 by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) as wrongful dismissal compensation to a Muslim woman who was terminated from her position the day after the Manchester terror attack in 2017.

The WRC ruled that Letterkenny Specsavers Ltd discriminated against Amina Ferrah, using her religion as a basis for doing so. The presiding Adjudication Officer, Ms Emer O’Shea, said she was satisfied on the basis of the proof shown to her that Ms Ferrah’s sacking prior to the standard three-month review constituted less favourable treatment on the grounds of religious discrimination.

Ms Ferrah told the WRC she was let go from her job on discriminatory grounds “as a knee-jerk reaction” to the fact that she was clearly identifiable as a Muslim. She added that her employer “may have been overly concerned about public sentiment following the Manchester terror attack and the impact it might have on their business”.

The Letterkenny branch of Specsavers vehemently denied the discrimination claim and claimed, at the hearing, that the decision to terminate Ms Ferrah’s employment on the spot was purely down to her professional performance in the role.

Adjudication Officers of the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) are statutorily independent in their decision making duties as they relate to adjudicating on complaints referred to them by the WRC Director General.

Adjudicating Officer Ms O’Shea commented, in finding that the Specsavers branch did discriminate against Ms Ferrah, that it was accepted by the company that reviews of new employees would take place after an initial period of three months employment.

In this instance, however, there was no official records of any professional reviews taking place to support the company’s contention of ongoing reviews taking place. Neither were there any recorded accounts of any performance deficits registered during the period that Ms Ferrah was employed at Specsavers Letterkenny present to the WRC.

 

Lengthening Delays For Violent Attack Compensation Claims Being Heard

The Irish Examiner newspaper has reported that there is an increasing backlog in the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal, leaving victims of serious violent attacks waiting years to be compensated.

Since 2012 only 597 payments were made from the 1,357 claims have been submitted. More recently, in 2017 only 31 payments were made to the 181 new applications. In 2018 only 10 victims were compensated by the end of May this year when 73 new cases were registered during that time period.

The details were revealed in the answer to a parliamentary question submitted by Fianna Fáil TD John Curran has now called for an immediate review of the scheme to find out what is causing the hold-ups.

In response to this the Mr Curran TD released a statement which said: “Despite the fact that the number of cases which settle in a pay-out is declining year on year, there are lengthy delays in the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal assisting victims of crime in Ireland. As it stands, should this year’s applications be managed in the very same poor manner it’s likely that just 24 cases will be settled in 2018.”

He added: “Victims should expect that they will receive their compensation in a prompt manner and in accordance with constitutional justice. In correspondence I received, the Tribunal itself cited its limited resources and “economic constraints” as contributing factors in the slow process of claims and victims obtaining their due compensation.

“The Tribunal receives roughly €4 million in budget each year, but it is uncertain how this budget is set considering the number of, and types of cases varies year on year.

The TD concluded saying: “A thorough review of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal must be carried out before next year’s figure of unsettled claims rises even more. This review could not come quick enough for very many victims of crime or their families.”

You can read the full text of his statement by clicking here.

 

 

 

WRC Awards €5k to Autistic Boy Who Was Told not to Eat Toast in his School Taxi

An autistic teenager who was stopped from eating toast in his taxi to school has been awarded €5,000 from Bus Eireann by The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).

The WRC ruled that the company had discriminated against the 16-year-old on the grounds of his disability. As a result of this Adjudication officer Gerry Rooney ordered Bus Eireann to pay €5,000 to the boy. Additionally he directed the operator to make contact with his family without delay.

It was explained to the WRC, in a submission from the boy’s parents, that their son’s dietary requirements meant that he would eat his breakfast of a slice of toast, a banana and fruit juice in the taxi while travelling to school. They added that any changes in the teen’s routine could cause difficulty and serious issues for his development. Bus Eireann denied that it discriminated against the boy.

Bus Eireann contracted a taxi driver from 2015 to transport him to a special needs school. The routine of the teen eating his breakfast in transit was accommodated without no issue. However, on January 27, 2017, the then taxi driver advised the boy and his family that he was buying a new car worth €60,000 and asked that the boy no longer consumed his toast in it.

When advised of this the boy’s father told the taxi driver that such a change would be very distressing change to his teenager’s routine. At this point the parents’ offered to buy the taxi driver a cordless vacuum cleaner but he (the taxi driver) maintained his opposition despite and told the parent that it was a Bus Eireann policy for pupils not to eat on school transport. He said that this was due to health and safety issues.

In response to this the parents communicated Bus Eireann and were ad ised by an inspector that the taxi driver was being reasonable. The inspector advised the parents that the boy would be affored one week to stop eating the toast in the taxi.

In his findings, Adjudicator for the WRC Mr Rooney said: “There was no evidence provided that when the complainant was being reasonably accommodated previously that any soiling of the taxi occurred, or if soiling had occurred in the past that it presented an unreasonable cost to the taxi driver, or the respondent.”

Thalidomide Compensation Cases Adjourned by High Court until November

The High Court has adjourned, for further case management,  26 personal injury compensation claims in relation to the use of the drug Thalidomide until November 7.

Teh legal actions are being brought against the producers of the drug, German firm Grunenthal GmbH, the Irish distributors, TP Whelehan Son & Co, and also the Ministers for Health and Environment.

The claimed wrongdoing, the High Court was told, dates back to the 1960s. Thalidomide was launched  in Germany in 1957 as a sedative and is alleged to have inflicted deformities on unborn children when it was prescribed to their pregnant mothers. The defendants in the case deny all the claims that the plaintiffs submitted.

The adjournment was issue as it is yet to be determined is whether the cases are statute barred . To date the actions have been case managed on their way to trial over the course of the last few years.

Mr Justice Seamus Noonan, in hearing the cases on Wednesday, stated that he is unhappy with “the slow pace” of the proceedings. However, Justice Noonan did rule that certain information reagrding particulars of the claims must be provided by the plaintiff to legal counsel for the defendents prior to the November 7 hearing. This is information that the defendants claims they required in order to address the claim being made against them. He added that the plaintiffs had a right to request to discover documents from the State as part of the compensation claims that they are taking.

John Stack, chairman of Thalidomide Ireland, which supports the claims, said the group was pleased to learn that the plaintiffs had a right to discover State documents as part of their case.

He said “Unfortunately, two of our members have not survived to conclude their court actions against the Irish State. Our members are ageing, becoming more decrepit and suffering the adverse effects of their physical deterioration. Our litigation has been the mother of all battles over decades and Thalidomide victims have to keep themselves alive to get justice for both their families and themselves.

“That is fundamentally wrong and shows that the State’s moral compass in respect of catastrophic injury litigation is incorrectly set for the purpose of minimisation of costs rather than doing the correct thing by its injured citizens”.

Former Garda Awarded €9,000 for Injuries Sustained During 2013 Workplace Assault

A former Garda has been awarded just €9,000 workplace accident compensation by a High Court judge for injuries he suffered to his lower back and right leg, when he was assisting the arrest of a violent drunk in Cavan during 2013.

Barrister Esther Earley told the Judge Michael Twomey that Garda Gary Tobin, a renowned former rugby player and current junior rugby coach, that Garda Tobin had been on duty in Bailieborough at 3am on 31 January 2013 when he and a colleague arrested a violent drunk and possible drugs user on the town’s Main Street.

While the arrest was taking place he (Tobin) he had been knocked to the ground, injuring his lower back and right leg. He was absent from work for four months off work due to severe back pain before returning to light station duties for a number of months. Upon his return to work his right leg had continued paining him and he still experienced symptoms and still had difficulty putting his socks.

Counsel for the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Barrister Kevin Dinneen was advised by that his back had fully recovered after four months but he still experienced intermittent pain in his leg. He said that although his doctor had advised he get physiotherapy he had neglected to do so.

Garda TObin told the Court that, from his experience as a rugby coach, he was aware of how to deal with injuries and had undertaken a self-treatment regime for himself involving exercise after initially having been prescribed anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxants.

Judge Twomey, awarding Tobin €9,000 workplace injury compensation and costs for what he described as soft tissue injuries, told the Court that he (Tobin) had undergone an MRI scan at the time which had shown degenerative symptoms in his back.

 

Girl with Diabetes Awarded €2,260 Compensation due to Concert Staff Confiscating Lucozade

A young Belfast woman with Type 1 diabetes has been awarded €2,260 after security staff at a music concert confiscated her fizzy drink.

Kayla Hanna, 20, had been walking into a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert in Belfast in August 2016 when the incident happened.

The student always carries Lucozade for her blood sugar levels, as she suffers from Type 1 diabetes, but Eventsec Ltd staff removed it, despite her showing them her diabetes tattoo and insulin pack. Miss Hanna said suffered from anxiety and upset during the Red Hot Chili Peppers concert.

She told the court “I stood away from the area near the stage where my friends were because I was afraid something would happen to me and I would not have the Lucozade. This had never happened me at other concerts I went to. I really hope that, now this issue has been brought to light, it won’t happen again to me or other people who live with diabetes.”

Miss Hanna took a case under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland supported her.

The court made ruled that discrimination had occurred and Judge Gilpin stated that Eventsec did not give a reasonable adjustment to its policy of not allowing liquids to be brought into the concert.

Mary Kitson, senior legal officer for the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, said the Act is there to ensure people with disabilities are not denied access to services under any circumstances.

She said “In this case, the company should have made arrangements to ensure that Kayla could have accessed Lucozade during the concert if needed; for example, by directing her to its own medical centre at the venue and providing her with a bottle of Lucozade. That would have been a simple adjustment and would have met her medical needs. The court has ruled that this was a breach of the law and awarded Kayla £2,000.”

€1.8m Wrongful Birth Compensation Awarded Following Incorrect Foetus Test Results

The first ever wrongful birth compensation case in the State has been settled for an interim payment of €1.8m after a mother, who suffers from a rare genetic condition, alleged she was deprived of her right to travel for an abortion.

Her baby was born with the same disabling condition after a prenatal test that was carried on the foetus for that condition came back showing no indication that it was present in the child.

The mother in question told the High Court that she had planned to use her constitutional right to travel to the England for an abortion if the test had shown results showing that her unborn baby had the same debilitating genetic condition. However, her child was deliverd with the this condition and now needs 24-hour care. The mother claims that, based on the test results, she was not allowed informed consent and to make an informed decision in respect of the continuance of her pregnancy.

Legal representative for the mother, Oonagh McCrann SC, advised the High Court that the parents went ahead happily and joyfully with the pregnancy after the normal result was returned on the test. Later, following the birth, they felt considerable shock and grief when they discovered that the rare genetic condition with very significant and profound disability.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross put a barring order in relation to reporting of details that may identify the mother and child publicly. The mother had taken the wrongful birth compensation legal action against the Rotunda Hospital, Dublin, and Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Dublin. Complete liability in the case was officially admitted on June 13 2018.

The admission stated that “in the particular circumstances of this case and in light of the outcome of the recent referendum repealing the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution”, liability was admitted and the public policy defence was withdrawn.

Mr Justice Cross, remarking that liability had been admitted, said he felt the result of the referendum was not relevant.

 

Woman Settles Compensation Action over Finger Injury in Dicey Reillys

A High Court action in which a 23-year-old woman claimed she broke her finger when she was ejected from a well-known Dublin bar by security personnel after her friend asked to use the toilets has been settled

Sophie Beardmore, Redford Park, Greystones, Co Wicklow, had taken the personal injury compensation action against Senture Security Ltd, Citywest, Dublin which is no longer in business, and Triglen Holdings Ltd trading as Dicey’s Garden Bar, Harcourt Street, Dublin, alleging she was illegally assaulted on May 19, 2015.

Her legal representatives claimed that the security staff had displayed “an unbelievable overreaction” when there was a “jostle’ with a security man at Dicey’s Garden Bar over using the toilets and Ms Beardmore was grabbed by the arm and flung out on to the street.

The business student suffered a nasty fracture and the index finger on her left hand was in a splint for weeks, while she had difficulty completing everyday tasks such as writing and washing her hair after suffering the injury.

There was an alleged failure to provide properly qualified or trained security personnel at the bar.

Triglen Holdings had denied the Mrs Beardmore’s claims that there was an alleged failure to take any or any reasonable care to see she was safe while lawfully a visitor and patron on the premises and that the security staff were not properly trained.

Mr Justice Anthony Barr was told the case had been settled.

The incident, which was captured on CCTV, happened after Ms Beardmore had gone to Dicey’s bar with a friend and had a pint of cider each and shared another pint. Her friend needed to use he toilet but they were not allowed use the toilet in the smoking area and went to another.

Ms Beardmore’s hand was grabbed by a security person and her friend was also dragged viciously, counsel said, before she was thrown out on to the street and her friend was thrown out following this.

Compensation Payment to Donegal Widow Under ‘Lost at Sea’ Scheme

A Donegal widow, Winifred Byrne, who had secured the Ombudsman’s support for State compensation over exclusion from a Government scheme has finally been sent a cheque for €245,570 in Lost at Sea compensation.

Bruckless resident Ms Byrne has been awarded an ex-gratia payment from Minister for Marine Michael Creed, after a 14-year dispute when she was left out og the “Lost at Sea scheme” to support families who died while working at sea.

Ms Byrne’s lost her husband Francis and her 16-year-old son Jimmy, when they were lost along with three other crewmen after their fishing boat Skifjord perished in 1981.

In 2001, then marine minister Frank Fahey initiated a limited scheme to encourage families who had lost vessels between 1980 and 1989 to stay in fishing, by awarding compensatory “tonnage” .

Despite there being 67 applications through the scheme, only six were selected and 75% of the funds paid were to constituents of the then Minister for the Marine Mr Frank Fahey.

As the scheme had not been widely advertised the Byrne family submitted a complaint in 2004 after their late application had been turned own. Ombudsman Ms Emily O’Reilly found in their favour in December 2009, stating the scheme had been improperly operated. Despite the report being presented to the Oireachtas committee on agriculture in 2010.

Danny Byrne said that his mother had received the payment, and paid tribute to Minister for the Marine Mr Michael Creed, and to former Fine Gael MEP Jim Higgins who had championed the family’s cause over the years.

Matt Carthy, Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West, “I want to extend my congratulations to the Byrne family for the sheer determination and perseverance they exhibited in seeing through their campaign against successive Irish Governments on the Lost at Sea scheme.  I am delighted that they have now finally received the compensation that was legislatively owed to them and hope that this will close what I am sure has been a difficult, and at times frustrating, case.

“The Byrnes, who tragically lost two members of their family, three crew members and their entire livelihood had been fighting against their exclusion from the scheme for over 3 decades.”