Category: Class Action Suits

Class action suits enable you to join with other injured victims of negligence in order to create a stronger claim in your favour. There are a number of benefits associated with class action suits, although the time it takes to resolve you claim may be extended as other people join your action and their cases are assessed. The most common class action suits are those concerning recalled faulty products and drugs which produce side-effects, but it is worth asking your solicitor before commencing any personal injury claim for compensation if there is a class action suit already in progress which may be beneficial for you to join. You can find out more about class action suits by speaking directly with a solicitor on our freephone Solicitors Advice Bureau.

$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 weed killer 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 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 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.

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.”

 

 

 

 

 

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.

€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.

 

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.

 

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”.

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.”

Sanofi Acknowledges Valproate Birth Defect Claims

The drug manufacturer Sanofi has issued a statement acknowledging the valproate birth defect claims being made against the company in a French class action.

The drug responsible for prompting the valproate birth defects claims is Depakine – an anti-epilepsy drug that has been available in Ireland since 1983 under the trade name Epilim. Epilim contains an active ingredient – sodium valproate – that stabilises electrical activity in the brain and has therefore also been prescribed for bipolar disorder, migraine and other chronic pain conditions.

When taken by pregnant mothers, the risk exists that the sodium valproate will be absorbed as valproic acid in the bloodstream and affect the health of their unborn child. In Ireland, children born after being exposed to valproic acid can suffer from spina bifida, autism and a range of congenital and development issues under the umbrella term “foetal valproate syndrome”.

The risks were first identified in France in the 1980s – where Depakine had been prescribed since 1967 – but no formal announcement was made to the medical profession by Sanofi until 2006. Even then, few medical professionals were aware of the side effects until France´s social affairs inspectorate – IGAS – investigated valproate birth defect claims in the Rhone-Alpes region last year.

IGAS´ research revealed that around 450 babies in the region had been born with congenital defects between 2006 and 2014 after being exposed to valproic acid. The report called for a warning to be printed on the outside of each box of Epilim advising pregnant women not to take the drug, and also promoted a much deeper study of the risks by France’s National Agency for the Safety of Medicines (ANSM).

The results of that study were recently released following an investigation into the health of 8,701 children, born to women known to have taken Depakine while pregnant between 2007 and 2014. The results revealed that up to 4,100 children had been born with “severe malformations” and many hundreds more had died in the womb or been delivered stillborn.

Following the release of the study, Sanofi issued a statement in which the company said: “We are aware of the painful situation confronting the families of children showing difficulties that may have a link with the anti-epileptic treatment of their mother during pregnancy.” However, the statement has not satisfied parents of the children affected by the side effects of Epilim, and they have started a class action of valproate birth defect claims to recover compensation for their children.

In Ireland, Epilim is still sold without a warning in large type on the front of the packet, and it is not known how many children have been born with birth defects due to being exposed to valproic acid. If a member of your family has been affected by this tragic situation, and you would like to know more about valproate birth defect claims, you should speak with a solicitor at the first possible opportunity.

Court Case for Faulty DePuy ASR Hip Replacements Delayed Once Again

The Ohio multidistrict litigation court case for the faulty DePuy ASR hip replacements has been delayed once again and is now rescheduled to start on September 24th.

U.S. District Judge David A. Katz rescheduled the start of the first court case for the faulty DePuy ASR hip replacements to September 24th to allow both parties additional time for discovery and the consideration of other legal matters after the substitution of Ann McCracken in place of the original plaintiff, Faye Dorney-Madgitz.

The reason for the substitution is still unclear and McCracken -v- DePuy was originally scheduled to be the second of the ‘bellwether’ court cases to be heard in a series of Federal cases which will determine how juries will perceive the relative strengths and weaknesses of each case. It is not yet known whether Dorney-Madgitz -v- DePuy is still intender to be heard as a bellwether case, or when that might be.

Ann McCracken made her DePuy injury compensation claim in March 2011; alleging that she suffered a dislocated hip due to metallosis from the DePuy implant damaging the soft tissues around her hip. Ann received her DePuy ASR metal-on-metal hip replacement system in August 2009, but had to undergo revision surgery in January 2011 after her hip dislocated.

The 57-year-old single mother from Rochester in New York claims that when her orthopaedic surgeon removed her DePuy ASR XL Acetabular Hip Replacement System he saw evidence of metallosis which had killed healthy tissue around the implant.

Ann had to undergo further surgery in October 2011 to insert a device restricting the movement of her hip, which has decreased her mobility still further and which will result in her present hip replacement system wearing out quicker than normal – resulting in more operations in the future.

Ann´s case is also to be decided without the DePuy hip replacement recall of August 2010 being referred to in court, after Judge Katz ruled that Ann´s injury “began with the initial implementation” and agreed that, to mention the recall during the court case for the faulty DePuy ASR hip replacements, might deter other companies from voluntarily withdrawing potentially harmful medical devices in the future.

The relative strengths and weaknesses of the plaintiffs´ claims and DePuy Orthopaedic´s defence will be evaluated during the first court cases of the multidistrict litigation, to see if an acceptable yardstick can be determined for the settlement of the other 7,800 claims attached to this court case for the faulty DePuy ASR hip replacements.

If no yardstick can be established – or negative verdicts are delivered by the jurors – the outstanding claims will be referred back to the U.S. District Courts in which they were originally filed, and each will have to be heard individually. This would also be the case in Ireland, where plaintiffs who have served notice of cases against Johnson & Johnson, DePuy Orthopaedics and the Health Service Executive may have to pursue legal action to resolve each court case for the faulty DePuy ASR hip replacements.

Tassimo Recall Likely to Lead to Burns Injury Compensation Claims

Claims for compensation for burns are likely to follow the recall of the Tassimo coffee maker in the United States and Canada, after the makers acknowledged that at least 160 cases of burn injuries and scalding were attributable to a design fault.

More than 1.7 million Tassimo coffee machines have been taken from store shelves in North America after the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) found that the machine´s T-disc – the plastic pot containing the coffee – could explode and shower bystanders with scalding water. Thirty-seven occurences of second-degree burns have been reported to the CPSC, including the case of a two-year-old girl who was hospitalised after suffering burns to her face.

The Tassimo coffee makers, which are still for in the UK, have been marketed worldwide since 2008, and the Tassimo coffee maker recall has been extended to include 4 million Gevalia, Maxwell House and Nabob espresso T-discs still believed to be in circulation in American grocery stores. The recalled discs are for sale in packets of eight and sixteen and, like the Tassimo coffee making machines, are still available in stores in the UK.

Compensation claims for Tassimo burns are likely to be made against BSH Home Appliances Corporation – the makers of the Tassimo coffee makers – who are located in Irvine, California. Burn injury compensation for a burn from a Tassimo coffee maker should also account for any permanent scarring resulting from a Tassimo coffee maker burn and – especially when a child has been scalded by a Tassimo coffee maker – consideration should be made for any ongoing psychological injury.

Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) Compensation Likely in the UK

Thousands of breast implant recall compensation claims could come from women worried about the Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) recall in the UK.

When the recall was first revealed in March 2010, the advice provided at the time by the French medical device regulatory authority AFSSAPS was for women who were concerned over their PIP breast implants to undergo an ultrasound scan to check for suspected ruptures of the implant sac.

Subsequently it was revealed that the recalled breast implants, which have a higher incidence of rupturing than is usual, also contained an unauthorised silicone gel which could cause an inflammatory reactions in certain women. Now health officials in France are informing all women who have received PIP recalled breast implants to have them removed.

Though the UK´s medicines watch dog – the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency – insists there is no risk of cancer from this lower grade silicone gel, one woman in France is known to have died due to anaplastic large cell lymphoma and many women in the UK have suffered unusual and painful symptoms once the silicone gel has secreted into their lymph nodes.

With the maker of the recalled breast implants having gone out of business since the recall, breast implant recall compensation claims are being directed against the clinics and surgeries which originally performed the breast implant operation – not only for the physical ailments caused by the ruptured implants, but for the emotional distress of suffered by the affected women who may not yet be aware of how badly their health has been affected.

DePuy Compensation For “Poster Girl” For Faulty Hip System

A retired gymnast, who promoted the DePuy ASR Hip Replacement System prior to the product´s worldwide recall last year, is making a personal injury compensation claim against the product´s manufacturers Johnson & Johnson following difficulties with her own DePuy hip replacement system.

Penny Brown (51) of Bath, Wiltshire, had a hip replacement procdure in 2004 to relieve her from the constant pain of osteoarthritis. At the time of the procedure, the DePuy ASR hip replacement system transformed her life to such a degree that she agreed to become the “face” of DePuy and promote their hip replacement systems throughout the UK.

Between 2004 and 2008, Penny was DePuy´s “patient brand” and her image was used throughout the world. Penny also gave interviews about the advantages of the DePuy ASR hip replacement system and counselled patients about to have implant surgery. However, in 2009, Penny started to notice a groin pain which was diagnosed as being caused by the hip replacement system and, as the wear and tear increased, felt a clunking sensation whenever she walked anywhere.

In May this year, Penny was advised that she would need further surgery which would mean the removal of the DePuy ASR hip replacement system and a replacement system installed.  She underwent her additional operation last month, and has been bed-bound and unable to work ever since. “My life has been devastated” Penny told her local newspaper, “I not only feel let down personally but also feel guilty that I might have encouraged others to have the ASR implanted.”

Hotel Bedbug Bite Compensation of 3,200 Pounds Awarded to Sisters

Two sisters, whose stay in London was ruined by the bites they received from bedbugs present in the bedding at their hotel, have each been awarded 1,600 pounds in compensation in an out-of-court settlement.

Melanie Carmen (59) from Whitstable, Kent, and Joy McDonagh (51) from Sidcup, Kent, stayed three nights in London at the Airways Hotel in Victoria in February 2010 to celebrate Joy´s 50th birthday. However, after their first night in the hotel, both were covered in bites from an infestation of bedbugs.

They reported the issue to hotel staff and requested that they were moved to another room. However, there were also bedbugs in the change of room and, after two further nights of poor sleep, the women had a total of 138 bites between them.

After seeking legal guidance, Melanie and Joy sued the Airways Hotel for personal injury compensation and without accepting liability, the hotel settled out of court – paying each 1,600 pounds to cover the women´s medical expenses and loss of earnings as they were unable to immediately return to work after their visit to London.