Claims News

11-year-old Boy Settled Brain Injury Claim for Hotel Pool Accident for €2.5m

Posted on: October 28th, 2021

A High Court action in relation to a 17-year-old boy who sustained a serious brain injury when he was involved in a near-drowning accident in a hotel pool seven years ago has been  settled for €2.5m. 

The accident took place on December 24 2014 when the boy, who was unable to swim, was discovered submerged in the hotel pool. Senior counsel for the boy, who cannot be identified by order of the court, Liam Reidy informed the court that the then 11-year-old boy was on a Christmas holiday with his family at the time of the incident. He had gone to the hotel swimming pool, which was in a separate building to the hotel, with his mother. He had been using the children’s pool and the main pool with his mother, as he was unable to swim.

Mr Reidy referred to CCTV footage that was provided from the hotel which showed that the boy had joined his mother in the main pool on one or two occasions, after which she (his mother) had led him back to the children’s pool. He went on to inform the judge that the boy had been in the children’s pool as his mother emerged to get dressed. She assumed that he had followed her. The boy’s grandmother was also present at the poolside and said that she “momentarily could not see him”.

Another man, who was in the pool at the time, found the boy submerged in the swimming pool and he was resuscitated before being taken by helicopter to Temple Street Children’s Hospital where he stayed for nine weeks in Temple Street. Following this he was moved to another hospital for a longer stay.

The legal action for brain injury compensation was taken by the boy, through his mother, against the hotel operators due to the injuries that he sustained in the accident on December 24, 2014.

Mr Reidy informed the court that his clients were claiming that there should have been a pool attendant in place at the pool, despite the hotel claiming the mother had allegedly completed a form accepting she was taking full responsibility for her son when he was using the pool. Additionally it was claimed while using the hotel swimming pool the boy suffered a near-drowning accident and that there had been an alleged failure by the hotel operators to put in place adequate precautions for the safety of the child – such as having a lifeguard on duty. It was also alleged that there had been a failure to recognise that the boy had got into difficulties as he was swimming. The defendants denied all of the claims.

Mr Reidy informed the court that the boy had suffered with a mild learning difficulty prior to the hotel swimming pool accident and this has now exacerbated into a moderate difficulty. It was also submitted in court that the boy completed a remarkable physical recovery and can now walk without assistance.

Mr Reidy informed the court that the proposed €2.5m compensation settlement is 50% of the value of the claim. The Judge gave approval for the child brain injury settlement and stated that there were serious concerns voiced by counsel that the case may not be won if allowed to go to trial/

Hotel Elevator Accident Injuries Forced Former Garda to Retire

Posted on: June 10th, 2021

At the High Court on yesterday Justice Michael Hanna  was told how five individual suffered injuries the the elevator they were travelling in fell three storeys into a basement.

In the aftermath of the accident, which occurred at take Killarney Plaza Hotel in Co Kerry, the injured parties had to cry to assistance for some 15 minutes until it was possible to open the doors. Patricia O’Leary, one of the people involved in the accident, informed the Judge that she was conscious of her leg breaking when the elevator hit the ground. The rescue team had to cut her free from the wreckage.

The accident occurred when the group of people were going back to their bedrooms following a wedding reception on July 9, 2011. The legal action was taken against the hotel owners, Shawcove Ltd with registered offices at Castleisland, Co Kerry and the businesses involved in installing and maintaining lifts, Ellickson Engineering Ltd, in receivership, of Kilmurry, Waterford; Kilell Ltd also of Kilmurry,and Otis Ltd and Otis Elevator Ireland Ltd, both of Naas Road Business Park, Dublin. Additionally they sued lift components manufacturer Daldoss Elevetronic Spa of Valsugana, Italy. Liability was conceded in 2019 and the case is before the court for assessment of damages.

In the action, it is alleged there was a failure to see to it that the intended pathway from the car park was safe and free from any danger. There was also an alleged failure to install a proper functioning lift from the car park to the hotel.

Ms O’Leary (42), a former garda sergeant Ms O’Leary and mother of two, told the Court that her injuries forced her to retire from he jon five years after the accident when she was just 37. The other plaintiffs were members of her extended family including her husband, Andrew Meehan(also a garda sergeant), his brothers Paul and Kevin, and Kevin’s wife Jennie Wong.

Ms O’Leary, whose case is being heard first, informed the court the lift tried to stop at the floor but was unable to do so. She said: “It was a very violent drop to the floor“It shuddered and there was a loud bang. The lift dropped slightly and stopped for a split second. Then it just dropped to the concrete basement floor. The walls of the lift came in around us. I could see Andrew and Kevin were badly injured. It was very traumatic.

She told the Judge a panel came down on top of her when she reached for the emergency button and phone. She went on to explain how two porters found them and her brother-in-law Paul Meehan helped pull the doors open and remove the the lift walls off her until the emergency services came to the scene.

Ms O’Leary sustained injuries to her leg, ankle, knee and chest. Due to the accident she now must use a spinal cord stimulator to alleviate the pain that she still experiences on a daily basis. Representing Mrs O’Leary in court Richard Kean SC, with Barney Quirke SC, stated that there has never been an apology offered to his client in relation to the catastrophic injuries. He added that the injuries have been life changing and forced her to leave her job.

The Judge was also informed that Ellickson Engineering Ltd, now in receivership, was fined €750,000 in 2017 after it was found guilty at Tralee Circuit Criminal Court of a single breach of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act over the installation of the hotel lift in and around April 2004.

The case continues.

Tie pin Accident Injury results in €12,000 Work Injury Compensation Award for Garda

Posted on: April 8th, 2021

€12,000 workplace injury compensation has been awarded to a garda whose forearm was injured during a fighting incident by a colleague’s tiepin at the High Court.

Legal counsel for Garda Nadine Keane Barrister Maria Lane informed the High Court that her client was in the process of assisting another garda restrain two men involved in a fight outside Ennis Courthouse when the tiepin in question hit her right forearm, inflicting a serious injury.

Appearing with O’Gorman Solicitors, Ms Keane infirmed presiding Judge Justice Mary Rose Gearty that Garda Keane had her injuries tended to at Ennis General Hospital after the incident. It took a total of 13 seri-strips to close the wound and she (Ms Keane) was left with a 6.5cm keloid scar on her forearm. She added that this wound had caused her embarrassment for up to four years.

In 2016, two years after the incident, consultant plastic reconstructive surgeon and anaesthetist Mr Eoin O’Broin reviewed tha wound and found that the scar on her forearm was thickened and red. He said that he was of the opinion that the only treatment that might help address the colour of the scar was laser therapy. Garda Keane had applied bio oil to try to enhance the condition of the scar which was “relatively obvious and unsightly.” The oil only had a minimal effect and Garda Keane was self-conscious of how the scar looked.

She informed Judge Gearty that on October 1, 2014, she had gone to the local courthouse in Ennis, Co Clare, where she was working. A fight began between two men and she had been called to help another Garda in restraining them.

During the struggle her right forearm had got caught another Garda’s tiepin which had cut into her arm. After have treatment administered at the hospital she opted to take three days leave. Judge Gearty told the Court that Garda Keane’s arm had been bleeding and she had been left in a faint condition prior to being taken to hospital. At the hospital the wound had been closed and no further treatment had been advised.

Judge Gearty said: “The scar was more ugly than one might anticipate and was red in colour and relatively obvious and unsightly. A forearm scar is obviously not equivalent to a facial scar and her injury is much less obvious now than it was for the first four years after the incident.”

Judge Gearty, as he was awarding Garda Keane €12,000 workplace compensation, said she had been injured in an unfortunate incident and the court was taking into consideration her embarrassment for the previous four years.

 

High Court: FBD Insurance Must Pay Covid-19 Business Disruption Compensation to Four Pub Owners

Posted on: February 5th, 2021

The High Court has ruled that four pub owners are entitled to be compensated by Insurer FBD for the disruption their businesses suffered due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The legal action was taken following a dispute between FBD and policy holders when the insurance company said it would not provide policy holders with cover in relation to the pandemic that lead to the initial closure of businesses during mid-March 2020. Due to this disagreement four test actions were taken by Dublin bars Aberken, trading as Sinnotts Bar; Hyper Trust Ltd, trading as ‘The Leopardstown Inn’ and ‘Inn on Hibernian Way’ Ltd trading as Lemon & Duke. and Leinster Overview Concepts Ltd the owner of Sean’s Bar, which is located in Athlone, Co Westmeath.

The publicans argued against the FBD Insurance Plc’s refusal to indemnify them and the stance that its policies of insurance provided did not relate to the disruption caused to businesses by Covid-19. Judgement was due to be delivered during January. However this was deferred in order for the parties involved make submissions to the court arising out of a judgment from the UK’s Supreme Court where similar issues were dealt with.

In the legal action the pub owners argued that, as per their policies of insurance with FBD, they are entitled to have their consequential losses covered by an insurable risk and that the insurer was in breach of contract by refusing to pay out on the policy. They argued, through their legal teams, that a clause was included in the FBD policies that states the pubs will be indemnified if their premises were closed by order of the local or Government Authority if there are “Outbreaks of contagious or infectious diseases on the premises or within 25 miles of same.”

Refuting these arguments, FBD informed the judge that they were of the belief that the business closures did not arise due to an outbreak of disease at the premises or areas where the pubs are located and added that it (FBD) has never provided cover for pandemics and no-one in Ireland has ever requested such cover. FBD’s legal argument went as far as claiming that the general insurance market in Ireland does not insure against pandemic-like events. Such cover is only made available by specialist brokers, mos tof which are based in other jurisdictions, on a bespoke basis.

As the policy provided by FBD makes provision for business losses to pubs that have been ordered to shut due to the pandemic, the knock-on effect of the ruling made by Justice Denis McDonald could be compensation paid out to around 1,000 Irish pubs and restaurants. Justice McDonald’s judgement delivered found that FBD’s interpretation of its policy, that cover is not lost where the closure is prompted by nationwide outbreaks of disease provided that there is an outbreak within the 25 mile radius and that outbreak is one of the causes of the closure, is not correct.

Following the ruling the judge said that the issue of quantifying the specific losses will be managed in due time.

A representative for FBD released a statement which said: We understand the significant challenges our public house insurance policyholders currently face. FBD will arrange interim payments to affected policyholders while awaiting final clarity on quantum. We will now consider the effects of the judgment with our reinsurers and will revert to the market in due course on the estimated net cost of Covid-19 related business interruption claims to the company. We expect the cost to be well within the range of considered financial outcomes, with FBD remaining strongly capitalised. FBD believes that the court process was the fairest way to reach a resolution in this matter and tried to ensure that proceedings were as quick and efficient as possible for all concerned.

Licensed Vintners Association chief executive Donal O’Keeffe released a statement which said that the four publicans who took the test cases “deserve enormous credit, as their action will prove critical to pubs with similar policies right around Ireland”.

He added: “It was grossly unfair that these family businesses had to go to the High Court against the might of a publicly-quoted insurer to have their claims validated. We are now calling on insurers to quickly review their business-interruption policies in light of today’s decision and to promptly pay all valid claims.”

School Fire Escape Door Accident Results in €26,000 Injury Compensation for Girl (8)

Posted on: December 8th, 2020

At the Circuit Civil Court. Judge Justice John O’Connor has given his approval for a school injury compensation settlement of €26,000 for an eight-year-old, Fran Rooney, who injured her left ring finger when it was crushed by a fire escape door which shut on top of it accidentally.

Representing Zarabelle O’Neill McAllorum at the Circuit Civil Court, Counsel Fran Rooney informed the judge that she, Fran, was just six years of age when the incident in question occurred at her school. The action was being taken against the Department of Education and Skills on the grounds of negligence in relation to the maintenance of the door at Gaelscoil Inse Choir, Islandbridge, Dublin, just over two years ago in 2018.

Appearing with B&P Byrne Solicitors, Rooney informed the presiding Judge John O’Connor that Zarabelle was taking the personal injury legal compensation action, via her mother Fiona O’Neill, against the Department of Education and Skills. He detailed the specific events of the accident in which Zarabelle injured her left ring finger and lost the nail from it.

He informed the judge that the fire escape door had been shut on her hand by a different student. It quickly became apparent that Zarabelle’s finger had been seriously injured and she was taken to  Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin to have the ailment treated medically.

Seven months after the incident, in june 2019, her medical doctors made a diagnosis decreeing that she still had not made adequate progress in her rehabilitation. Due to this she underwent a surgical procedure to have her left ring finger nail removed while she was placed under general anaesthetic. Shortly after this surgical procedure, according to Mr Rooney, Zarabelle developed a viral infection and had to be medically treated with a course of antibiotics. The Judge was informed that she has now made a full recovery from the injuries that she sustained.

An earlier settlement offer of €20,000 had been rejected by Zarabelle’s team of legal representatives. Judge O’Connor was informed that this has been rejected. The defendant’s returned with an higher compensation settlement offer of €26,000.

Judge O’Connor gace his approval for this and praised Mr Rooney for achieving the higher compensation offer.

€10k Compensation for Injury to Cork Road Bowler

Posted on: November 11th, 2020

Irish international road bowler Sean Kiely, who has appeared at international championships, has been awarded €10,000 personal injury compensation due the injuries that he sustained when he was punched during a fight when he was on a night out in Newmarket in 2018. He said that has not been in a position to go back to the sport that he loves so much.

The man who struck him – Michael Hourigan with an address at Coolagh, Newmarket, Co Cork – entered a plea of guilty to a charge of assaulting Sean Kiely at Gurranawarrig Upper, Newmarket, County Cork. The judge was informed that Mr Hourigan had brought €10,000 compensation with him to court for the injured party.

Speaking about the assault, presiding Judge Justice Seán Ó Donnabháin informed the court that said the charge of simple assault only carried a maximum possible prison sentence of six months and/or a maximum fine of €2,500. He added: “It is the lowest category of assault on the statute books. That is what the accused man pleaded guilty to.”

Siobhán Lankford, senior counsel appearing for the defence, informed the judge that the accused had been initially prosecuted for assault causing harm but the Director of Public Prosecutions accepted a plea of guilty to the simple assault charge. He was convicted and fined €1,000 at Cork Circuit Criminal Court by Judge Ó Donnabháin.

The injured party, Seán Kiely, said in his victim impact statement: “I loved road bowling as a sport but ever since the assault my heart has not been in it to go back playing. I represented Ireland in the European Championships in Holland in 2016 and had intended doing the trials for the 2020 championships but I didn’t have the confidence in myself to compete in the sport I love. However, even though I have missed out on this year’s trials I do hope to start back playing again this year. I have since tried to go back running without success.”

In the court Garda Micheál Dennehy described the course of events that lef to Mr Kiely being injured. He said the incident occurred on June 3 2018, outside the Highlands in Newmarket at 3,30am. A fight has begun there and ‘worked; its way down onto the road.

Garda Dennehy said: “Mr Kiely and his friends were in some kind of argument and Mr Kiely was punched in the face resulting in him falling. The defendant is a married man living in Newmarket who would not be coming to the attention of gardaí before this or since.”

Ms Lankford said the defendant was 42 years old and that he did throw a punch during a melee hitting Mr Kiely in the face. She said: “There was certainly a lot of movement and aggravation at the time.”

Bus Depot Falls results in €69,000 Compensation Award for Bus Éireann Employee

Posted on: October 2nd, 2020

At the High Court €69,000 work injury compensation has been awarded to a Bus Éireann employee who suffered an injury in an accident at a bus depot.

The work in question, Mark Seery, fell over a ground brake bar that was put in place to being buses to a halt. 51-year-old Mr Seery from Cloonlara Drive, Finglas, Co Dublin took the work accident compensation claim against Bus Éireann in relation to the accident that took place at around 3.45am on April 24, 2016 at Broadstone bus garage.

During the hearing Justice Cross said that he believed the testimony provided by Mr Seery’s engineer that the ground brake bar represented a significant trip hazard. This hazard was removed from its position following Mr Seery’s incident and replaced with bollards.

Working as a lead hand engineering operative with Bus Éireann, Mr Seery informed  the court he had parked a bus in a bay at the depot and was returning to move another bus when he fell. As it was night time the area was dark and there were no lights on. The court was informed that sensor lighting has since been put in place at the depot bay area. He said: “I tripped and fell against the wheel brace of another bus.”

He went on say that he has not ha a day without pain since the accident. he attended his GP for soem treatment due to pain in the hip and numbness in his leg and was later diagnosed with chronic pain. He commented: “The pain never went away. There is no rhyme or reason to why pain strikes or eases off. I have been told this is the way it is going to be.”

In the legal action submitted Mr Seery stated that there was an alleged failure to provide and maintain any adequate lighting in the area of the metal bar and the location of the metal bar was hidden by the shadows cast by buses parked nearby – as a result of this there was inadequate lighting.

Bus Éireann refuted the claims and alleged that there was an element of contributory negligence on the part of Mr Seery due to the fact that he allegedly had not taken ample care to identify any danger in the area. In relation to this Mr Justice Cross said that Bus Éireann were operation a workplace that essentially required Mr Seery to work in the dark. “He was going about his task to get another bus . I don’t believe he can be faulted for contributory negligence.”

Delivering his judgement Mr Justice Cross said it is probable that Mr Seery will continue to suffer some pain for the remainder of his life and and he (Mr Seery) is to be congratulated for his diligence in continuing to work. Justice Cross said that he found Mr Seery to be a truthful defendant and added “it is to his credit that he is no complainer and gets on with his work.”

The overall amount of workplace compensation awarded to Mr Seery was €69,725 and included more than €24,000 in special damages.

Man Awarded €16,000 Footgolf Accident Injury Compensation

Posted on: September 12th, 2020

A Glasnevin FC amateur goalkeeper has been awarded €16,000 personal injury compensation in relation to a toe injury he sustained while playing footgolf at a course in Co Dublin. Plaintiff Stuart O’Dwyer – with an address at Glenhill Avenue, Finglas, Dublin 11 – took sued Simon Rutledge  – proprietor of the White House pub restaurant, New Park, The Ward, Co Dublin – due to the injury he suffered at his facility. The accident occurred as he was attempting to kick the ball out of a patch of rough and onto the green on the 10th hole. His foot struck a metal stake that he had not seen as it was hidden by long grass. Judge John O’Connor was advised by Mr O’Dwyer’s legal representative, Barrister Laurence Masterson, that he (Mr O’Dwyer) had been at the golf course, participating in the sport, with his father on June 14, 2018. Mr Rutledge was not in court to defend the footgolf injury compensation claim.  Mr Masterson informed the Judge that judgment had been marked by the County Registrar against Mr Rutledge in the absence of an appearance in the case. In relation to the accident itself the Court was told that, on the day in question, Mr O’Dwyer was playing footgolf with his father. On the 10th hole he struck the ball off the 10th tee into some very long grass. In an attempt to kick the ball from there onto the closeby green he foot collided with the metal spike. This spike had been positioned solidly in the ground, concealed by the aforementioned long grass. In the accident Mr O’Dwyer’s big toe sustained a soft-tissue injury, as diagnosed by consultant in emergency medicine Dr JA McKeever at the emergency department of James Connolly Memorial Hospital, Blanchardstown afterwards which he attended soon after the incident in question. Mr O’Dwyer, an amateur goalkeeper with Glasnevin FC, lost the nail on his big toe and he has a slight deformity in the shape of a small lump on the toe when the nail returned. He experienced significant pain, discomfort and bruising. He had to have his tow splinted using a buddy strap in the hospital where he had been also been given crutches. €16,000 personal injury compensation and legal costs were awarded by Judge O’Connor to Mr O’Dwyer. He remarked that this is at the lower end of the Circuit Court jurisdiction.

Revised Whiplash Injury Compensation Award of €41,000 For Woman

Posted on: August 21st, 2020

A woman has had her personal injury compensations award in relation to the whiplash injuries she sustained in a road traffic accident revised to €41,000 by the Court of Appeal.

The decision was made at a hearing this week to review that car accident compensation award of approximately €70,000 which received High Court Approval in December 2019. Following a hearing at the time Emma McKeown was awarded the damages due to the injuries she experienced in a road traffic accident that occured a number of years earlier.

The defendants in the case, Alan Crosby and Mary Vocella, opted to appeal the amount of compensation was approved at the High Court.

Having considered the details of the case Court of Appeal Judge Justice Seamus Noonan said that the amount of whiplash injury compensation that was awarded in the case was excessive. he said this despite referrer that he was of the opinion that Emma McKeown was honest and at no point in time sought to overstate the suffering that she endured.

Justice Noonan said: “Taking into account all the relevant factors to which I have referred in the context of the proportionality of the award in this case, I am satisfied that by any reasonable measure it cannot be viewed as proportionate. It is not proportionate when viewed against the measure of the maximum for the most serious injuries. The cost of (motor, public or employer’s liability) insurance is for most ordinary people and businesses, a significant outgoing. The extent to which awards by courts influence that cost is in recent times, a matter of widespread public discourse, debate and dispute.

In addition to this Justice Noonan spoke out against the fact that the levels of award can vary greatly depending on the trial judge assigned to hear each case. He said: “Whatever the reality may be, it is clear that awards made by the courts have an impact on society as a whole and the courts are mindful of that fact. Ultimately each member of society must bear the cost of a compensation system whether through the payment of insurance premia in the case of private defendants or taxes in the case of public defendants. Society thus has a direct interest in the level of awards. Frequently, the identity of the trial judge would not be known until moments before the case actually commenced, resulting in varying outcomes depending on the ‘draw’. It is clear that this has the potential for injustice. It cannot be fair to either plaintiff or defendant that the value of their case depends on the identity of the trial judge.”

Lastly Justice Noonon said that there should be no luck involved in the awarding of compensation settlements that can impact the insurance premiums of all people. He said: “Personal injury litigation should not be a lottery and plaintiffs and defendants alike are entitled to reasonable consistency and predictability. This is particularly important in the context of injuries which fall at the lower end of the spectrum as these constitute the vast bulk of cases, most commonly involving soft tissue, or ‘whiplash’ injuries.”

 

 

Broken Glass Accident Leads to €50,000 Inadequate Safety Training Compensation for Waitress by court

Posted on: July 22nd, 2020

A waitress who suffered a hand injury after a glass she was polishing broke has been awarded €50,000 work injury compensation at the CIircuit Civil Court.

It was ruled that 24-year-old former waitress Daniela Tricolici should have been given adequate safety training in relation to polishing wine glasses by her them employers Ravellos Restaurant in Clonsilla in 2015.

Presiding Judge John O’Connor said in awarding Ms Tricolici €25,000 damages and her legal costs that: “I am satisfied on the balance of probability that the defendant in this case was negligent. There was no training provided and it should have been.”

Judge O’Connor said he was happy to rule that the defendant, ABE Restaurant Limited, Weaver’s Row, Clonsilla, had been negligent due to the fact that appropriate training for Ms Tricolici had not been provided.

Ms Tricolici, with at an address at Ravenswood Road Clonsilla, is now working in a bank. SHe told the Court that the stem of the glass had broken as she polished it in the bar area of the restaurant on September 18, 2015 and punctured her left little finger.

Giving evidence in the hearing, forensic engineer Conor Murphy informed the court that Ms Tricolici had shown him how she was polishing the glass with a towel when the accident took place. He commented that she (Ms Tricolici) should have been trained initially how to do it safely. Mr Murphy said Ms Tricolici, as indicated in a photograph provided to the court, had grasped the base of the wine glass in one hand while polishing the bowl with her other hand in a twist and turn fashion when the stem had snapped.

When questioned by barrister Conor Kearney, who was appearing alongside with Seamus Maguire Solicitors for Ms Tricolici, he said that the waitress had clearly been polishing the glass incorrectly and should have been stopped by her employer and shown how to do it properly.  He said that if Ms Tricolici had been cupping the bowl of the glass in one hand while using the polishing cloth with her other hand it was unlikely that the glass would have snapped and injured her as it did on the day in question.

Legal representatives for the defendant argued against this that there is no specific provision in legislation or a particular manual related to glass polishing, nor had he had seen proper and safe methods of glass polishing demonstrated on video by glass manufacturers. Additionally it was claimed that it would be imposing a massive burden on an employer to ask them to train someone when there was no accepted official training regime or accepted pattern of training in existence as to how a particular task should be carried out.

Following the accident the woman was taken to Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown, for the wound to be treated. Here it was discovered that she had been left with a small scar and that damage to a nerve in her finger had not properly mended. She suffers from hypersensitivity in the area of the injury to this day.

 

Massive $10.9bn RoundUp Settlement Agreed in US by Bayer

Posted on: June 25th, 2020

Bayer, the German drugs and pesticides producer has come to an agreement, following over a year of talks, to pay as much as $10.9bn to settle thousands of US-based legal actions taken in connection with users of weed killer Roundup developing cancer.

Bayer, the group that inherited the claims when it took over Monsanto in 2018, revealed in May that talks were coming close to an end. Three cases that have already gone to trial are not included in the settlement.

Of the settlement, $5bn must be paid prior to the end of 2020, with the same amount being paid in 2021. The settlement will be funded using the the company’s existing free cash flow and the proceeds of the recent sale of its Animal Health portfolio.

This settlement represents around three quarters of the claims taken in relation to RoundUp. There were almost 125,000 filed and unfiled claims.

Legal claims submitted stated that Roundup is to responsible for the development of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other cancers in some users. However, Bayer refuted these claims and are supported in these claims by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

In relation to the settlement Bayer chief executive Werner Baumann released a statement which said: “The Roundup settlement is the right action at the right time for Bayer to bring a long period of uncertainty to an end.”

He went on to say: “It is financially reasonable when viewed against the significant financial risks of continued, multiyear litigation and the related impacts to our reputation and to our business.

“The decision to resolve the Roundup litigation enables us to focus fully on the critical supply of healthcare and food. It will also return the conversation about the safety and utility of glyphosate-based herbicides to the scientific and regulatory arena and to the full body of science.”

The settlement figure takes into account $1.25 billion for another class agreement in relation to possible future litigation and any other unresolved claims.

Bayer has always denied claims that Roundup or its active ingredient glyphosate can result in cancer based on the many years of independent studies being completed that indicate the product is safe for human use. In April the group were given Bayer shareholder approval in relation to its handling of the claims.

Settlement mediator Ken Feinberg also released a statement that revealed some 25,000 claims remain unsettled. He commented: “Bayer wisely decided to settle the litigation rather than roll the dice in American court.”

 

COVID-19 Compensation Claims from Meat Plant Workers Likely Due to ‘Fundamental Problems’

Posted on: June 2nd, 2020

Claims have been made that meat processing plant workers were put in a position where they had to go back to work regardless of the fact that co-workers had clear COVID-19 symptoms.

Recent reports have indicated that over 600 cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in the meat processing sector.

Deputy general secretary of trade union SIPTU, Gerry McCormack, said that some meat processing plants “completely ignored” HSE guidelines on Covid-19. He said: “What seems to have happened is that some employers really didn’t take this seriously. Some of them did. Some employers completely ignored the recommendations from the HSE on how to do physical distancing and put in proper processes to protect workers.”

He added: “If you contrast, for example, the meat industry with the dairy industry which are both providing food throughout this country and abroad and we have very little, if any, outbreaks in the dairy industry. It’s a well paid, well-regulated industry, as compared to the meat industry. We had a problem from the very beginning in that some employers weren’t taking this seriously.”

In addition to this, in the Dáil former minister and independent TD Denis Naughten has said that he discovered clusters of infection surrounding meat plants “where the levels of infection within the plants themselves is up on one third or, in some instances, half of the workforce”. He went on to say that he found evidence to suggest that meat processing plant staff did not self-isolate in the period between being tested and the results being returned which seriously undermines the validity of the negative results.

He submitted a Dáil question to ask Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed to explain how this situation was able to taker place at meat processing plants.

Mr Naughten said that not tackling this development could result in many other problems. He said: “Ahead of the start of reopening the economy next week we must address the fundamental problems within the meat processing sector which could be replicated in other parts of industry and which could be catastrophic.”

“These failures in the system have resulted in new infection clusters in communities across the country which up to now had low levels of Covid-19 infection. If these fundamental issues are not addressed immediately, in advance of the easing of the lockdown next Monday, then we could very quickly be looking at a second spike in Covid-19 infections.

“After such heroic efforts by every citizen in the State to stop the spread of this virus we cannot allow a second wave of infection under any circumstances. So, while we must remain cautious in how we relax restrictions, we must also learn to live with Covid-19 which will be with us for a considerable time to come.”

 

French COVID-19 Restaurant Compensation Ruling Could Leads to Claims Globally

Posted on: May 27th, 2020

Following a Paris court ruling last week that AXA has committed to paying out the majority of business interruption claims from some restaurant owners in France.

The ruling last week said that AXA should pay a restaurant owner two months’ worth of revenue losses caused by the virus pandemic.  The case had been marked as possible precedent for coronavirus-related disputes across the world.

During the case AXA had claimed that the policies it provided did not include cover for business disruption due to a health crisis. The owner of four Paris restaurants, Stephane Manigold, brought the case against the French insurer and claimed that she has been contacted by individuals from the United Kingdom South Africa, Spain and the US asking for details of their case. He referred to the decision in the case as having “global resonance”.

Manigold’s four Paris restaurants include the Michelin-starred Maison Rostang. It had been argued during the case that his policy did not cover the emergency lockdown.  Due to the ruling in the Paris Commercial Court, Axa France must make an initial payment of €45,000 to Mr Manigold while a court-appointed expert assesses the extent of his losses.

AXA chief executive Thomas Buberl revealed that, despite the company’s appeal of the Paris ruling, they are hoping to devise an amicable solution and planned to meet the bulk of claims from restaurant owners. He said they the contracts some of the restaurants had with AXA may have some ambiguity in them.

He said: “These contracts represent less than 10% out of total contracts with restaurant owners and I am confident that we will find a solution. We want to compensate a substantial part of these contracts, we want to do it quickly.”

AXA also revealed that it will be providing an additional €500m in aid for small firms, on top their previously shared plans to invest €1.7 billion in domestic French companies. Buberl said in relation to this: “The idea is clearly to reinforce those companies which are weakened by this crisis”.

 

A number of other French insurance companies have revealed that they will pay out business interruption loss claims submitted by some of their policy holders, depending on specific contracts. Generali France, for example, has released a public statement that it will be make payments to 600 hospitality businesses.

There have been no reports of Irish restaurants submitting legal actions in relation to the the COVID-19 pandemic as of yet. Following the ruling in Paris last week it would come as no surprise to see such a step taken.

 

Aer Lingus Facing Compensation Action Due to Passenger Treatment

Posted on: April 26th, 2020

An American Aer Lingus passenger has submitted a lawsuit claiming she was injured due to their treatment of her in an incident that occurred just prior to departure.

Mary Oshana is alleges that Aer Lingus flight crew forcibly removed her from the cabin toilet and dragged her to her assigned seat while her pants were still below her knees, exposing her buttocks and genitalia to other passengers. She also claims that this course of events resulted in her sustaining a hip injury.

Ms Oshana, a resident of Skokie IL, submitted her damages claim as, she says, she was handled “unreasonably, carelessly, and negligently” by Aer Lingus flight crew.

The complaint was filed in District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in relation to the events that took place just before a flight from Chicago to Dublin departed on April 26, 2018. The claim details how the flight taxied from the departure gate at O’Hare International Airport. However, it came to a halt and remained in place on the tarmac for around half an hour before it moved on towards the runway for take-off. Ms Oshana, during this delay, decided to leave her seat to go to the toilet. The claims details her claims that, that about 20 seconds after entering the toilet, she became aware that one or more persons were banging on the door.

She was informed that she must return to her seat. As she was seated on the toilet with her pants down, she told these people that she would do as they wished “in just a minute”.

It is alleged 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 armrest and seat, the plaintiff, Mary Oshana, suffered pain and bruising in her hip, thighs and buttocks.”

Legal counsel for Ms Oshana claim the incident falls under the terms of the Montreal Convention, a treaty covering damages for victims of incidents on airlines. Aer Lingus chose not to make any comments on the event that took place or the contents of the claim that was submitted.

The hearing it scheduled to go to court later this year in June.

 

Witness to Road Crash Awarded €87,000 in PTSD Compensation Claim

Posted on: April 16th, 2020

A PTSD compensation award of €87,000 has been approved for a woman who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to seeing a partly decapitated body of a motorist when she arrived at the scene of a road traffic accident.

The woman in question, Lisa Sheehan, began to experience moderately severe PTSD and had to resign from her hairdressing job two years after the accident took place. She did not believe that she was in a position to continue with her duties.

From Banteer in north Cork, 36-year-old married mother of two Mrs Sheean submitted the lawsuit against Bus Éireann and FBD insurance which provided cover for the deceased motorist.

She informed the judge that she still has bad dreams and flashbacks of the incident. She said that her condition placed great strain on her relationships and she still attends counselling and medication sessions. She claimed that this suffering is a result of the negligent operation or control of both the bus and the car. Bus Éireann did not accept the negligence claims while FBD accepted that the accident was caused by the negligence of the deceased car driver.

However, both defendants informed the Court that they did not believe that Ms Sheehan’s psychiatric injuries did not give rise to any cause of action recognised by current legislation and, as such, they did not owe her a duty of care.

When the accident took place on January 28, 2017, Ms Sheehan was heading from work in Cork city to her home. When she was coming close to Mallow her car hit some debris and she came to a stop. She then saw the damaged bus and the severely damaged car which had hit it near by. When she went over to the the car she found “a badly disfigured and partly decapitated body”.

She contacted the emergency services and reviewed the surrounding area for others who might have been involved in the accident and eventually identified the bus driver whose face was covered in blood.

In relation to the legal claims that the defendants were registering, the judge said the law on primary/secondary victims is far from definitive in this jurisdiction. He went on to say that, while in his opinion nothing turned on that division in this case, he was happy Ms Sheehan was a primary victim as her car had been struck by debris from the crash.

He then awarded her €87,238 PTSD compensation in relation to her claim.

Tree Stump Accident leads to €55,000 Injury Compensation Award for Boy

Posted on: March 17th, 2020

A boy who cut his knee – when he was attending an Art Camp in Dundrum, Dublin – during a fall on a tree stump at a has had a compensation settlement of €55,000 approved in the High Court.

Just ten years old when the accident in question took place, Diarmuid O’Connor is now 15 and took the legal action via his mother Jacinta O’Connor of Ashton Avenue, Knocklyon, Dublin, against Artzone Ltd, the operators of an art camp at Taney Parish Hall, Dundrum, Dublin during February 2016

The accident took place during the break is classes at the camp when Diarmuid, now 15-years-old, and some of his friends were unsupervised as they wandered off among the bushes on the grounds of the camp. If was during this exploration that Diarmuid fell across the tree stump and cut his leg quite badly.

Camp staff were called to help him and they removed the other children from the scene and called an ambulance. The cut was so severe that it has left Diarmuid too self conscious to wear shorts during the summer months.

As he was giving his approval for the child accident compensation settlement, Justice Garrett Simons said that he was very happy with the agreed terms of the settlement. He made reference to the fact that there may have been many legal issues in relation to supervision and how the boy was permitted to wander off unsupervised if the case had gone to a full trial.

 

During break time, it was claimed, the boy went in an area with bushes after his friends and fell.

Assistants ushered the group away from the bushes and an ambulance was called.

The judge said the settlement was a good one. He noted that if the case had gone to trial there may have been issues in relation to the boy wandering off and to supervision.

Trial of Man for Sexual Assault of Four Girls at Creche Begins

Posted on: February 25th, 2020

A 29-year-old male is currently on trial after being accused of the sexual assault of four girls at the creché where he was working. Claims have been made that the man in question, from February 2015 to December 2016, sexually assault the group of girls on up to 23 occasions. The man pleaded not guilty in relation to the allegations that have been made by young girls who were aged between five and eight-years-old when the attacks occurred. The allegations include ten counts of sexual assault in relation to the first girl, eight in relation to the second girl, three in relation to the third and two in relation to the fourth. The offences are all alleged to have occurred in different places at the crèche and on a bus owned by the crèche. In order to safeguard the identities of the children involved, the man’s name and details of the location of the crèche cannot be made public. Prosecuting Counsel Orla Crowe said the man was first hired to cook in the kitchen of the crèche during 2013. However, a short time following this he began was given duties supervising after-school children. His tasks included taking children to school in the early mornings and picking them up after school ended for the day. He also supervised the older after-school children during the afternoons. Ms Crowe said the man had been accused of committing sexual misconduct on 12 December 2016. This happened after one of the young girls told another child about the incident and that child then informed a staff member about it. The child’s parents and the Gardaí were made aware of the situation and an official investigation. As part of the trial the children will be available for cross-examination by the defence via video link, and videos of previously-conducted interviews, carried out by specialist garda interviewers, were filmed during January 2017. These interviews will be shown to the court during the trial. The children’s parents and the specialist garda interviewers will also take the stand during the trial. The court was advised that the owner of the crèche where the man was working was aware that the man had no official qualification in child care when assumed the role but had begun his official training. He had completed a one-day child safeguarding workshop and was attempting to get the appropriate FETAC level 5 qualification that was legally required. Speaking about the man’s suitability for the position the proprietor said that she felt it would be good to have a male authoritative figure in the crèche and he was trying to become properly qualified, albeit this was taking a considerable amount of time. The woman went on to say that, as the law had been amended, anyone working in a crèche after 31 December 2016 had to have a FETAC level 5 qualification. The Man had been aware that he would not be able to continue in his role after this date as he was not qualified. On 12 December 2016 she was in the creche office when a staff member advised her that one of the after school children had told a separate child that she had kissed the man in his private area and then giggled. As, she informed the court, she was unsure what course of action to follow as she was wary that it could be a case of children being fanciful and talking about such things. She contacted the parents of the children affected. The next day a father of one of the girls advised her that he was going to get in touch with the gardaí in relation to the issue. Following this she contacted the man and advised his that he was suspended from his position as there was a serious allegation against him. The Gardaí then attended the crèche that afternoon with a warrant and retrieved footage from the CCTV system. Next Monday the trial continues.

Catholic Church Braced for Compensation Claims in Relation to Illegal Adoption Cases

Posted on: January 31st, 2020

At the High Court in Belfast a compensation case has been submitted in relation to illegal Catholic Church adoptions, arranged by the Catholic Church of children born in the Republic of Ireland, the first of many such cases that are expected to be submitted.

The plaintiff is Patrick FitzSymons, a Belfast-born actor known for his roles in Game of Thrones and Line of Duty. Mr FitzSymons was born to an unmarried couple in Co Clare in the 1960s. His parents wish to avoid the stigma of having a child out of wedlock and allowed the Catholic church agency St Patrick’s Guild to arrange his adoption to a married couple in Co Antrim. 

148 people are now involved in the cases about the adoptions which involved forging birth certificates and other baptismal records. The legal firm handling mr FitzSymon’s case, Coleman Legal Partners, are responsible for 25 similar cases and are expecting that number to grow even more. Since the original number has revealed as 126 by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar 20 months in May 2018 it was grown substantially. At the time the Taoiseach 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”.

Mr FitzSymons solicitor, Norman Spicer of Coleman Legal Partners said that the firm is handling many similar cases but there is 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.”

Mr Fitzsymons was born to parents in Co Clare. It was arranged, by St Patrick Guild. for him to be adopted by John FitzSymons, a pharmaceutical chemist from Warrenpoint in Co Down and Patricia Bradley, a qualified social worker native to Co Tyrone. In an earlier interview Mr FitzSymons detailed his relationship with his adoptive parents, who are now both deceased. He said that they “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”.

In summer 2018, FitzSymons was informed by Tusla that he was just one of 126 people whose births were mistakenly registered between 1946 and 1969 by the Dublin-based St Patrick’s Guild. In a an earlier interview he described the severe emotional suffering that both sets of parents experienced due to the entire case. 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.”

 

 

 

 

PTSD Disclosure Statement Issued to External Facebook & YouTube Content Moderators

Posted on: January 26th, 2020

Reports have been filed in the US and Europe revealing that Accenture, a professional services company that provides external professional services globally, has sent disclosure forms to new hires and existing staff that state that they are fully aware of the possibility that the content they must view as part of the duties may result in them suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The disclosure statement is said to read: “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).”

Accenture contractors are employed as external outside monitors for social media sites. The 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 in nature. A normal day’s work would include these moderators considering the inappropriate nature of objectionable materials and having to look over hundreds of disturbing images.

This move comes as Facebook is readying itself for coming legal battles with former content moderators that were submitted due to the PTSD they are suffering from due to the content they had to view as part of their daily duties. Legal actions have been initiated in California and Ireland.

The disclosure statements were sent out to Accenture employees in the United States and Europe to complete. Exiting members of staff were issued with the statement in the form of an update. Accenture has three content moderation offices for Facebook in Europe based in Warsaw, Lisbon and Dublin, where workplace safety rules are some of the most stringent globally and include protections for mental health issues.

The form states that “no job is worth sacrificing my mental or emotional health” and that “this job is not for everyone” and includes suggesting that individuals who suffer with mental health struggles due to work might not fit in at at Accenture. There is no provision made, in that statement, to say that Accenture will, as required by federal law, make reasonable accommodations for employees who become disabled due to the duties of their job.

Facebook and Google, YouTube’s parent company have both released statements claiming that they were not asked to approve or review Accenture’s new disclosure form. However, both stated that they direct their professional service suppliers to provide psychological support for content moderators.

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

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

Social media moderators should not complete this form without consulting with a solicitor first as doing so may impinge on their right to pursue a compensation claim for any future suffering caused by their work duties.

Coffee Accident Compensation Settlement of €41,000 Approved for Boy (5)

Posted on: January 8th, 2020

A coffee shop compensation claim action has been approved at the High Court €41,000 due to baby being allowed to pull a bowl of hot soup on top of himself in a coffee shop and sustained major burns.

The boy, Otto Devine, was aged just six months when the accident occurred, leaving the boy with superficial scald burns to his arms and legs at a coffee shop at the Airfield Estate, Dundrum, Dublin. The accident occurred when the boy was with his father and grandfather on May 10, 2015. The legal representative, Carl Hanahoe BL, advised Justice Kevin Cross that the hot soup and sandwiches were put down in front of the baby on the table. The young child was able to pull the bowl down on top of himself, spilling the hot liquid.

Otto was brought by ambulance to Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin to have his injuries treated. Medics diagnosed him with partial thickness burns to his hands, his left leg and right foot. There was also a redness to the right side of his face right hand and the inside of his left elbow. it was found that 3% of the boy’s body were covered with burns. He attended a subsequent appointment with the plastic surgery department . Here, his wounds were cleaned out and sterile dressings were placed on them.

Otto spent eight days in hospital. He suffered early toxic shock syndrome and developed a fever two days after his admission. Once the fever alleviated he was sent home on May 18, 2015. Due to the incident, Otto was left with three areas of minor scarring, the court was informed.

His (Otto’s) legal representatives told the judge that the soup should not have been brought to the table, and placed in front of the child, at a temperature which would inflict serious burns. The personal injury compensation claim was taken on behalf of Otto by his father, Conor Devine, against the Airfield Estate due to the accident. Justice Kevin Cross gave his approval for the settlement that was mediated and said that he was satisfied happy that Otto had made a good recovery from significant burns.



This is an Information site only – if you feel you have a potential claim, you should discuss your situation with a solicitor registered with the Law Society of Ireland.