Claims News

Massive $10.9bn RoundUp Settelment 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 connected with users of weedkiller 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 claim 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 this 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.”

 

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.

High Court Action Settled for €135,000 in Favour of Dead Woman’s Family

Posted on: December 13th, 2019

The Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) and the family of a woman who was killed in a hit-and-run accident have settled a compensation action in the High Court for €135,000

The court was informed that the driver of the car did not stop, fled the scene and is still untrace. He (the untraced driver) struck mother of one Caroline Watkins (40)fatally struck with his/her car while she was crossing the road at the Goldenbridge Luas stop on Davitt Road, Drimnagh, Dublin on May 30, 2014.

The legal action alleged that the untraced driver was driving in a dangerous and careless fashion and failed to come to a halt, slow down or swerve to reduce the impact of the collision. The allegations were denied by counsel for the MIBI.

Michael O’ Scanaill SC, with Bonnie Hickey BL was appearing at the High Court on behalf of the Watkins family in court. He informed the court that Caroline’s daughter Ella Watkins (16) of Esker Glebe, Lucan, Co Dublin, was only ten years old when her mother was killed in the collision, and was taking the legal action through her grandmother Ethel Watkins. Mr O Scanaill told the High Court that Ella now resides with her aunt and is “an incredible well-rounded individual

The High Court was told that Caroline’s family were left traumatised as the driver fled the scene and, to this date, remains untraced. Recorded security footage of the accident scene shows Ms Watkins got across half of the carriageway and was moving faster than a walking pace. Despite this, the  pedestrian light was not in her favour and the person accompanying her had not tried to cross the road with her. The legal representatives also said that it was of the belief that the car which hit Ms Watkins was moving at a speed of 55 km /h in a 50 km/h zone.

At an official inquest into the death of Ms Watkins it was heard that she had been travelling home to Ballyfermot from a pub, with her partner, at about 10.30pm. They opted to walk to Davitt Road to get a taxi. When they reached the Goldenbridge Luas stop, they got to the edge of a pedestrian crossing and waited. Ms Watkins then walked out onto the road and collided with the bumper of a car. This collision threw her onto  the bonnet and windscreen before she was thrown forward, landing about thirty feet away on the ground. A postmortem found Ms Watkins passed away due to multiple injuries sustained in the collision.

As he was giving his approval to the €150,000 settlement in the High Court, Mr Justice Kevin Cross said he could understand the anger, upset and frustration e of the Watkins family where the driver abandoned the scene and “did not face the music.”

He went on to say that the driver “showed no courage” and commented that, from watching the security camera footage footage, Ms Watkins looked like she was “in a bit of a hurry” and had to cross the road through traffic coming in both directions. The red light was against her and she took a chance, the judge remarked.

Due to this he awarded 40pc of the full value of the compensation claim, €135,000, to Ella.

More Social Media Moderator Claims Likely as Man (53) files claim against Facebook

Posted on: December 4th, 2019

The first of a number of social media moderator claims has been submitted in Dublin today.

Chris Gray, who was previously employed CPL solutions for a contract as a content moderator with Facebook has submitted a action seeking damages against both the social media giant and the contracting agency due to, what he claims are, psychological injuries he suffered arising out his work duties. These duties, he alleges, included viewing ‘extremely disturbing, graphic and violent content’.

Mr Gray filed his compensation action today at the High Court, claiming that the “very disturbing” photographs and videos, including executions, lethal beatings, stonings, whippings, the abuse of children, animal torture and extreme sexual content” that he had to view during his time moderating Facebook content lead to the psychological injuries.

In addition to viewing the disturbing content, there was more pressure to make the correct decision regarding the suitability of the content to be allowed to be published on Facebook. The expected work outcome was a 98 per cent accuracy rating. Mr Gray said that he had eventually become “numb and desensitised” to the content and increasingly irritable, sensitive, argumentative and aggressive.

Facebook’s network of content moderators includes 15,000 based at various locations around the world. These people are charged with the task of reviewing all content published on the platform in order to remove inappropriate graphic content.

53-year-old Mr Gray said that he became conscious of a “slow creep” in that his “personal and political views were becoming increasingly influenced by the insidious content he was required to view.” He claims that that he developed difficulty sleeping due to the terrible dreams that were caused by the disturbing content he witnessed and would often wake during the night “with a fright, concerned not by the content, but by whether or not he had marked it correctly during his shift”.

Coleman Legal Partners, Dublin, are representing Mr Gray. It is predicted that this is just the first of many of this type of legal action in Ireland. A United Kingdom-based not-for-profit group, Foxglove is supporting the the legal action. They have been involved in a campaign to have Facebook improve the conditions that the works must operate in.

Mr Gray referenced an absence of adequate support and training provided for staff which would allow them to manage “what seemed like a relentless flow of extreme and graphic material”. He alleged that that this absence of support had a huge impact on him and resulted in him being unable to discuss work-related issues with his superiors in a calm and professional way.

Responding to the submission of the legal action a Facebook representative said that the company was aware that “reviewing certain types of content can sometimes be difficult”. However she claimed that the company is allowing for training and full-time support to moderators along with technical solutions to control the amount of graphic material they must view and said “this is an important issue and we are committed to getting this right.” CPL was unavailable for comment.

House Damage Compensation of €54,000 Awarded to Woman Following Oil Leak

Posted on: November 28th, 2019

A woman who had to live in temporary accommodation for two years after an oil spillage from a neighbour’s tank damaged the structure of her house has been awarded €54,000 at the High Court.

A personal injury compensation action was submitted by Ms Davies against her neighbour Margaret O’Leary who was living in a house on a elevated area to the rear of Ms Davies’ house. Ms O’Leary expressed the view that she was not liable for damage to the property as there had been a settlement for the costs of repairs to the house payments for different accommodation for Ms Davies and her family.

Mr Justice Meenan did not accept claims by Ms Davies that Ms O’Leary had deliberately withheld the truth from her when Ms Davies originally spoke to her about the oil spill. He awarded her €54, 204, made up of €12,500 general compensation and €41, 704 special compensation.

In awarding the sum Justice Meenan said while Ms O’Leary had not been asked to give evidence he was satisfied that she had acted responsibly when she became aware the leak was coming from her tank. The measures she took to address this included getting the oil removed swiftly and contracting environmental experts to overlook the damage caused.

Ms Davies told the court the leak took place early during the morning after they had been experiencing a considerable amount of rain at the start of 2013. She said that she went to Ms O’Leary’s asked her over the intercom about the incident as Ms O’Leary did allow her to enter. Ms O’Leary told Ms Davis that she did not have an oil leak but would get it checked as soon as she could. Some time after this Ms Davies said she saw what looked like a group of men emptying the oil tank.

Ms O’Leary, when contacted by Ms Davies, said that her that she was  just having the oil removed as a precautionary step and maintained that there was no oil leak on her tank. Within five minutes of this conversation happening Ms Davies was called by Ms O’Leary’s son Jarlath who also told her “there was no oil leaking and the emptying of the tank was solely precautionary.”

The judge was given information that it was necessary, for the repair work to be completed, for the ground floor to be cut up “like a piece of fudge” so the substructure could be mended.

Mr Justice  Meenan did not allow Ms Davies’ claim for aggravated damages as, he said, there was no basis for having included them in the statement of claim.

 

Pharmacy Accident Compensation of €22,000 Awarded to Boy (2)

Posted on: November 13th, 2019

At the Circuit Civil Court a two-year-old child, who cut his right eye off a sharp object on a shelf in a Co Dublin pharmacy, has been awarded €22,000 personal injury compensation.

Judge John O’ Connor was informed that Ross Pickering of Merrion Park, South Hill Avenue, Blackrock, Co Dublin, had been at Bradley’s Chemist with his mother on 14th July, 2014, when the unfortunate accident took place.

Barrister Samantha Cruess- Callaghan, counsel for Ross, who sued through his mother Marie-Claire Greenan, told the court that following the accident, Ross had been taken to the Emergency Department of Crumlin Hospital for medical attention.

Ms Cruess- Callaghan informed the Judge that medics treated Ross for a laceration to his right upper eyelid, measuring approximately three centimetres. It had been cleaned using an anti-septic technique and was found to be superficial. Two weeks later the child was reviewed again to have his steri-strips removed, there was no bleeding or signs of infection to Ross’s injury at the time and the wound had healed well. She said the child’s mother had been informed that if there had been any concerns nine months post-accident, then Ross could seek advice from a plastic surgeon.

On his one year-check up to review the wound with a Plastic and Reconstructive surgeon,  it was noted that Ross had a scar measuring 1cm by 3mm above his right eye, slightly red in colour and visible from a conversational distance. His opinion had been that the scar had still been immature and would continue to heal in the next 18 months when it would become white in colour.

The boy’s family was taking the  personal injury compensation action against Siofra Limited and L’oreal (UK) Limited trading as La Roche Posay due to the injuries he suffered.

The accident occurred when the child had stooped down to pick something up off the floor . However, when he had stood up he caught the underside of his right eye on a sharp item located on a La Roche Posay display shelf.

Ms Cruess- Callaghan recommended the proposed personal injury compensation settlement €22,000, saying that it was her belief that this figure represents the value of Ross’s case.

Judge O’ Connor approved the offer from Siofra Limited and L’oreal (Uk) Limited trading as La Roche Posay (third party).

Catering Employee Awarded €30k after Being ‘Sexually Harassed’ by Chef

Posted on: October 17th, 2019

An order to pay €30,000 has been made in relation to a facilities company after a female catering assistant claimed she had her bottom pinched by a chef/manager in just one of a range of sexual harassment incidents involving the senior male member of staff.

Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) Adjudication Officer, Catherine Byrne, commented when she was delivering her decision: “As an instance of sexual harassment, a pinch on the bottom may not be at the extreme end of the scale, but it is well within the definition of unwanted behaviour of a sexual nature. It was also at the end of a continuum of incidents including a punch in the ribs, being sniffed at, constant unwanted touching and making offensive sexual remarks about the complainant to her husband.”

The Adjudication Officer calculate the €30,000 award as 18 months income for the worker in question. The firm provides catering services at the offices of a government department.

The Polish worker submitted a complaint of sexual harassment to her employer in relation to the bottom pinch to her employer on the day the incident occurred, February 1 2018.  The chef/manager refuted the allegations and counter-claimed he had a sanitiser bottle in his hand and that the bottle brushed up against the female. Following an investigation by the employer the chef’s claims were accepted, as was his explanation of  other issues raised by the female worker and by the extended team. Following this the employees filed the complaint to the WRC.

When she was making her final ward, Byrne stated that she was of the opinion that the catering assistant was telling the truth when she said that the chef/manager touched her bottom. She remarked: “It is my view that the effect of the sexual harassment suffered by the complainant was compounded by the failure of the respondent to give any credence to her evidence and I find that, of itself, this demonstrated a lack of respect for her. To compensate for this treatment, I decide that the respondent is to pay the complainant compensation of €30,000, which is equivalent to 18 months’ wages.”

Settlement Offer of €32,500 Approved for Creche Accident Involving Two-year-old boy

Posted on: October 9th, 2019

A two-year-old boy who fell and cut his left eyebrow at Wee Care Limited, Monkstown, Co Dublin has had a €32,500 creche compensation settlement approved at the Circuit Civil Court.

The accident happened when Lucas Murphy (7), was washing his hands in a bathroom at the creche. His legal representative, barrister Samantha Cruess Callaghan, informed Judge John O’Connor that the boy had been standing on a small stool while washing his hands at a sink in question. He was standing on the footstool as the sink was too high for him. Lucas was standing on a small plastic stool while cleaning his hands when the accident happened. As he fell to the ground he hit his head on the toilet bowl.

Lucas, who has an address at Ashgrove, Kill Avenue, Dun Laoghaire claimed, through his legal team and his father,  that the management of Wee Care Ltd had been negligent in relation to the accident in question. He (Lucas) had been left with a visible horizontal scar on his left eyebrow.

Lucas, was just two-and-a-half years old when the incident took place at the Wee Care Creche in October 2014. The Judge was advised that he (Lucas) experienced a great deal of trauma due to the fact that he was hurried by ambulance to Tallaght Hospital. After being seen in Tallaght he was transferred to Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin for treatment which included applying adhesive tape to the laceration. He had to attend the day care unit at the hospital for three further appointments. By the time of his final appointment in January 2015 it was found that his cut had successfully healed leaving a two-centimetre long scar.

Lucasm through his father, Darren Murphy, took the personal injury award action against Wee Care Limited. Wee Care Ltd made a personal injury child settlement offer of €32,500 damages. The Judge was informed the parents did not believe that this figure was sufficient. However, Judge O’Connor advised them that, given the circumstances it was a very reasonable offer. He approved the offer.

Australian Tourist Awarded €67,000 Museum Accident Compensation

Posted on: September 7th, 2019

A museum accident compensation award of approximately €67,000 has been approved at the High Court for an Australian tourist who fell and injured his leg when he slipped and rolled down stone stairs at the National Museum of Ireland.

Presiding judge Justice Bronagh O’Hanlon told the High Court that the museum’s Portland stone steps had been shiny and slippery at the time that Warren Baldwin (70), from Revesby New South Wales, ruptured a leg tendon in the accident on the steps. Mr Baldwin suffered major trauma, inconvenience and costs due to the fall.

On June 5, 2016 Mr Baldwin, slipped and fell on the third step from the end of the staircase he was descending in the National Museum. The steps were constructed in 1890, when the museum, located in Kildare Street building was developed.

Justice O’Hanlon said that the accident took place due to negligence in not have a railing in place for a to guide a person down the whole of the seven-step staircase.

She went on to say that Mr Baldwin would not have fallen if a proper safe and safe handrail in place on the steps at the time the accident took place. The wrought-iron bannister that is there is topped by a wooden rail and finishes at the third-last step where it links up with a stone balustrade.

Legal counsel for the National Museum of Ireland said that there was no problems with the stairs when the accident took place. They went on to say that there had been one handrail in place to guide people down the stairs and that of the 470,000 people attending, the museum during 2016 Mr Baldwin was the only individual who fell while walking down the stairs.

Justice O’Hanlon made the museum accident compensation award of €66,989 for Mr Baldwin and said that the museum did not fulfil it duty of care towards the safety of its visitors.

Family of Donegal Man Awarded Six-figure Wrongful Death Compensation Settlement

Posted on: September 2nd, 2019

The family of a Donegal man, who died following an accident that occurred as he was cutting down some tree at a wind farm construction site wind farm, has agreed to a six-figure settlement in relation to the wrongful death legal compensation action that they submitted.

Jonathan Gormley, who was working as a chainsaw operator, died just beforeChristmas  2015. Mr Gormley, the father of two young children, had been cutting down trees at the construction site for the Meenadreen Wind Farm in the Barnesmore area of County Donegal when the unfortunate accident occurred. He was 29-years-old at the time of his death.

The inquest into Mr Gormley’s death was advised hat Mr Gormley was was found with a pine tree lying across his left shoulder. It is estimated that he had not been seen for approximately two and a half hours before a work colleague, Joe Devaney, finally found him in that position.

Mr Devaney informed the official inquest that he had last seen Mr Gormley at approximately 11.30am or 12pm on December 21. It had been an extremely stormy day and Mr Devaney called his (Mr Gormley’s) mobile phone four times between 2.17pm and 2.36pm, but got no answer and became worried about his safety. When found Mr Gormley he was on his knees with his helmet on and a tree lying across on his shoulder. He as unable to find Gormley’s pulse.

After some unsuccessful attempts to remove the tree in question he was given approval to cut the tree. Mr Gormley could not be revived and was pronounced dead at the scene at the accident. Medical evidence presented at the inquest said the cause of death was traumatic or mechanical asphyxia secondary to compression of the chest as a result of a fallen tree.

Mr Gormley’s partner Mairead Coughlin and his Mr Gormley’s parents submitted the legal action against Viridian Energy Ltd trading as Energia, owners of the wind farm, and Softwood Ireland Ltd as a result of the death of Mr Gormley on December 21, 2015.

It was claimed there was a failure to have an assigned employee to coordinate chainsaw
work and to ensure no chainsaw worker was permitted to be carried out by anyone on their own. It was also claimed Mr Gormley had been been permitted to remove a stand of trees manually using a chainsaw in circumstances where he allegedly should have been provided with the proper mechanical plant and safety equipment.

More claims stated there was a failure to ensure all chainsaw and tree-felling work was not allowed once there were gale force gusts as high as 44 knots. Due to this Mr Gormley had been permitted to work on a
day which was not safe for the type of work i he was trying to complete and when it was dangerous to complete chainsaw work in a stand of allegedly unstable, windblown and haphazard trees.

The claims were refuted by the legal team for the defendants.

After settlement talks between all parties, Michael Cush SC informed the High Court the six-figure sum was a “global settlement figure”. Justice Garrett Simons gave his approval for the settlements of the compensation actions including those in relation to nervous shock over the death of the father of two in Donegal in 2015 and said that it was a satisfactory one.

Public Service Card Data Breach could lead to Compensation Claims

Posted on: August 17th, 2019

The Data Protection Commission (DPC) has released the finding of a report in the gathering of information during the application process for the Public Services Card (PSC)  which has deemed the practice was illegal. Due to the finding of the report there is a strong possibility that there will be a number of compensation claims made against the State.

The findings of the DPC review said that the PSC scheme does not comply with the transparency requirements of the data protection acts due to the amount of information given, by Department of Social Welfare, to individuals who were having their data processed as part of the application. The data that is currently being  held on over three million card holders must now be deleted and data processing by the Department must be come to an end within the allotted timeline or some enforcement sanctions may take place against those charged with managing the operation.

In a statement released on the finding of the reports 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.”

When it was first launched, the PSC was implemented for the processing of social welfare payments. Later, it was a required for applying for a range of other state services such as  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.

The PSC will, however, continue to be an acceptable form of identification for a range of 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 added that this does not rule out possibility that a single card, or possibly a national identity card, could be used for all interactions with the state at some point in the future.  She stated: “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.”

A number of civil society groups who have said that their are thinking about submitting a class-action style case in relation to this data breach. When the PSC was first introduced advocacy groups such as Digital Rights Ireland, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, the UN’s special rapporteur on extreme poverty, Age Action objected to its introduction. Digital Rights Ireland welcomed the announced vis its Twitter account saying: “We welcome @dpcireland‘s observation that the PSC morphed from a cryptographic token designed to enhance security for citizens, into a photo id card with no particular purpose, but for which various alternative uses had to be found to justify its existence. We note that @welfare_ie tried its best to use spin, expensive PR campaigns, and hectoring of newsrooms to provide a basis for the PSC. They had to, because there was no legal basis, and limited political support.”

Elsewhere, there have those who have claimed that the the Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty should be relieved of her position due to the data breach. 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.”

Political party Sinn Fein have said that they are reviewing the potential for tabling a motion of no confidence in the Minister.

 

Claim against Giraffe Creche Abuse results in €35k Settlement for young girl

Posted on: August 2nd, 2019

A compensation claims in relation to Giraffe creche abuse has resulted in a €35,000 for seven-year-old Emily Martin.

Emily, who was filmed in an RTE Prime Time documentary on creche abuse, was seen tied to a chair to prevent her from trying to walk and left on her own to cry while she was having difficulty getting to sleep at nap time when she was just 21 months old.

I 2013 an undercover RTE journalist, presiding Judge Simons was informed, gained employment at the Giraffe Creche in Stepaside in order to conduct the expose. The reported remained in She employment at the creche as a childcare worker for a period of six weeks. This allowed her to secretly film the daily practices at the establishment and her report, following final editing, was broadcast on May 28, 2013. It showed many of the children in attendance at the creche being badly treated.

Through her father Jonathan, Emily took the claimed for Giraffe creche abuse against the management of Giraffe Childcare and the Health Service Executive (HSE).

Emily had been attending the creche located at Belarmine Copse, Enniskerry Road, Stepaside, Dublin from the time that she was eight months old. She was moved in to the ‘wobbler room’ shortly after her first birthday. Emily’s parents informed presiding Judge Simon, after she had moved to the wobbler room, she had started having trouble falling to sleep and would constantly become annoyed and shouted at them. This behaviour, however, stopped when she was removed from the creche in the aftermath of the documentary being aired. Her parents advised the Judge that they opted to send their child to Giraffe creche after reading the brochure which said that the care given was of a ‘premium nature’.

The Nolan’s had become extremely distressed after they saw, for themselves, the RTE Primetime documentary footage. Their child was shown tied to a chair to stop her from trying to walk arodnu the room. She was also filmed grasping her toy horse at at time when she was suffering difficulty getting to sleep during nap time. The child was warned to ‘go asleep’ repeatedly and a creche worker threatened to remove the toy horse away from her when she did not. The RTE reporter attempt to settle Emily as she was crying but was directed to ‘leave her cry’.

Emily parent’s immediately took her away from the creche once they had viewed the RTE Primetime footage.

In their creche compensation action, the Nolan family claimed that Giraffe creche did not have adequate measures in place to ensure Emily’s safety, had illegally restrained children in chairs and had attempted to make them go to sleep using inappropriate measures. It wa also claimed that creche management did not ensure that staff were trained and monitored in and proper fashion.

A separate creche abuse compensation claim was taken by the Nolan family against he Health Service Executive. It alleged that the HSE had not seen to ti that the childcare centre adheredwith all childcare regulations.

A Giraffe creche abuse compensation settlement was agreed between all parties involved. Judge Simons said he was satisfied with this and gave his approval. The creche compensation settlement included  the defendant meeting the costs of the legal action.

Hyde & Seek Investigation on RTE Raises Possibility of Creche abuse compensation

Posted on: July 25th, 2019

An RTÉ Investigates report, which uncovered multiple cases of ill treatment of children at various Hyde and Seek creché locations around Dublin, may result in a number of creché abuse compensation claims once unhappy parents have had time to consider their options.

The report, broadcast last night, unveiled many cases of mismanagement and supervision at the crèches included. Two undercover childcare workers/reporters sought employment in crèches managed by the Hyde and Seek chain and discovered that major violations in good practice and safety procedures were taking place, despite a previous investigation highlighting creché mismanagement in 2017 and a number of subsequent reviews by the child protection agency Tusla. Following the 2017 reports more stringent legislation was introduced in relation to the operation of 4,500 childcare facilities.

In the intervening period of time, Tusla carried out 11 inspections at the different locations since September 2017. Even so, it was seen that children in the Hyde and Seek childcare centres were being treated badly and placed in serious fire risk.

Tusla released a statement following the airing of the programme which 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.”

Other discrepancies noted by the undercover pair of reporters included employees not being Garda vetted, babies sleeping in bouncers and an inadequate amount of space between cots for staff to look over sleeping infants. The documentary also showed young babies being stressed after being left in high chairs for a long time and also being placed in a room for ‘misbehaving’. It was also seen that the quality of the food was of a low standard and the staff to child ratios were unacceptable.

The Hyde and Seek chain of crechés, a family-run operation that consists of four crèches in the Dublin area, released a statement that said: “We know we need to work to rebuild, retain and enhance the trust our parents have in us. We have spoken to many of them in recent days and would urge others with concerns to contact us. We are available to talk to and meet parents at any time. We note that while the programme made criticisms of aspects of our service, it praised our childcare staff whose dedication, professionalism and kindness are central to the care we provide.”

Anne Davy, one of the owners of Hyde and Seek, has stepped down from frontline work with immediate effect. She said that the group would be calling in external consultants to look at the operations of the childcare service.

In 2004, Davy was convicted when staff at one of her North Dublin crechés left a three-year-old boy on his own at a local playground when the returned to the creché with the other children. In 2007, she was convicted again for breaching child care regulations, including child to adult ratios and failing to keep adequate records. During these years, the company changed name on three occasions.

The Hyde and Seek group may now have to address upcoming creche abuse compensation claims submitted by parent of the badly-treated children.



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.