Product Liability in Ireland

In order to make a claim for product liability in Ireland, it has to be shown that you or a loved one sustained an avoidable injury due to a manufacturing or design error which should have been identified before the faulty product was placed on the market. Compensation for product liability can also be awarded if you have sustained an injury due to merchandise being damaged in the store from which you purchased it provided that you used the product in the manner it was intended and followed any safety instructions that were provided. The laws concerning product liability in Ireland are not always straightforward, and if you intend seeking compensation for a faulty product in Ireland you are advised to speak with one of our courteous and professional solicitors for accurate and impartial legal advice.

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.


Judge Awards Compensation for Injuries due to a Faulty Sun Roof

Posted on: May 22nd, 2017

A judge at the Circuit Civil Court has awarded a total of €37,500 compensation for injuries due to a faulty sun roof to mother and daughter plaintiffs.

In November 2013, the two plaintiffs were part of a family group driving from Dublin to Newry for a pre-Christmas shopping expedition. As they travelled along the M1 at a speed of 80-90kmph, the sun roof blew off, causing a noise described in court as “a bomb going off in the car”. The driver of the car braked sharply, causing the adult members of the family group to suffer whiplash-type injuries.

The driver of the car – a recently purchased Toyota – and her 72-year-old mother claimed compensation for injuries due to a faulty sun roof. They alleged in their claim against Denis Mahony Limited that the sun roof had been faulty at the time the car was purchased, the fault should have been identified and rectified in a pre-sales inspection, and the undiscovered fault had been attributable to their injuries.

Mahony´s denied the sun roof had been faulty at the time the Toyota was purchased and contested the claims for compensation for injuries due to a faulty sun roof. However, at the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin last week, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke heard from an independent car assessor, who found extensive corrosion surrounding the remaining frame of the sun roof. The assessor testified that the corrosion was so bad it would have been apparent in any adequate pre-sales inspection of the vehicle.

Judge Groarke said it was reasonable to expect the car to be fit for purpose, of merchantable quality and free from defects at the time it was purchased. He added that he accepted the sun roof blowing off would have been a terrifying experience understood why the driver had applied the brakes sharply. He found in favour of mother and daughter plaintiffs, and awarded the driver of the car €12,500 compensation for injuries due to a faulty sun roof and her mother – who had suffered a compressed fracture of a vertebrae in the accident – €25,000 compensation.

Birth Defect Claims against Sanofi made in France

Posted on: April 21st, 2017

Parents whose children were exposed to valproic acid in the womb have started making birth defect claims against Sanofi – the French manufacturer of Epilim.

Epilim is the trade name in Ireland for an anti-epilepsy drug (Depakine) introduced into France in the 1960s. Epilim contains sodium valproate and has also been prescribed to treat bipolar disorder, migraine and other chronic pain conditions because of an agent in valproate called GABA that stabilises electrical activity in the brain.

When taken by woman during pregnancy, the sodium valproate is broken down into valproic acid which – when it enters the bloodstream – can have an adverse effect on the health of the unborn child. Children born with “foetal valproate syndrome” have been known to suffer from a range of congenital and development issues including autism and spina bifida.

The risks of foetal valproate syndrome due to taking Epilim during pregnancy were first identified in the 1980s, but the evidence was considered not sufficiently conclusive and was allegedly covered up to prevent “fruitless anxiety”. Sanofi, the manufacturer of Epilim, later informed the medical profession of the risks in 2006 but in a manner that left many medical professionals in the dark.

Only recently has France’s National Agency for the Safety of Medicines (ANSM) looked deeper into the birth defect claims against Sanofi, and the agency has just published a report revealing that up to 4,100 children were born between 2007 and 2014 with “severe malformations” due to their mothers having taken the French version of Epilim. Hundreds more died in the womb.

The report has prompted the children´s parents to form a class action making birth defect claims against Sanofi on the grounds that the drug manufacturer failed to adequately advise the medical professional of the risks associated with Epilim or print warnings on the outside of the packets. The French government has also got involved and is discussing a compensation package.

In Ireland, Epilim is still sold without a warning on the front of the packet, and it is not known how many children have been diagnosed with foetal valproate syndrome due to being exposed to valproic acid in the womb. If a family member has been affected by this issue, and you would like to know more about birth defect claims against Sanofi, please do not hesitate to speak with a solicitor.

Settlement of Compensation for a Cut Finger Injury Approved in Court

Posted on: December 12th, 2016

A €30,000 settlement of compensation for a cut finger injury has been approved at the Circuit Civil Court in favour of a six-year-old boy.

The young boy was only sixteen months old when he cut the middle finger of his right hand on the sharp edge of a wall-mounted fire while playing in the family home. The boy was taken to the Accident & Emergency Department of Crumlin Hospital, where damage to two tendons, a nerve and an artery was identified.

The boy underwent surgery to repair the tendons and nerve damage, and he was discharged from hospital in a cast that he had to wear for six weeks. Fortunately the boy has recovered full functionality of his right hand and the scars he has from the accident are likely to improve over the next few years – leaving no significant impact.

Through his father, the boy claimed compensation for a cut finger injury against B&Q Ireland Limited – the store at which the fire had been purchased – and the manufacturers of the fire, Focal Point Fires of Frampton Street in London. Both defendants acknowledged liability for the fault that had caused the injury, and an offer of compensation for a cut finger injury was made amounting to €30,000.

At the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin, Judge James O´Donohoe heard how the young boy had sustained his injury and the action that had been taken by his parents to get him to hospital in a timely manner. He was told his parents had been concerned about the cosmetic appearance of scars on his fingers and that he now uses his hand for all functions without difficulty or pain.

After inspecting the boy´s hand and hearing from a Consultant Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon about the low possibility of permanent scarring, Judge O´Donohoe approved the settlement of compensation for a cut finger injury, commenting that it was adequate in the circumstances.

Court Settles Claim for Waitress Injury Compensation

Posted on: April 8th, 2016

A hearing of the High Court has settled a claim for waitress injury compensation, made by a woman who suffered a severe thumb injury when a jug shattered.

In December 2007, Sophie Caillaud – a French national with an address in Leitrim Village – suffered a deep laceration in her right thumb, when a glass jug she was filling at the luxury Lough Rynn Hotel in Mohill, Country Leitrim, shattered in her hand.

Forty-two year old Sophie, who was working as a waitress for the hotel at the time, had to undergo an operation to repair the soft damage tissue in her thumb, but has never been able to work as a waitress again as the thumb has never regained its strength.

After seeking legal advice, Sophie made a claim for waitress injury compensation against her former employer – Lough Rynn Castle Ltd. – and the two companies that manufactured and supplied the jugs to the hotel – Bunzl Outsourcing Ltd and Utopia Tableware Ltd.

Sophie alleged in her claim for waitress injury compensation that the jugs used in the hotel were not fit for purpose, that other staff members in the restaurant previously suffered injuries due to the glass shattering and that the jugs should have been withdrawn from use.

The three defendants contested the legal action on the grounds of how much compensation was being claimed for Sophie´s injuries. The hotel also argued that Sophie had contributed to the cause of the accident due to her own negligence.

Consequently the claim for waitress accident compensation went to the High Court, where it was heard by Mr Justice Kevin Cross. At the hearing, Judge Cross was presented with evidence that the joint between the thick handle and the thin glass of the jug was liable to be fragile if subjected to rapid heating and cooling – such as when used in a dishwasher.

When the defendants presented no evidence to contradict the expert evidence, Judge Cross found in Sophie´s favour – dismissing allegations that Sophie had contributed to the cause of her accident and was exaggerating her injuries and awarding her €500,000 in settlement of her claim for waitress accident compensation.

Settlement of Claim for an Injury Caused by a Product Defect Approved in Court

Posted on: February 27th, 2016

The settlement of a young child´s claim for an injury caused by a product defect made against clothing designer Ralph Lauren has been approved in court.

In April 2010, newborn Amelia Duhy was given the gift of a Ralph Lauren branded dress and pants combination by a friend of the family. When Amelia was ten weeks of age, her parents – Julie and Robert Duhy from Drogheda, County Louth – took her on holiday and, during one of the days during their vacation, dressed Amelia in the designer label combination.

That evening, Julie noticed red marks on the outside of Amelia´s thighs as she was preparing her daughter for bed. When the family returned to Drogheda, the marks were still visible, and Julie took Amelia to the family GP. The GP told Julie that the marks were not attributable to an allergic reaction and referred Amelia to a consultant plastic surgeon.

The consultant´s opinion of the injury was that it was “secondary to a tight constriction band”. As the Ralph Lauren dress and pants combination was the only possible cause of the injury, Julie sent them for examination by an expert in the technology of elastic fabrics. His opinion was that the elastic that had been used around the leg of the pants was more powerful than would be used in an adult garment.

Julie sought legal advice and, on behalf of her daughter, made a claim for an injury caused by a product defect against Ralph Lauren Ireland Ltd. The company denied it´s responsibility for Amelia´s injury and entered a full defence against the claim for an injury caused by a product defect. However, after a period of negotiation, an offer of settlement was made amounting to €17,500.

As the marks on Amelia´s thigh had now disappeared, Julie was advised to accept the offer. Julie agreed, but as the claim for an injury caused by a product defect had been made on behalf of a child, the settlement offer first had to be approved by a judge. Consequently, details of the case were related to Mr Justice Raymond Groarke at the Circuit Civil Court.

At the approval hearing, Judge Groarke was told that the dress and pants combination had been manufactured in China and then imported to Ireland with a Ralph Lauren label stitched into the garment. He also heard that, although the marks on Amelia´s thighs had remained for two and a half years, they had never wept and the elastic had never broken the skin.

Julie told the judge that she had photographed the marks over the two and a half year period, but the only treatment Amelia had needed while the marks were still present was the massaging of Bio oil into the top of her thighs. Judge Groarke approved the offer of settlement and closed the hearing.

Court Awards PTSD Compensation for a Child Traumatised by a Fire

Posted on: December 21st, 2015

The High Court has awarded a fourteen-year-old boy €51,244 PTSD compensation for a child traumatised by a fire at the family home five years ago.

In June 2010, Aaron Monds was one four children rescued from a fire in the family home that had been started by a faulty Hotpoint dishwasher. Aaron – who had been identified as suffering from a mild intellectual disability – was only nine years old at the time and was severely traumatised by the incident.

For years after seeing the family home in Kinnegad in County Westmeath engulfed in flames, Aaron displayed symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder. He developed an irrational fear of fire and would check and re-check electrical appliances each night to ensure they were switched off and unplugged.

On Aaron´s behalf, his father – Henry Monds – claimed PTSD compensation for a child traumatized by fire against the manufacturers of the faulty dishwasher – Indesit UK Ltd. Indesit UK Ltd acknowledged that its dishwasher had caused the fire and – by proximate cause – the company admitted liability for Aaron´s post-traumatic stress disorder.

As the Injuries Board does not make assessments for psychological injuries, a hearing was scheduled at the High Court to consider how much PTSD compensation for a child traumatised by fire Aaron should be awarded. The hearing took place before Mr Justice Bernard Barton, who was told that Aaron´s condition had improved due to years of therapy.

The judge also heard that, for many years after the fire at the family home, Aaron had suffered night terrors and still had anxiety attacks about another fire in the family home. Judge Barton accepted the medical evidence that Aaron´s current symptoms would be described as residual of a post-traumatic stress disorder and he awarded Aaron €51,244 PTSD compensation for a child traumatised by a fire.

Settlement Agreed in Claim for Injuries Caused by a Dunnes Sauce

Posted on: October 8th, 2015

A claim for injuries caused by a Dunnes sauce, made by a woman who found shards of glass in a marinade, has been settled for an undisclosed amount.

On 13th September 2013, Amy Holden (22) from Ballybrack in County Dublin bit into a marinated pork chop that had been purchased the previous day from the Dunnes Stores in Cornelscourt and, while chewing the meat, felt a sharp pain in her mouth.

On removing the meat, Amy discovered shards of glass in the marinade sauce. As she was bleeding from the cuts in her mouth, Amy went to the Emergency Department of St Colmcille´s Hospital in Loughlinstown; where she was administered a tetanus injection and was x-rayed.

Despite the x-ray revealing no internal damage, Amy was advised to seek further medical attention if she started feeling any pain in her stomach or started vomiting. Amy later developed a sore throat, but fortunately nothing of greater severity.

Amy made a claim for injuries caused by a Dunnes sauce and, as the claim involved an issue of public liability, Amy´s first action was to make an application for assessment to the Injuries Board. Dunnes Stores denied that it was liable for Amy´s injuries, and the Injuries Board issued an authorisation so that Amy could pursue her legal action through the courts.

Amy´s solicitor calculated the value of Amy´s claim for injuries caused by a Dunnes sauce at €60,000, so the case was scheduled to be heard at the High Court. However, prior to the start of the hearing, the court was informed that the claim had been settled by negotiation and could be struck out.

No details were released about the out-of-court settlement of Amy´s claim for injuries caused by a Dunnes sauce, other than the claim was settled without an admission of liability by Dunnes Stores.

Couple Fighting Mortgage Interest Rate Increase Win High Court Appeal

Posted on: October 14th, 2014

A couple from North Dublin, who are fighting a mortgage interest rate increase which they say is in breach of contract, have won their High Court appeal against the Financial Services Ombudsman.

Kenneth and Donna Millar of Portmarnock, County Dublin, brought their High Court appeal against the Financial Services Ombudsman after a complaint made against their mortgage lender – Danske Bank – was rejected by the Ombudsman.

The Millars had complained to the Financial Services Ombudsman that their lender had increased the interest rate on their six variable rate investment mortgages and on the personal mortgage for their family home to 4 percent in November 2011 – at a time when the Central European Bank´s interest rates were at an all-time low.

They argued that under the terms of their mortgage agreements the bank was only entitled to amend the interest rates on their mortgages “in line with general market interest rates”. However, when the Millars started fighting the mortgage interest rate increase with Danske Bank, they were told that the rates set by the European Central Bank were irrelevant.

The Millars also provided the Ombudsman with an explanation of variable rate mortgages that had been published on the National Irish Bank website at the time the first of the mortgages was taken out in March 2009 (before the National Irish Bank was taken over by Danske Bank). The explanation said that the interest rate borrowers paid on National Irish Bank variable rate home loans change in line with any fluctuations in general interest rates. The explanatory note went on to say “When interest rates go down your monthly payments do likewise. However, when interest rates rise, your monthly payments will increase too”.

After considering the Millar´s complaint, the Ombudsman rejected it on the grounds that the relevant clause in their mortgage agreements stated that the bank would alter the rate “in response to market conditions” and not “in line with general market interest rates”. The Ombudsman said that this distinction was significant and released Danske Bank from maintaining interest rates in line with those issued by the European Central Bank. The Ombudsman also agreed with the bank that it was not obliged to release details of how risk assessments on Kenneth and Donna Millar were conducted.

At the High Court, Mr Justice Gerard Hogan disagreed with the decision of the Financial Services Ombudsman. He said that the text of the clause was ambiguous in the “general factual background against which the contract was entered into” and that the Millars were justified in fighting the mortgage interest rate increase (the full text of Judge Hogan´s verdict can be read here). The Judge dismissed the Ombudsman´s original decision and instructed the Ombudsman to review the Millar´s complaint against Danske Bank “in a manner not inconsistent with this judgement”.

What Judge Hogan´s Verdict Means to Other Variable Rate Mortgages

Approximately 207,000 mortgages in Ireland are variable rate mortgages like the Millar´s – almost 30 percent of the Irish mortgage market – and although Judge Hogan´s verdict may provide inspiration for fighting a mortgage rate increase if you believe you have been treated unfairly by your bank, the issue in Millar -v- Financial Services Ombudsman was based on contract law – rather than whether or not the Millar´s lenders had acted unfairly.

Significantly Mr Justice Gerard Hogan did not rule that Danske Bank were in breach of contract or instruct Danske Bank to reveal how the Millars were risk-assessed. The Millars have always been up-to-date with the mortgage repayments on their seven properties, and what Judge Hogan´s verdict means to other variable rate mortgage holders is that you will have to find fault with your morgtage agreement if you intend fighting a mortgage interest rate increase.

If you are one of the 30 percent of the Irish mortgage market that has a variable rate mortgage, and you would like to know more about fighting a mortgage interest rate increase, you are invited to call our 24 hour helpline to speak with a solicitor in confidence. We cannot guarantee that you will have a successful conclusion to your enquiry, but we will be able to advise you of your options and whether you have a fight on your hands which is worth your while to pursue.

Compensation Claims for Hepatitis A in Frozen Berries Likely to Follow New Warning

Posted on: September 10th, 2014

Compensation claims for hepatitis A in frozen berries are likely to follow a new warning from the Food Safety Authority of Ireland that imported frozen berries should be boiled for at least one minute before eating them or using them in cooking.

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland recommended boiling the frozen fruit after an increase in patients being diagnosed with hepatitis A was identified by the National Virus Reference Laboratory, the Health Protection Surveillance Centre and the Health Service Executive.

The alert follows a similar one last year after ten patients in Ireland were diagnosed with the hepatitis A – five of which were directly linked to imported frozen berries. The number of hepatitis A cases has now risen to twenty-one, and the FSAI is keen to warn the public of the risks of the contaminated food to prevent the number of illnesses increasing.

Risk of Infection from Berries Already in the Food Chain

The chief executive of the FSAI – Professor Alan Reilly – was quick to point out that the risk of developing hepatitis A was only from imported frozen berries, and not from fresh berries or those cultivated in Ireland – although he also commented that all fruits should be washed before eating them.

Professor Reilly also highlighted the threat of contracting hepatitis A from frozen berries when they have been used as ingredients in mass-produced food products used by the catering industry. He recommended that catering companies should source any frozen berries they use in their products from reputable suppliers that have food safety management systems in place.

The Symptoms of Hepatitis A

The new alert over the health risk will alarm many people who regularly consume frozen berries as part of their diet – especially as the incubation period of the virus can be several weeks before the symptoms manifest. Hepatitis A is a virus which attacks the liver and results in victims feeling nauseous, experiencing a loss of appetite, abdominal pains, and a fever.

The symptoms usually last between one and two weeks, although they could persist for several months in the young, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems. Unfortunately there is no cure for hepatitis A, but if you are experiencing these symptoms you should seek medical attention as soon as possible (hepatitis A is not contagious provided that a high standard of hygiene is maintained).

Compensation Claims for Hepatitis A in Frozen Berries

If your doctor subsequently diagnoses you with the virus, it is possible to make compensation claims for hepatitis A in frozen berries against the retails outlet from which the berries were purchased. Ideally you will have retained the receipt of your purchase from when the berries were bought, but this is not always necessary for compensation claims for hepatitis A in frozen berries to be successful.

The best course of action is to speak with a solicitor to establish whether you are eligible to make compensation claims for hepatitis A in frozen berries. You should advise the solicitor of the symptoms you have been experiencing, the diagnosis that have been made by your doctor and the consequences of the illness on your quality of life and ability to work. It will also help the swift resolution of your claim if you are aware of any other victims of hepatitis A who purchased frozen berries from the same source as you did.

Judge Allows Claim for Medication Side Effects to Go Ahead after Denying an Application to Dismiss

Posted on: August 14th, 2014

A High Court judge has allowed a claim for medication side effects to go ahead after the company who manufactured the medication applied to have the case thrown out.

Lorna Savage was granted the go-ahead to proceed with her compensation claim for medication side effects after a hearing at the High Court in which the manufacturer of the medication – Pfizer – had applied to have the case to be thrown due to the length of time that had passed since the claim was first filed.

Hearing the application for dismissal at the High Court, Mr Justice George Birmingham was told how Lorna (now 43 years of age) from Cobh in County Cork had been prescribed the steroid Deltacortril in 1997 to treat the skin disorder vasculitis – a condition which damaged blood vessels cluster together and cause an irritable rash on the surface of the skin.

Within a few years of taking Deltacortril, Lorna´s condition had deteriorated due to her developing Avascular Necrosis – a rare but established side effect to Deltacortril, which prevents blood reaching the bones of the knee and hip joints and causes the bone tissue to die – ultimately resulting in the knee and hip bones collapsing entirely.

After four years of being prescribed Deltacortril, Lorna had both knees and one hip replaced, but the Avascular Necrosis side effect had spread to such an extent that she is now reliant on a wheelchair for her mobility and has to manage the constant pain of the disease with morphine.

Judge Birmingham heard that, after seeking legal advice, Lorna made a compensation claim for medication side effects against the two doctors who had prescribed the Deltacortril for her – GP Dr. Michael Madigan and her consultant doctor at the Cork University Hospital – Dr. M Molloy.

In her claim against the estate of Dr Madigan (who died in 1999), Lorna alleged that he had failed to fully investigate her skin condition and had negligently prescribed Deltacortril when he was (or should have been) aware of the potential side effects.  In the case against Dr Molloy, Lorna alleged the consultant had acted negligently by failing to recognise the symptoms of Avascular Necrosis.

Lorna also made a claim for medication side effects compensation against the pharmaceutical company Pfizer; alleging that the company had failed to provide a warning in the literature accompanying the Deltacortril tablets that their continued use could cause Avascular Necrosis, and by neglecting to advise against drinking alcohol while taking the tablets.

The estate of Lorna´s GP, the HSE (of behalf of Dr Molloy and the Cork University Hospital) and Pfizer individually denied negligence in response to Lorna´s claim for medication side effects compensation, and Pfizer applied to have Lorna´s claim dismissed on the grounds of “an inordinate and inexcusable delay” in bringing the case to court.

However, after hearing that the delay in bringing the case to court was due to Lorna being unable to instruct her solicitors as she had recently undergone seven major operations, Mr Justice George Birmingham ruled that the delay was “excusable” and denied Pfizer´s application to dismiss – saying that Lorna´s claim for medication side effects compensation would be listed for a full court hearing later in the year.

DePuy Litigation Delayed a Further Two Weeks

Posted on: September 16th, 2013

The start of the faulty hip replacement DePuy litigation which was due to commence on September 9th has been delayed a further two weeks to allow additional time for the two parties to prepare.

The latest rescheduling of the first ‘bellwether’ trial was due to a late substitution of case; with the original plaintiff Faye Dorney-Madgitz being replaced by Ann McCracken for reasons which have not been made public.

Although Ann McCracken´s case was originally listed to be heard in August, U.S. District Judge David A. Katz found it appropriate to delay the start of the DePuy litigation in order give both parties more time for discovery and for the consideration of other legal matters.

The judge has already agreed with DePuy´s lawyers that the worldwide recall of the DePuy ASR XL Acetabular Hip Replacement System and the ASR Articular Surface Hip Replacement System should not be referred to in court, as Ann McCracken´s injury would have occurred irrespective of whether her DePuy hip replacement had been recalled or not.

Ann originally received a DePuy ASR metal-on-metal hip replacement system in August 2009 which had to be removed in January 2011 after metallosis from the faulty medical device caused damage to the soft tissue around her hip and resulted in a painful hip dislocation.

The primary purpose of Ann´s trial – and the other ‘Bellwether’ DePuy litigation still to be scheduled – is to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the plaintiff´s cases and how the juries in each ‘Bellwether’ trial respond to them.

If verdicts are delivered in favour of the plaintiffs – and benchmarks are established for the value of DePuy hip replacement compensation settlements – DePuy would be expected to make offers of settlement for the remaining 7,800 DePuy injury compensation claims which are attached to the existing DePuy litigation.

Should it not be possible to calculate future settlements because of irregular awards of compensation in the `Bellwether` DePuy litigation, the outstanding claims (all 7,800 of them) would be returned to the U.S. District Courts in which they were filed to be heard individually.

This would have serious consequences for claims for DePuy personal injury compensation in Ireland, which would then each have to go through a court hearing before they could be resolved.

Woman Awarded Compensation for a Back Injury at Work

Posted on: September 12th, 2013

A woman who suffered permanent injury when the chair she was sitting on her office collapsed has been awarded compensation for a back injury at work.

Terry Anne Downie (51) from Canberra in Australia was working for the Community Information and Referral Service in the Australian Capital Territory, when the chair she was sitting on gave way – causing Terry Anne to fall to the floor and hurt her back.

A colleague who witnessed the incident said that she heard a loud crack and saw Terry Anne fall to the floor and, when Terry Anne was taken to hospital, scans revealed that the accident had caused a disc in her spine to bulge and come into contact with a nerve root.

An investigation into how the chair had collapsed revealed that the single moulding plastic base of the chair had failed in a “catastrophic manner” when two of the five spokes at the base of the chair snapped.

Although she was receiving workers compensation from her employer, Terry Anne – who still suffers from sciatica and lower back pain eleven years after the accident – made a personal injury claim for compensation for a back injury at work against the company who had imported the chair from China in kit form, and the retailer who put the chair together and sold it to her employer.

Both the importer – Jantom – and the retailer Fyshwick denied their liabilities for Terry Anne´s accident at work and her ongoing injuries, but a judgement handed down by the Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court found Jantom and its insurance company to pay Terry Anne Au$933,030 in compensation for a back injury at work and Au$112,000 special damages to cover her medical expenses.

The Community Information and referral Service was also awarded Au$441,911 in respect of the workers injury compensation that had been paid to Terry Anne since her accident in 2002.

Injury Compensation for a Childcare Centre Accident Approved at the High Court

Posted on: June 19th, 2013

Two settlements of injury compensation for a childcare centre accident were approved on the same day at the High Court in Dublin – by the same judge.

In the first, Mr Justice Michael Peart heard how Ella Rogerson from Navan, County Meath, suffered a serious eye injury when she was hit in the face by a jet of water from a hose at the Sandy Childcare Centre in Dunshaughlin, County Meath in June 2010.

Through her father, Ella made a claim for childcare centre accident compensation which the centre initially contested. However, the judge was told that a settlement of injury compensation for a childcare centre accident had been agreed upon and, after hearing the circumstances of Ella´s injury, Mr Justice Michael Peart approved the €122,000 settlement.

The judge was later sitting at a hearing to approve a settlement of €51,500 in favour of three-year-old Lauren Torpey from Rathgar in Dublin; who had suffered facial lacerations when she tripped at the Giraffe Childcare Centre in Dublin and fell against a sharp skirting board.

The Giraffe Childcare Centre had admitted their liability for the June 2011 accident and, after hearing the circumstances of Lauren´s injury, Mr Justice Michael Peart approved his second settlement of injury compensation for a childcare centre accident of the day.

Claims of Injuries to Children Prompt Bumbo Baby Chair Recall

Posted on: August 18th, 2012

Claims of injuries to children as young as 3 months of age has prompted a Bumbo Baby Chair recall throughout North America according to the American Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

The recall, which has been made on a voluntary basis by the manufacturers of the Bumbo Baby Chair, is the result of a series of complaints made to the CPSC and reports of more than twenty infants who have sustained fractured skulls from falling out of the Bumbo Baby Chair, which is also marketed in Ireland as the Bumbo Baby Sitter.

At first it was believed that the injuries sustained by young children were caused by parents leaving their children unattended and unrestrained in the chairs in elevated positions – such as on tables – and this lead to an initial recall of the product in 2007 when labels were added to the baby sitters advising parents of the risk of injury should their child be particularly active.

However, the number of injuries to children continued and, in November 2011, the CPSC changed their warning about the Bumbo Baby Chairs to one of vigilance and advised parents only to use the seats with caution. It was thereafter discovered that a significant number of injuries had been sustained when the Bumbo Baby Chairs were used a floor level.

The CPSC and Bumbo International have advised parents to stop using the product until they have a received a “repair kit”. The kit consists of a restraint belt with a warning label, installation instructions, safe use instructions and a new warning sticker, but is only available for customers in the United States.

Parents in Ireland are advised to contact their retailer to obtain the restraint belt and to speak with a solicitor as soon as possible if their child has sustained an injury due to the faulty product as they may now be entitled to claim compensation due to the Bumbo Baby Chair recall.

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.