Woman loses claim for €60,000 over fall on moving bus

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A woman who fell on a bus as it moved off at almost zero miles an hour from a stop has lost a €60,000 personal injuries claim for damages against Bus Éireann.

Judge John O’Connor heard in the Circuit Civil Court yesterday that guidance counsellor Jacqueline Howard (64), of Station Road, Duleek, Co Meath, had walked the full length of the bus to a favourite seat and had not been holding on to any safety rail at the time of her fall.

Barrister Kevin Callan, who appeared for Bus Éireann, pleaded in a full defence to Ms Howard’s claim that she had been the author of her own misfortune on the basis of having failed to take any reasonable care for her own safety.

Ms Howard told the court she joined the bus at Duleek on February 8, 2017, and walked to a favourite seat at the back where she always sat.

She claimed the bus jerked suddenly on moving off, throwing her on to the floor.

“I didn’t have time to reach for a hand rail, it happened so suddenly,” she told Judge O’Connor. “I was thrown on the floor and my rib cage and back struck the edge of a plinth on the floor.”

She told her counsel she suffered severe pain following the incident and later had to have an injection into her back. At times the pain was such that she was unable to do anything for herself and felt her fall had exacerbated issues she previously suffered from a back injury.

Judge O’Connor said that while Ms Howard was a particularly nice and genuine person who had suffered a fall, he had to look in detail at a Court of Appeal judgment that was handed down by Mr Justice Michael Peart.  

In that particular 12-year-old incident involving Dublin Bus, the Court of Appeal had held that the defendant had a duty to take reasonable care for the safety of a passenger, but stressed the need of passengers to avail of clearly visible hand rails.

Judge O’Connor said a bus driver was entitled to assume – unless a passenger was impaired in some way, which could place upon him a greater duty of care than usual – that the average able-bodied adult would take reasonable care for their own safety by using safety rails.

He said that in the circumstances of the incident before his court, and in accordance with the ruling of the Court of Appeal, he had to dismiss Ms Howard’s claim.

Irish Independent

Woman (59) sues HSE over alleged BreastCheck misdiagnosis

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A woman who attended a mobile BreastCheck clinic for a mammogram when she had a concern about a lump on her breast has sued in the High Court claiming alleged misdiagnosis.

Mother of two Siobhan Freeney claims her mammogram taken in June 2015 was read incorrectly.

She was told in a letter from BreastCheck a few days later her mammogram was clear.

She alleges the mammogram should have been read as highly suspicious for cancer and she should have been referred for further assessment.

Six months later, Ms Freeney was diagnosed with cancer in her right breast.

She claims her cancer should have been diagnosed earlier when she had a mammogram in the mobile clinic when it came to her local town Gorey, Co Wexford.,

As a result of the alleged delay in her diagnosis. Ms Freeney claims the opportunity to detect the cancer at an early stage was missed, her counsel Jeremy Maher SC told the court.

Mr Maher SC said it is their case there was an alleged delay in the diagnosis of Ms Freeney’s breast cancer.       

Counsel said it was not diagnosed until December 2015.

It is their contention it ought to have been diagnosed six months earlier when Ms Freeney attended the mobile clinic.

At the mobile clinic, counsel said, Ms Freeney was not referred for further assessment as they contend she ought to have been.

If she had, he said it was their case a triple assessment including a clinical assessment mammogram and ultra sound would have taken place and identified the cancer.

Ms Freeney (59) of Clonattin, Gorey, has sued the HSE.

She has claimed there was a failure to failure to advise, treat and care for her in a proper skillful, diligent and careful manner.

There was an alleged failure to use reasonable care skill and judgment when reviewing her mammogram taken on June 17, 2015.

She has further claimed there was an a failure to identify that features in her mammogram of her right breast taken that June were suspicious of cancer.

All the claims are denied.

Had her cancer been detected in June 2015, her counsel said Ms Freeney would have required a mastectomy.

But he said the cancer would have been smaller and she would not have required radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

He said their case was the mammogram taken in the mobile clinic was incorrectly reported as indicating no evidence of cancer.

Experts for their side he said will say that if Ms Freeney had been referred on for further assessment the cancer would have been identified.

The opportunity to detect the cancer at an early stage was missed, Mr Maher said.

The case before Ms Justice Niamh Hyland continues.

Irish Independent

School secretary made 520 unpaid trips on M50

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A SCHOOL secretary has been given the chance to avoid hefty fines and conviction for 520 unpaid trips on the M50.

Six motorists were hit with court fines totalling €56,000 after failing to turn up to face charges for repeatedly dodging M50 tolls.

Some 22 motorists had been summonsed to appear at Dublin District Court, and prosecutions against seven of them went ahead.

Six motorists failed to show up but were given hefty fines, ranging between €5,000 and €15,000, in their absence and ordered to pay €350 in prosecution costs.

Meanwhile, school secretary Jessica Brewer, of Latchford Close, Clonee, Dublin, had the highest number of unpaid tolls of the defendants listed, 520 over a three-year period.

She came to court and wept as she told Judge Anthony Halpin it happened because she was unwell last year and feared a recorded conviction could jeopardise career plans. Like all defendants in the list, she was prosecuted on five sample counts.

After listening to her story, the judge said: “You can’t get feathers off a frog’s back,” adding she did not have the money.

He ordered her to pay €500 to the motorway operator and a further €100 toward prosecution costs. He adjourned the case until July, when the case will be struck out with no record if she has paid by then.

The court heard she had paid for 39 trips each costing €3.10 but another 520 were unpaid.

She admitted she had been the driver and was responsible but she has since set up a toll tag and is now paying when she uses the motorway.

Irish Independent

Mother’s €60,000 claim that security staff trapped her in doorway dismissed

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Mother’s €60,000 claim that security staff trapped her in doorway dismissed.

A mother of three who alleged she had been assaulted by security men repossessing her family’s business for a bank has lost a €60,000 damages claim for personal injuries against a security company.

Judge Sarah Berkeley also awarded costs against Bernadette McLoughlin (35) after telling her she had attempted to force her way into a shopping mall at Mary Street, Dublin when she found it had been taken over on behalf of a receiver.

Ms McLoughlin, with an address at Dodderbrook Park, Ballycullen, Dublin 24 alleged she had suffered psychological injuries as well as bruising and pain after her left arm was trapped in an entrance door for half an hour by security staff.

She claimed they would neither let her in nor out once her arm had become lodged between the door and a wall.

Ms McLoughlin told barrister Paul O’Neill, counsel for KTech Security, of Cookstown, Tallaght, she had known of a possession order having been made against her mother, who owned the premises.

She said she had received a call from a tenant who had been locked out once the City Sheriff had moved in.

Ms McLoughlin denied she had been part of a threatening and menacing crowd outside the mall on January 12, 2016 and said she had only wished to assist tenants recover equipment.

She said security men had trapped her between the door and the wall and would not release her.

Mr O’Neill, who appeared with O’Riordan Solicitors for KTech, said security staff would tell the Circuit Civil Court that she had held on to a security rail at the entrance and had refused to move out of the partly closed doorway.

Jamie McLoughlin, her brother, said the family were aware a High Court order for possession had been delivered to the City Sheriff but no one had known when it would be executed. He said repayments had not been made on a mortgage for 16 years and he had used rents from tenants to defray other bills.

Judge Berkeley said she accepted the evidence of Garda Sergeant Fintan Corcoran who had visited the scene and had told the court Ms McLoughlin could have walked free at any time.

Gda Sgt Corcoran had to counsel her for 10 minutes before she agreed to move out of the position she had been standing in.

He had specifically told the court there had been plenty of room either side of her arm in order to allow her release.

“When told she wasn’t going to get access she manoeuvred her way into a position in the doorway and I don’t accept she was caught and unable to get out,” Judge Berkeley said.

She said she did not accept that the defendant had done anything that had caused bruising to Ms McLoughlin’s arm.

Security staff had done everything they could not to let her in and not to harm her either.

Retired City Sheriff James Barry told the court it would have been very dangerous for him to have given any notice of the date of taking possession.

There were seven security personnel as well as two bailiffs with him in the premises at the time.

Irish Independent

Boy who fell through skylight on hotel lawn settles for €75,000

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Boy who fell through skylight on hotel lawn settles for €75,000.

A 12-year-old boy who as a toddler fell through a skylight in a hotel grounds and broke his arm has settled his High Court action for €75,000.

Rory Veighey McCabe, who was just over two years old at the time, was playing on a grassed area at the Moyvalley Hotel, Co Kildare, when he dropped 10 feet through the skylight which was embedded in the ground.

The skylight was one of a number in a lawn area to provide light to a tunnel used by staff to access the hotel kitchens from the outside of the hotel.

Rory, who was attending a wedding with his family at the hotel, was playing with other children on the grass while the wedding speeches were taking place.

Through his mother Nicola Veighey, of Kilcock, Co Kildare, he sued the Moyvalley Hotel and Leisure Company, owners of the hotel, as a result of the accident on June 22, 2010.

Rory was attending the wedding reception at the hotel with his parents.

The wedding dinner took place in the main ballroom and a corridor led to the grassed area.

Shortly after Rory began playing with the other children, he fell through a skylight to the tunnel floor.

It was claimed the accessible lawn area was allowed to have an unsecured skylight and that this constituted a trip hazard.

There was also, it was claimed, a failure to warn the public and the parents of the boy of the existence of the skylight and a failure to remove a hazard from an area open to visitors.

Rory’s counsel, John Kennedy SC, told the court liability was not at issue in the case.

The toddler, he said, was not knocked out but suffered cuts and also broke his right arm.

He also lost three of his baby teeth as a result of the accident.

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Kevin Cross said the fall was very severe and the young boy was fortunate not to have suffered a brain injury.

The judge said Rory had had a very nasty fall but he had probably forgotten all about it now.

Mr Justice Cross said it was a very good settlement and he wished the boy well for the future.

Irish Independent

Judge orders anorexic woman at risk of malnutrition and death to be tube fed

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The HSE has secured court orders permitting the tube feeding and hospital detention of a woman with anorexia nervosa said to be at serious risk of malnutrition and death.

The president of the High Court, Mr Justice Peter Kelly, said he was satisfied the orders are necessary having regard to the serious risk to the woman’s health and life.

An independent medical doctor is to assess the woman in the context of an inquiry as to whether she should be made a ward of court and the judge appointed a guardian at litem to represent her interests in that regard. A date for the inquiry will be fixed later.

The various orders were sought on an ex parte basis on Monday by Patricia Hill SC, for the HSE.

Counsel said the woman, aged in her 50s, has a history of anorexia, schizoid personality traits and other conditions.

She was admitted to hospital in December and readmitted in early January with a weight of 36.2kgs, representing a loss of some 10kgs on her weight on discharge the previous month. She had stopped her medication, severely restricted her dietary intake and increased her exercise.

Ms Hill said the HSE had no information about the woman’s family circumstances but the guardian might be able to establish those.

In an affidavit, her treating psychiatrist said she had refused necessary medications and vitamin supplements following this latest admission and her weight has fallen further, necessitating her transfer to a medical ward.

Although she had shown a very slight weight gain since her transfer to the medical ward, she remained at serious risk of malnutrition, metabolic failure and death, he said.

Naso-gastric feeding, he believed, was necessary, ideally within days, to protect her health and life.

She lacks insight, denying there is any problem with her weight, he added. In his view, she lacked capacity to make decisions about her welfare and requires court protection to ensure her safety.

Granting the orders, Mr Justice Kelly said the medical evidence was, although the woman has shown a slight weight gain since her move to the medical ward, her weight remains inadequate and she is at serious risk of malnutrition and death unless her oral intake can be placed at safe levels.

Court throws out teenager’s claim of slipping on milk at Lidl

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A shopper who told a court she was injured when she slipped on milk in a Lidl supermarket has had her €15,000 compensation claim thrown out.

Cassie McDonagh, St Mary’s Park, Dunsink Lane, Finglas, Dublin 11 was left facing hefty legal bills after she sued Lidl Ireland for damages for personal injuries as well as inconvenience and expenses she suffered.

She claimed the store was negligent and failed to have regard for her safety.

However, her civil action at Dublin District Court was dismissed by Judge John Brennan who was shown CCTV footage of her returning to the spillage a number of times before she fell.

Ms McDonagh claimed she slipped at the supermarket in Glasnevin in Dublin on August 10th, 2016 because of the liquid on the floor near refrigerators and suffered back pain. She was then aged 16.

A medical report stated she had lower back pain for three to four months after the fall and had intermittent back pain since. She made a full recovery, the court heard.

CCTV footage was shown and she was cross-examined by Lidl’s barrister Fred Gilligan. She agreed she did not tell the doctor she had been in two previous traffic incideents over the previous nine-month period.

In the video evidence, she was shown entering the store at about 6.45pm. She appeared to walk past the spill but after speaking to another person, she looked back towards it before she returned.

She appeared to say something to another girl about the liquid on the floor.

On the third time she walked over it and slipped, the court heard.

Questioned by counsel, she could not explain why she went back toward the spillage.

The case was fully contested by Lidl, which had offered her a chance to drop the action but she refused.

Dismissing the case, Judge Brennan noted she had walked past the spillage on a number of occasions prior to the accident and he held she had to have seen it.

Costs were awarded to Lidl.

Judge orders blood can be administered to Jehovah’s Witness girl

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A teenage girl who urgently requires surgery can, if necessary, be administered blood or blood products against the wishes of herself and her parents, all members of the Jehovah’s Witness faith, the president of the High Court has ordered.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly said he was satisfied, notwithstanding the views of the girl and her parents, the orders are necessary for preserving the girl’s life and not to permit them would be “hazardous”.

The orders take immediate effect, he directed.

David Leahy BL, for the HSE, sought the orders in an ex parte application, one side only represented, on Friday afternoon.

A solicitor for the HSE told the court he had informed the girl and her parents of the court application and the parents had indicated they were not attending court to oppose it.

The solicitor said the parents were not objecting to surgery but, should a situation arise where the medical team wanted to administer blood or blood products, they could not agree to that and wanted the team to explore all other alternatives.

They had also said they wanted the best for their daughter and would not stand in the way of a court order.

Mr Justice Kelly said court applications for leave to administer blood or blood products against the wishes of members of the Jehovah’s Witness faith, while not a regular occurrence, are not unusual.

He referred to a number of decisions permitting that to be done in “exceptional” circumstances.

On the medical evidence, including that antibiotic therapy had not reduced the infection and the serous risk of sepsis if surgery is not carried out, he was satisfied she needed the surgery.

Life threatening
He also noted doctors had said a blood transfusion may be necessary.

He was satisfied, if all the orders sought were not granted, there was a “serious and imminent” threat to the girl’s life and this case raised the exceptional circumstances identified.

The right to life trumps the entitlement of the girl and her parents to their religious views, he said.

The doctor involved had been “perfectly respectful” of the wishes of the parents and girl and had considered alternative means consistent with the Jehovah’s Witness faith but none of those were, in the doctor’s view, satisfactory, he noted.

He directed a guardian be appointed to represent the girl’s interests and returned the matter to next week.

Earlier, Mr Leahy said the girl had been admitted to a hospital some days ago with fever and pain and a MRI scan had indicated a blockage which required either drainage or surgical intervention.

The application for administering of blood or blood products was being made in terms of a contingency which might not arise, he said.

There is an urgency and a risk which “could be as high as life endangering”, he stressed.

In evidence, the HSE solicitor said the parents had said they could not agree to the administration of blood/blood products and wanted all alternatives to that to be explored and exhausted. They had also indicated they would not stand in the way of a court order to that end.

The girl’s mother had also expressed criticism concerning what happened when there was an earlier admission of the girl with the same problem, the solicitor said.

The mother had indicated, had that earlier admission been followed up differently, the girl would not be in this situation now. The mother considered sufficient investigations were not carried out at the time of the earlier admission.

Former taxi driver has personal injury claims thrown out

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Judge Jacqueline Linnane says Mohammed Noman Khan’s cases were ‘waste of time’

A former taxi driver’s personal injury claims for up to €120,000 have been thrown out by a judge, who told him his case had been a waste of court time.

Judge Jacqueline Linnane heard that Mohammed Noman Khan kept a 77-year-old distressed woman driver waiting for an hour on the Goatstown Road until gardaí­ arrived at the scene of what had been a “one mile an hour” rear ending of his taxi.

Barrister Conor Kearney told Mr Khan in cross-examination that Pauline O’Grady, now aged 81, would tell the Circuit Civil Court her automatic car had accidentally rolled forward in traffic, causing no damage to either vehicle.

“You insisted on the gardaí ­ being called and wouldn’t even allow her to move her car before they arrived,” Mr Kearney told him.

Mr Khan (37), of Belarmine Plaza, Stepaside, Dublin, was told that an FBD Insurance investigator would give evidence of his having signed a statement in which he had stated he had not been injured.

Despite Mr Khan having denied that he had made such an admission, his legal team told Judge Linnane they had received instructions to withdraw his claim against Ms O’Grady, as well as a second claim he had made against another female driver for an incident two months later. Both incidents occurred in 2016.

Mr Kearney, who appeared with Stephen MacKenzie Solicitors for FBD and Ms O’Grady, was awarded full legal costs against Mr Khan.

Judge Linnane said Mr Khan’s credibility had gone completely and told him it had been a total waste of time in both his cases having been brought to court.

Mr Khan also withdrew his claim against Pauline Treanor for another low-impact collision that had occurred while he drove towards the airport on the Drumcondra Road.

Adrianne Fields, who appeared with Delahunty O’Connor Solicitors for Ms Treanor, was also awarded full legal costs against Mr Khan.

In both incidents Mr Khan told the court he had suffered whiplash injuries.

He also told Judge Linnane he had settled a High Court case in 2011 for €12,500 for an incident at work but later conceded in cross-examination that he got nothing out of it as the settlement was used to defray legal costs.

Mr Khan said he had also settled a December 2014 road traffic claim for €7,000 and was currently considering whether or not he should take out a personal injury claim for an incident in April 2018.

€159,000 fall award to woman overturned on appeal

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The Court of Appeal has overturned an award of €158,864 damages to a woman who tripped and fell while crossing a courtyard beside her workplace in Co Sligo.

Giving the three-judge COA judgment yesterday, Mr Justice Brian McGovern said there was “no credible evidence” to support the liability finding of the trial judge.

Geraldine McHugh (66) – now retired from her job as a clerical officer with the Revenue – sued the Office of the Revenue Commissioners, the minister for social protection and the State over the accident at Cranmore, Co Sligo, on September 1, 2014.

She alleged concrete pavers in the courtyard were in a dangerous and defective condition and she was caused to trip and fall as a result of that. for full story