Daughter of man who died after being thrown out of pub settles legal action for €30k
THE daughter of a man who died of a heart attack after being thrown out of a late night bar has settled her High Court action over his death for €30,000.
Patrick (Paraic) O’Donnell (39), St Finian’s Close, Achill Sound, Achill, Co Mayo, had an underlying health problem when he suffered the heart attack while being brought to a garda station after having been ejected for alleged threatening behaviour from Cox’s Latebar in Castlebar, Co Mayo, on June 6, 2012.
It was claimed that when he arrived at Castlebar Garda Station, he was unresponsive and taken to hospital by which time he had died.
His daughter Edel O’Donnell (12), through her mother Claire Scahill, sued the licensee of Cox’s, two security men who ejected him, the Garda Commissioner and the Ministers for Justice and Finance.
The licensee claimed reasonable force was used to eject him after Mr O’Donnell had engaged in violent and threatening behaviour towards the security men. The State parties denied the claims and said he caused and/or contributed to the matters which gave rise to his death.
The case against Cox’s and the security men was struck out and the settlement was against the gardai and the ministers.
Conall MacCarthy BL, for Edel, said it was a very sad and tragic case in which Mr O’Donnell was a patron of the bar and suffered from a chronic underlying condition when he was ejected from the premises and later had a heart attack which he died from.
There was an issue of liability and the legal advice was there would be difficulties in proving liability in circumstances where the licensee was acting within the law when Mr O’Donnell was ejected, counsel said. There would also be issues in relation to liability as against the State parties.
In those circumstances, where this was a claim for €60,000, it had been recommended that an offer of €30,000 be accepted on the basis of a 50 per cent reduction in terms of liability.
Mr MacCarthy said Mr O’Donnell, who had not worked since 1982 other than doing FÁS courses, and had provided €25 a week maintenance for Edel since 2010.
The issue of who should receive the statutory compensation for distress caused by the death, known as the solatium, remained in the case in relation to Mr O’Donnell’s siblings.
Asked by Mr Justice Gareth Simons what they wanted to say in relation to the solatium, two sisters who attended court said they had looked after their brother and supported him financially.
Mr Justice Simons said it was clear from the case the public house discharged its duty of care and it was unclear what case would have been made against the State parties.
The daughter’s lawyers had negotiated a very reasonable settlement sum of €30,000 and he had no hesitation in approving it. In relation to the share out of the €12,697 solatium element of the settlement, the judge was satisfied the entire amount should be paid to the daughter.
He understood the position of the deceased’s brother and sisters but in circumstances where his daughter was not well catered for, it was appropriate she should receive all of the money.