Case Law Update – High Court Cork

Helen Boland –v- Reardans High court Cork 17/10/2016.

A 36-year-old woman who was knocked down stairs as bouncers put an unruly patron out of a pub claimed €750,000 for future loss of earnings.

But, yesterday, a High Court judge did not relate her most serious complaints to the fall. Mr Justice Michael Twomey awarded Helen Boland of Midleton, Co Cork, over €25,000 for general damages for neck and ankle injuries and over €20,000 special damages making a total of over €46,000.

However, he did not attribute the plaintiff’s serious back injury or depression to the fall.

John Lucey SC, for the defendant company, Rearden’s of Washington Street, told Mr Justice Twomey there had been a tender offered in settlement of the case before it went to trial. He said this tender would have certain implications for the issue of costs. James O’Mahony SC for Ms Boland asked for an adjournment of the costs ruling and the judge acceded.

The accident in Rearden’s occurred six years ago on November 19, 2010. Ms Boland was accidentally knocked over by doormen, ejecting a patron, causing her to fall down four or five steps.

Initially, the plaintiff experienced an ankle injury and soft tissue injury to the neck. However, she later developed a back injury. In the course of the seven days of evidence at the High Court sitting in Cork, there was conflicting evidence about whether the back injury was a naturally occurring injury or one attributable to the fall. The back injury required surgery and injections, and morphine patches for pain.

After citing a number of conflicts between medical practitioners, Mr Justice Twomey said in his view the lower back pain and depression were not caused by the fall. He only awarded compensation her in respect of general damages for neck and ankle and some loss of earnings in the first year after the accident.

The plaintiff was in the Irish Navy for 10 years but had moved on to other employment prior to the date of the accident. More recently, she did a degree at CIT in human resource management.