Posted: May 1st, 2015
A pensioner has been awarded €40,000 compensation for an escalator accident at Dublin Airport after the judge hearing the case said that she should take one-third responsibility for her injuries.
Elizabeth Lavin from Kilcullen in County Kildare was taking the escalator to the upper level of Terminal 2 at Dublin Airport on November 2nd 2011 when the escalator suddenly juddered. Sixty-nine year old Elizabeth lost her balance and fell forward over her hand luggage – landing on her face on the metal stairs of the escalator.
Instead of taking a flight to Manchester as Elizabeth had intended, she was rushed to the Beaumont Hospital in Dublin by ambulance. At the hospital Elizabeth received medical treatment for a blunt force head injury and for a series of minor lacerations across her face.
Elizabeth attempted to manage the pain from her injuries with painkillers, but was still unable to perform everyday household tasks. She was subsequently referred to an orthopaedic surgeon because of ongoing pains in her head, arm, hip and knee. Elizabeth still has visible scars from her accident, including one on her bottom lip.
A claim for compensation for an escalator accident at Dublin Airport was made to the Injuries Board, but Dublin Airport Authority PLC denied that it was responsible for Elizabeth´s injuries. Consequently, the Injuries Board issued Elizabeth with an authorisation to pursue her claim in court, and the case was heard this past week by Mr Justice Michael Hanna.
At the hearing, it was claimed that Dublin Airport had failed in its duty of care to take reasonable precautions against the risk of passenger injuries. Elizabeth´s legal representatives argued that the airport authority had been negligent when designing the airport, so that the escalator was the only apparent route for passengers with luggage to access the upper level of Terminal 2.
Dublin Airport contested the claim for compensation for an escalator accident at Dublin Airport by claiming that Elizabeth was the architect of her own misfortune. The airport authority produced CCTV footage which showed Elizabeth failing to use the handrail of the escalator and placing her hand luggage in front of her, instead of behind her.
The judge was also told that the option of a lift was available to passengers with luggage, but that signs directing passengers to the lift were not erected until two years after Elizabeth´s accident.
Judge Hanna found in Elizabeth´s favour – saying that she could not be blamed for the accident because she had failed to use the handrail or placed her hand luggage in front of her. However, the judge said that if Elizabeth was apprehensive about using the escalator, she could have asked an airport assistant if a lift was available and received directions.
Judge Hanna said that Elizabeth should take one-third responsibility for her injuries and reduced her settlement of compensation for an escalator accident at Dublin Airport from €60,000 to €40,000.
Posted: November 5th, 2014
The High Court has found in favour of a Dublin couple in a mortgage interest rate increase dispute and instructed the Financial Services Ombudsman to review its decision.
Mr Justice Gerard Hogan gave his instruction to the Ombudsman in the recent Millar -v- Financial Services Ombudsman case at the High Court, which had been brought by Kenneth and Donna Millar from Portmarnock after a complaint made against Danske Bank by the couple had been rejected by the Ombudsman.
In their complaint to the Ombudsman, the Kenneth and Donna had claimed that the Danske Bank was in breach of contract due to raising the mortgage interest rate on their six investment mortgages and a mortgage on their family home in November 2011 at a time when the Central European Bank was reducing interest rates to a historic low.
The Millars claimed that – under the terms of their seven mortgage agreements – their lender was only supposed to adjust interest rates “in line with general market interest rates”. However, when the Millars disputed the mortgage interest rate increase, they were told by that the European Central Bank´s interest rates had no influence over what the Danske Bank could charge.
The Millars argued that – at the time they had taken out their first variable interest rate mortgage – the literature provided to them claimed “When interest rates go down, your monthly payments do likewise. However, when interest rates rise, your monthly payments will increase too”. Although the mortgages had been originally taken out with the National Irish Bank, they expected the Danske Bank to honour their contract after they had taken over control of the National Irish Bank.
The Millars pursued their mortgage interest rate increase dispute with the Financial Services Ombudsman, who rejected it on the basis that the applicable clause in their mortgage agreements stated that the lender would amend the mortgage interest rate “in response to market conditions” and not “in line with general market interest rates”.
The case went to the High Court before Mr Justice Gerard Hogan, who disagreed with the Financial Services Ombudsman´s rejection of the Millar´s complaint. The judge sided with the Millars in the mortgage interest rate increase dispute, stating that the text of the clause in question was ambiguous in the “general factual background against which the contract was entered into”.
The Judge dismissed the Ombudsman´s review of the dispute and told the Ombudsman to conduct another review of the Millars´ complaint “in a manner not inconsistent with this judgement”. The full content of Judge Hogan´s verdict can be read here.
The Implications of Judge Hogan´s Decision
By siding with the Millars in the mortgage interest rate increase dispute, Judge Hogan may have opened the door for Ireland´s estimated 207,000 property owners that have variable interest rate mortgages to challenge the interest rates charged by their lenders – subject to an ambiguous clause in their mortgage agreements.
It is noticeable that Mr Justice Gerard Hogan did not find Danske Bank to be in breach of contract or instruct the bank to reveal how the Millars were assessed. However thousands of homeowners in Ireland may be able to start their own mortgage interest rate increase dispute, knowing that there is a precedent if the Financial Services Ombudsman fails to find in their favour.
If you are one of the thousands of homeowners in Ireland who have found their variable mortgage interest rates increasing without due cause, and you would like to find out more about starting a mortgage interest rate increase dispute, you are invited to call our 24 hour helpline to speak with a solicitor experienced in the financial services sector. Only then will you find out if you have been paying too much for your mortgage and what can be done about it.
Posted: August 19th, 2012
Following complaints and reports of injury made to the American Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) a popular series of Bumbo seat baby chairs have been recalled due to injury claims.
The chairs – which are made for babies aged from 3 months to 10 months – are sold in Ireland through various retail outlets and online stores for around 40 Euros, but have been found to be unstable when used by active children and have lead to several serious injuries when babies have rocked from side-to-side or leant backwards.
Marketed in Ireland as Bumbo Baby Sitters, Bumbo Baby Chairs and Bumbo Baby Chairs, the product was initially withdrawn in 2007 after it was found that parents in the US were placing their new-born children at risk by leaving them unattended and unrestrained in the Bumbo chairs placed on a table. More than twenty reports of infants suffering injuries due to falling out of Bumbo Baby Chairs were received by the CPSC – including two of a fractured skull injury.
Since the product was relaunched in the States, more than four million sitters have been sold. However, the application of a label advising parents that the Bumbo baby Seats should not be used at height has not stopped the complaints from continuing. From 2007 to 2011 the CPSC received more than 50 reports of injuries to children due to using the Bumbo Baby Sitters – with a further 19 skull fractures recorded.
In November 2011, when it was learned that a number of these skull fracture injuries were suffered by children seated on the floor, the CPSC issued a health warning advising parents to be vigilant whenever they placed their children into a Bumbo Baby Seat. This additional warning failed to stop Bumbo Baby Sitter accidents from occurring, and now the manufacturer has recalled the baby seats – with the CPSC issuing instructions that they should not be used until a repair kit which includes a safety harness has been obtained from Bumbo International.
In Ireland, parents should also stop sitting their children in the faulty chairs until a restraint has been received from the vendor from whom the sitter was bought. Although the baby chair recall has not yet been extended to Ireland, parents of children who have suffered an injury due to a faulty chair should contact a solicitor to discuss their right to claim for Bumbo Seat Injury Compensation.