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Thursday 13 December 2018

Woman who fell into shop freezer is awarded €20,000

Ms Meaney claimed the injury was the result of negligence by Dunnes
Ms Meaney claimed the injury was the result of negligence by Dunnes

Part of a €20,000 award to a shopper who fell into a supermarket freezer after she had to lean in to get frozen vegetables from the bottom is to be held in a solicitor's account pending an appeal over the case, the High Court has ruled.

Last month, Circuit Court Judge Gerard Griffin awarded €30,000 to Anne Meaney (70) over the accident in Dunnes Stores, Goldsmith Terrace, Bray, Co Wicklow, on February 20, 2016.

The judge reduced the award by one-third on the basis of contributory negligence by Ms Meaney, of New Ard Chualanna, Bray, Co Wicklow.

The judge also granted a stay on the award, pending appeal, on the basis that €15,000 of it be paid to Ms Meaney within two weeks.

Dunnes lodged its appeal and also sought to vary the terms of the stay in relation to having to pay €15,000.

Yesterday in the High Court, Mr Justice Seamus Noonan directed that the €15,000 be paid into Ms Meaney's solicitor's account until the outcome of the appeal.

In her action, it was claimed Ms Meaney fell forward on to the edge of the freezer and hurt her right lower chest.

She developed sharp pleuritic-type pain that same evening and attended Loughlinstown Emergency Department two days later, on February 22.

An X-ray showed no visible fracture but she was treated as having clinically fractured ribs and was prescribed painkillers, it was claimed.

She continued to suffer pain but by July 25 the pain had greatly improved and she only experienced jabs of pain in certain situations.

Ms Meaney claimed the injury was the result of negligence by Dunnes.

Misfortune

Dunnes denied the claim and argued she was the author of her own misfortune and had failed to take reasonable care.

In its appeal, Dunnes says the Circuit Court judge erred in law on the facts of the case in making the €20,000 award.

It claimed, in relation to the requirement to pay €15,000 now, there was no guarantee that the money will be recovered if it wins its appeal.

Ms Meaney's lawyers argued the Circuit Court was correct and had heard all the facts.

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