Damages case by Dunnes employee adjourned over Covid-19 restrictions
Posted on 1st September 2020 at 21:45
Judge hears case requires presence of 15 people but courtroom capacity assessed at 10
A Dunnes Stores worker who has sued for damages has had her case adjourned at the High Court because the courtroom assigned was over capacity according to Covid-19 guidelines.
Imelda Fay claims she suffered a crush injury while putting money in a safe.
Both sides in the case agreed they needed senior and junior counsel, solicitors and engineers to be in court, bringing the total number to 15 people, when the courtroom’s capacity had been assessed as 10 for Covid-19 purposes.
In her action, Ms Fay, a cash office assistant, claims a trolley containing bags of coins totalling €6,500 fell on her leg at Dunnes’ store in the St Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre in Dublin and she suffered a crush injury.
Ms Fay (57), Kevin Street, Dublin 8, has sued Dunnes Stores over the alleged inncident as she accessed the safe vault area in the store on December 1st, 2014. She claims she was transporting the bags of coins in a trolley when she slipped and fell on a ramp at the entrance to a safe. She claims the trolley fell on her leg which was pinned down by the weight of the coins.
She was brought to hospital by ambulance. She says she had to walk with the aid of crutches for several weeks and alleges she was unable to work until January 2015.
Dunnes Stores denies the claims and pleads Ms Fay allegedly failed to carry out the task in an appropriate manner.
Her action, along with other High Court personal injury cases, was previously adjourned in March due to the country-wide lockdown resulting from the pandemic.
A range of measures have been put in place aimed at having personal injury and other actions resume in line with Covid-19 guidelines. Courtooms vary in size and all have been measured to accord with physical distancing requirements with a maximum capacity posted on the doors of all courtrooms.
On Tuesday, when Ms Fay’s case came for hearing before Mr Justice Michael Hanna, he was told there were 13 or 14 people in the courtroom when it was designated a maximum capacity of 10.
The judge said public safety was paramount.He said he would discuss the matter with the judge in charge of the personal injuries list, Mr Justice Kevin Cross.
At the outset, when informed the numbers were over the capacity according to Covid-19 guidelines, Mr Justice Hanna said he had to be strict about the numbers and told the legal teams they would have to choose who had to leave to bring the number down to 10.
Following a brief adjournment, Richard Kean SC, for Ms Fay, said it was a unique experience for everybody and both sides needed their senior counsel, junior counsel, solicitors and the engineers involved in the case to be in court. The case needed to be presented in the normal way in “abnormal” times, he said.
Both parties were in agreement the case could not proceed in the present circumstances and that about 15 people needed to be in court for the action, counsel said. He asked that the case be adjourned back to the personal injuries list.
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