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Wednesday 3 September 2014

Brain-damaged boy wins €665,000 for lost earnings

Tim Healy

Published 20/12/2012 | 05:00

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AN eight-year-old boy who received a €1m settlement after being left with cerebral palsy due to medical negligence at his birth has been awarded a further €665,000 for loss of future earnings.

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Shane Kenny would have earned the money based on the probability that he would have taken over his father's farm in adulthood, the High Court ruled.

The court rejected a further claim for €2.3m representing the loss of the capital value of the 278 acres in Waterford, which his father Martin said he would have passed on to him had he not been brain-damaged at birth.

In November 2011, Shane, suing through his mother Catherine Kenny, Ballinlovane, Ballyduff, Waterford, partly settled an action for negligence against the HSE, for just over €1m, arising out of the circumstances of his birth on November 2, 2004, at Erinville Hospital in Cork.

Liability was admitted by the HSE, which also apologised to the family.

Mr Justice Eamon de Valera was subsequently asked to determine further damages based on what would be Shane's loss of earnings as a result of not being able to work because of his injury.

Yesterday, the judge ruled he was entitled to €665,000 based on his finding that he would have taken over the family farm at the age of 28.

The sum includes around €108,000 for loss of earnings from the age of 20 to 28 when he would have been expected to be working for his father or in another agriculture-related job.

Mr Kenny had also said he would have bought another farm for his younger son Cathal (5), while supporting his daughter Katie (2) "in whatever career path she might choose to follow", the judge said.

The farm, made up of 168 acres owned by Mr Kenny and 110 acres which are leased, has a value of around €2.3m, the court heard.

Mr Kenny had told the court there was a long-standing tradition within the family of passing on the farm through generations.

The judge said the claim by Shane for loss of inheritance would seem to be based on the assumption that Shane would have sold it in his lifetime.

It would be contradictory therefore to hold that the practice of keeping the farm within the family would end in Shane's lifetime and that he would sell it, he said.

As a result, he did not make an award for the capital value of the farm.

Irish Independent

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