€500,000 for waitress who cut hand when jug 'exploded'
A hotel waitress has been awarded €500,000 for an injury to her hand when a glass jug she was filling shattered.
Sophie Caillaud (42) had suffered a very significant injury which had altered her life, a judge said.
The French woman was working as a waitress in the luxury Lough Rynn Hotel in Leitrim in December 2007, when she sustained a deep laceration to her right thumb.
The award includes a sum of €195,000 in special damages. It includes €13,000 for an automatic car; €1,000 a year for wash and blow drys, and €39 every three months for hair colouring. More than €2,000 per annum has been factored in for six hours' home help each week.
Ms Caillaud, of Shannon View, Leitrim Village, Co Leitrim, had sued Lough Rynn Castle Ltd, her employer and owners of the hotel at Mohill, Co Leitrim. She also sued two English companies, Bunzl Outsourcing Ltd, Seymour Street, London, and Utopia Tableware Ltd, Chesterfield, who produced the jug.
She had told the court told "the bottom of the jug exploded" and she suffered a deep laceration in the incident on December 9, 2007 when she was working on the hotel's breakfast shift.
She claimed she has been left with a loss of strength in her right hand and could not resume work as a waitress.
Mr Justice Kevin Cross accepted Ms Caillaud's evidence that complaints had been made by hotel staff previously about water jugs shattering and that nothing was done about it.
There was no question, the judge said, of contributory negligence against Ms Caillaud and he found that hotel management were - or ought to have been - aware of the complaints.
The jug suppliers, he said, had supplied them to the hotel as being suitable for use in the catering trade, when according to the evidence they were not.
Assessing general damages for pain and suffering at a total of €170,000 Judge Cross said Ms Caillaud was entitled to be compensated for the initial injury and the carpel tunnel syndrome she suffered afterwards.
He allowed €135,000 for loss of earnings, as he said Ms Caillaud, who has since graduated with a qualification in fine art, has not worked since.