independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Dunnes worker fails in damages claim after chilli sauce fell off conveyor belt

Christina Graham Murphy

A DUNNES Stores cashier who claimed her little left toe was bruised and turned black after a glass bottle of chilli sauce fell off a conveyor belt has lost a €38,000 damages claim against her employer.

Christina Graham Murphy (40) said today that on the 27th February 2010 the belt was in motion as she was scanning items from a large shopping done by a customer, when a two litre mineral bottle fell and knocked a bottle of chilli sauce.

Ms Graham Murphy, of Derrynane, Old Cork Road, Co Limerick, told the Circuit Civil Court she instantly felt a sharp and severe pain as the bottle of sauce, which weighed one kg, fell on her toe.

She said she went home early and called the VHI help line in the night as her toe had become black. She had been advised to go to hospital where X-rays first showed a possible fracture.

Ms Graham Murphy told Adrianne Fields, barrister for Dunnes Stores, that further examination revealed she suffered a soft tissue injury, and she had felt pain for several months.

The court heard that she had been out of work for a couple of weeks, and that her nail, which has not grown back fully yet, had been damaged permanently.

Ms Graham Murphy said there had been no security barrier at the till and she had not been provided with safety shoes. She sued Dunnes Stores, Jetland Shopping Centre, Limerick, for damages.

Ms Fields told the court that the company denied negligence. She said there was nothing the store could have done to prevent the incident and the checkouts were designed to facilitate cashiers’ job.

Judge Jacqueline Linnane said Ms Graham Murphy was an experienced cashier and no such incident had happened before. She said negligence could not be held against the store.

Judge Linnane, dismissing Ms Graham Murphy’s claim, said the incident was caused by the manner in which the goods had been put on the belt. 

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