News Courts

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Judge warns parents of dangers in using baby buggies as shopping baskets

Saurya Cherfi

Published 19/11/2015 | 14:49

A judge in the Circuit Civil Court has warned parents of the dangers in using baby buggies as shopping baskets.

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“People should be very careful when shopping in any store and going around with a buggy full of items taken from the shelves,” said Judge Jacqueline Linnane.

The judge made the remark today while dismissing a €75,000 defamation claim brought by Dublin mother Megan Chapman against Lidl Ireland GMBH.

Judge Linnane said Ms Chapman had in March last year bought for a relative a bottle of motor oil at Lidl, Market Green, Balbriggan, Dublin, and had placed it in a compartment under her daughter Hollie’s buggy.

She had intended to bring the oil to her uncle, John Chapman, later that day but had changed her mind and had gone back to the same Lidl to buy some groceries, with the bottle of oil still in the buggy.

The judge said Ms Chapman had put all the items she collected in the store on the top of the buggy.  She had placed them on the conveyor belt at the check-out but had not notified staff she had bought the oil earlier that day.

The court heard that she had been paying for the items when she was approached from behind by another cashier who touched the bottle of oil and shouted at her several times: “You haven’t paid for this,” before refusing to look at the receipt.

Chapman, of Pinewood Green Lawn, Balbriggan, claimed she had been embarrassed and humiliated and her daughter, Hollie, had been screaming and crying.

Barrister Kenneth Connolly, who appeared with McDowell Purcell solicitors for Lidl, said the store denied liability or that the cashier had acted in an unreasonable manner.

The cashier told Mr Connolly that she had been at her till behind Ms Chapman and had seen her putting items from the buggy onto the belt.

As she had noticed the bottle of oil underneath the buggy, she had come close to Ms Chapman and had asked her: “Sorry, did you pay for this?” to which Ms Chapman had answered that she had.  The cashier had then said “That’s fine” and left.

Judge Linnane said in her view it was totally reasonable to ask Ms Chapman if she had paid for the oil, as it was an item on sale at the time in the store, and Ms Chapman had removed other items from the buggy.

Dismissing Chapman’s claim, she said she preferred the cashier’s account of what had happened.  She awarded legal costs against Ms Chapman.

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