Sunday 23 July 2017

Waitress loses €60k damages claim against hotel after kitchen door smashes glass flask in her hand

Fabiele Marques de Abreu
Fabiele Marques de Abreu

Ray Managh

An air hostess with Azul Brazilian Airlines, who just over three years ago injured her right hand while employed as a waitress, today lost a €60,000 personal injuries claim against the Dublin hotel where she had worked.

Fabiele Marques de Abreu had flown from Brazil for her Circuit Civil Court claim accompanied by Brazilian and Spanish colleagues who had worked with her as housekeepers at The Castle Hotel, Dublin, in 2013 when she injured herself.

Ms Marques (29) posted on her Facebook that she had loved Dublin and the 12 months she spent in the city and had “brought Dublin with me to Brazil.”

She told Judge Brian O’Callaghan she had to give up a photography course because of her injury but had since become a flight attendant. She said she had been unable to properly hold a camera after the accident and nowadays, because of her injury, had to regularly switch hands when wheeling her trolley through airports.

Barrister Matthew Jolley, who appeared with O’Brien Dunne Solicitors, told the court that Findlater Hotels Limited, which trades as The Castle Hotel, could not be held responsible for a situation Ms Marques had drawn upon herself.

Mr Jolley said she had opened a kitchen door across herself with her left hand while holding a glass ice-flask in her dominant right hand.  The door, which she claimed had a defective spring-loaded opening mechanism and which was denied, had smashed against the glass, cutting her hand.

The court heard that Ms Marques had to have surgery under general anaesthetic for exploration and repair of the digital nerve on her right hand.  She claimed to have lost feeling in a middle finger and had been left with a small cosmetic scar.

Judge O’Callaghan said Ms Marques had suffered “a nasty injury” and while she and her colleagues had given evidence of the door sometimes opening too quickly, none of them had reported any suspected defect to management.

The judge said a member of the hotel staff had told him she had used the same door on the morning of the accident and it had been operating properly.

Dismissing Ms Marques’s claim and awarding estimated legal costs of up to €10,000 against her, Judge O’Callaghan said that to hold the hotel responsible for breaking a glass in her hand by a door opening faster than she had anticipated, would be stretching too far the duty of care owed to an employee by the defendant.

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