Claim against Ryanair for damages fails
An Ashford woman has failed in her bid for €38,000 in damages against the airline Ryanair.
Roisin Hartshorn claimed she was left injured after the tail of a plane she was travelling on struck the runway on take-off from Dublin Airport.
She was seeking damages for physical and psychological injury against the airline.
Speaking at the Circuit Civil Court, Peter O'Brien, acting for Ryanair, said under the Warsaw and Montreal Convention, Ms Hartshorn, was not entitled to damages for psychological harm unless she could relate it to a physical injury.
He added that the first time the claimant had complained of psychological injury being triggered by pain in her right foot was four years after the actual accident.
31 year old Ms Hartshorn was living in Coolawinna Park, Ashford, when she boarded a Ryanair flight to London in September 2008. The programme manager has since relocated to London.
Describing how the plane's tail hit the runway on take-off, Ms Hartshorn said, 'the air hostess became panic stricken, screaming 'oxygen' and ran towards the front of the plane.'
She had to share an oxygen mask with a friend before her own mask was released after a fellow passenger hit it.
'I was freaking out and panicking. I felt the plane was going to crash. About 20 minutes later it made an emergency landing in Dublin.'
In court she claimed to have wretched her foot under the seat in front of her as the incident unfolded. Her foot now sometimes swells up if she has to stand for too long. When this injury flares up she often suffers panic attacks as well.
Her claim was dismissed by Judge Jacqueline Linnane and costs awarded to Ryanair.
The judge added she accepted Mr O'Brien's submission that Ms Hartshorn had exaggerated the injury to her right foot.
Judge Linnane said that although Ms Hartshorn had informed the court that she had stopped using Ryanair because she had no confidence in them, the airline's records indicated she had flown with Ryanair on 26 occasions between 2008 and 2011.
'I do not accept any problems she may have regarding her foot triggers any anxiety or panic attacks. I also do not accept any anxiety attack or fear of flying flows from or is caused by flareups of her foot injury,' stated Judge Linnane as she summed up the case.