'Accidents do happen' - Judge throws out woman's pasta sauce jar injury claim and orders her to pay costs
A 23-year-old Ennis woman is counting the cost of taking on retail giant Dunnes Stores over a "nasty" baby finger injury caused by a broken Dolmio pasta sauce jar - and losing.
This follows the dismissal by Judge Gerald Keys at Ennis Circuit Civil Court of Maria McDonagh's personal injury action against Dunnes and his order that she must pay the retailer's legal costs.
Judge Keys made his ruling after finding Ms McDonagh's baby finger injury was probably caused when picking up the glass debris of the Dolmio pasta sauce jar she let fall at the retailer's Ennis store on February 4, 2014 and not, as Ms McDonagh claimed, when picking up a broken or defective jar from the shelf.
Judge Keys said: "It is more probable the injury was inflicted when she handled the debris of the glass when it hit the floor."
Judge Keys said: "It was a nasty injury but not that serious - unfortunately, accidents do happen."
Ms McDonagh said she was shopping with her two-year-old nephew when picking a jar of Dolmio: "I felt a sharp pain go through my finger but let the jar fall."
She said: "Out of reflex I tried to catch it."
Ms McDonagh said she felt a sharp pain in her left-hand baby finger.
She said: "I looked at my hand and I saw the blood and I was in shock."
Asked if she had done anything when the jar hit the floor, Ms McDonagh replied: "No, I just left it there."
She said: "I was in shock. There was a load of blood."
Asked about the impact of the injury, Ms McDonagh stated: "I do get sharp pins and needles up through it. I can't straighten it."
Counsel for Dunnes, Michael Collins BL, said the evidence from store manager Alan Patterson would be that "you apologised for breaking the jar and that it slipped from your hand and smashed."
Ms McDonagh said she had never had such a conversation with Mr Patterson.
In evidence, Mr Patterson said Ms McDonagh was feeling faint and apologised for breaking the jar: "She told me that it had slipped from her hand."
Mr Patterson said that it was only the next day when he bumped into Ms McDonagh that she claimed the jar was broken.