Friday 6 December 2019

Chef suing off-licence following injuries suffered while opening 'corked' wine, court hears

Rosé wine (Getty)
Rosé wine (Getty)

Tim Healy

A WOMAN is suing an off-licence and a wine producer after she allegedly suffered a bad cut to her thumb when trying to open a bottle of wine which had "corked", the High Court heard.

Jean Jones, a pastry chef from Strawhall, Monkstown, Co Cork,  claims the bottle of "JP Chenet" rosé wine she was holding shattered without warning as another person tried to dislodge a crumbled cork.

She says she suffered a deep laceration to her thumb and later underwent surgery for repair of nerves and tendons.

She is suing the wine producers, Les Grand Chais de France, of Petersbach, France, and Donagh Gleeson and Sons, trading as Gleeson's Spar, College Street, Killarney, claiming they were negligent in supplying an allegedly defective product.

The claims are denied.

The case was before High Court president Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns because of a dispute between the parties over the disclosure of information by Ms Jones in advance of the hearing of the case.

The judge ordered her lawyers to provide certain information including details in relation to how the accident occurred.  

He said the description in the statement of claim that she was trying to dislodge the cork was not sufficient as for all the defendants knew she and the person trying to remove it "could have been jumping up and down on the bottle".  

He ordered Ms Jones to furnish details in relation to this and to several other matters sought by the defendants.   He refused to order disclosure in relation to certain other categories of documents sought by the defendants.

In her claim, Ms Jones said she and a companion were attempting to open the wine in a room at the Ross Hotel, Killarney, on September 30, 2011.   The alleged accident was not related to her employment, the court heard.

She was holding the bottle and while her companion attempted to dislodge the crumbled cork, the bottle shattered.

She claims the defendants exposed her to a risk they knew or ought to have known and produced a defective cork. 

She also claims, among other matters, the defendants failed to provide a bottle with glass which was thick enough to resist shattering or to conduct an adequate risk assessment of the bottle prior to offering it for sale.

Ms Jones says as a result of her injury, her consultant plastic surgeon has told her that the nerve injury was highly likely to reduce the effectiveness of her hand and cause problems for her as a chef.

A date for hearing of the claim, which is denied, has yet to be set.

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