DENTIST Danielle Meagher, a star of TV’s ‘Real Housewives’ and self publicised as "Dr Botox," has been directed by a court to pay one of her botox patients €7,500 damages for a breach of confidence.
The Circuit Civil Court heard today that it had been publicly divulged at a late-night drinks party that 36-year-old mortgage consultant Amanda Dillon had received a botox treatment from Meagher’s clinic, Dermadental Limited.
Judge Matthew Deery told barrister Grainne Fahey that Ms Dillon was entitled to succeed in her claim against Ms Meagher and her medical services clinic at St Martin’s House, Waterloo Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4 and Malahide Marina, Co Dublin.
Judge Deery dismissed a breach of confidence claim against Meagher’s receptionist, Jennifer Valentine, despite her having told the court it was she who had told a friend, Annette Bonnar, about Ms Dillon’s treatment at the clinic.
The court was told Bonnar, who gave evidence in the case, later loudly disclosed to all of the late-night party guests, including many of Ms Dillon’s acquaintances, on August 7, 2009, about Dillon’s botox treatment. Everyone agreed there had been drink taken at the party.
Judge Deery said the clinic and Ms Meagher were liable for Ms Valentine’s disclosure because, at the time of dealing with Ms Dillon’s treatment, Ms Valentine, of Summerfield Rise, Clonsilla Road, Blanchardstown, Dublin, was a servant or agent of the clinic and Ms Meagher. He told barrister Conor Keogh, for Ms Valentine, he would not make any order for costs in her case.
Throughout the hearing Ms Meagher of Dublin 14 had disputed liability for any breach of confidence. She told her counsel Conor Bourke that she had felt very sorry for Ms Dillon but that she and her clinic had been “caught up in the crossfire.”
Dillon, of Glenville Avenue, Roselawn, Blanchardstown, Dublin, claimed Meagher held herself out as a doctor and expert in aesthetic medicine and was a director of Dermadental Limited’s clinic.
She held it to be an implied term of the contract or retainer with Meagher that her treatment would be kept entirely confidential and private and not disclosed to anyone without her consent. Because of the nature of the treatment and services supplied the defendants had owed her a duty of confidentiality.
Dillon had alleged Meagher knew that publication of details of the treatments to third parties would cause her embarrassment and distress.
On July 24, 2009 Dillon had spoken to Jennifer Valentine and in the course of conversation it had become clear they shared mutual friends. At all times Ms Valentine was acting in the course of her employment and Meagher and her clinic were vicariously liable for the acts and omissions of staff.
On August 7, while socialising at the party, Ms Dillon had heard a third party (Ms Bonnar) disclose to all present details of the medical procedures carried out and the price she had paid for them. This had been discussed loudly in a room full of Dillon’s acquaintances.
On August 8 Jennifer Valentine had confirmed to her that she had disclosed to her friend, Ms Bonnar, details of the medical treatments and the price Ms Dillon had paid. Ms Meagher had refused to discuss the matter other than on the phone.
Ms Dillon claimed she had suffered personal psychological injury, shame, embarrassment, shock, distress, anxiety and depression. She had been prescribed tranquillisers and recommended to attend counselling and therapy.
She had ceased socialising with the group of acquaintances she knew to have been told about the treatments.