Tuesday 15 October 2019

Man (83) awarded €15k after fall when shopping trolley jammed on travelator

Damages: John Ansell won his case after he was hurt on a travelator at a shopping centre in Clonmel. Picture: Collins
Damages: John Ansell won his case after he was hurt on a travelator at a shopping centre in Clonmel. Picture: Collins

Ray Managh

An 83-year-old man, who was injured in a fall when his shopping trolley jammed on a travelator, has been awarded €15,000 damages.

Judge Sarah Berkeley heard in the Circuit Civil Court that John Ansell had fallen backwards, injuring his neck and shoulder and cutting his left hand when he was on the travelator or moving walkway in the Showgrounds Shopping Centre in Clonmel, Co Tipperary.

Mr Ansell, of Listrolin, Mullinavat, Co Kilkenny, said he had taken a trolley from the Iceland Store in the centre and had gone shopping in several areas.

After finishing and paying for his goods, he had taken the travelator to the second-level car park.

Just as he was about to exit the top of the walkway, his trolley had jammed and he had been unable to free it although the walkway kept moving.

When it released, with the help of other shoppers, it had skewed sideways knocking him backwards and injuring him.

Mr Ansell sued two receivers over the assets of MK 1 Property Investments which included the Showgrounds Shopping Centre; the Showgrounds Management Company; Savills Commercial, which was the centre's management agent; Iceland Stores (Ireland) and Ennis Lifts, now owned by Kone, all with addresses in Dublin where the trial was heard.

Judge Berkeley heard evidence from four experts whose evidence sought to cast blame both on the state of the travellator and the Iceland trolley used by Mr Ansell.

The judge told barrister Robert Fitzpatrick, who appeared with Pearse Mehigan Solicitors for Mr Ansell, that his client had not had any difficulty with the trolley until leaving the travelator and was completely blameless for the accident.


She accepted the evidence of Mr Ansell's wife, Karen, that the shopping centre manager had told her about a similar accident involving an elderly lady on the travelator only a week previous to her husband's fall.

Judge Berkeley criticised the shopping centre's failure to investigate the earlier accident and said the centre had a poor system of recording and investigating incidents.

The judge said that Mr Ansell's accident had been foreseeable.

Awarding Mr Ansell €15,000 damages jointly against the centre owners and Iceland, after accepting the pensioner had fairly disclosed a pre-existing condition with his neck and shoulder, the judge said Ennis Lifts did not have any liability.

Noting that Ennis Lifts had fully complied with its obligations under a maintenance contract, the judge dismissed the claim against them.

Paul O'Neill, who appeared with Shaffrey Solicitors for Ennis Lifts, successfully applied for the company's costs against the other defendants.

Irish Independent

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