Saturday 16 December 2017

'Unlucky' woman who slipped on chip in Dublin shopping centre awarded €40k

Lina Misiunaite Picture: Collins
Lina Misiunaite Picture: Collins
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

A WOMAN has been awarded €40,000 by the High Court after she slipped on a chip in the food court area of the Liffey Valley Shopping Centre in Dublin.

Mother-of-four, Lina Misiunaite, said her ankle went over and she fell forward injuring her knee as she walked through the food court over two years ago.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross said Ms Misiunaite was an honest witness and he accepted her account of the fall which occurred when she went to get food for her children.

She made no attempt to hide the fact that she had settled an action for €10,000 against Lidl supermarkets after issuing proceedings over a slip and fall in 2013, he said.

The judge rejected any suggestion there was contributory negligence on her part over a failure to see the chip.

He also rejected the argument that the short boots with heels she was wearing were responsible for her fall.

Lina Misiunaite, of Coldcut Park, Liffey Valley, Palmerstown, Dublin pictured leaving the Four Courts after the opening day of her High Court action for damages. Pic: Collins Court
Lina Misiunaite, of Coldcut Park, Liffey Valley, Palmerstown, Dublin pictured leaving the Four Courts after the opening day of her High Court action for damages. Pic: Collins Court

The judge accepted the evidence that the floor of the food court could be dangerous if wet or if there was a chip on the floor.

Ms Misiunaite (36) Coldcut Park, Liffey Valley, Palmerstown, Dublin, sued the owners of the food court, HSBC Alternative  Investments Ltd and Grosvenor Limited, both UK registered, and Hines Real Estate Ireland Limited, Hogan Place, Dublin.

She also sued food court cleaning company, Noonan Services Group Ltd , Swords Business Park, Swords, Co Dublin, as a result of the fall on November 4, 2014.

She claimed a chip was allowed to remain on the floor of the food court and there was an  alleged failure to warn her of the danger posed by the chip.

She said afterwards she found it difficult to look after her young children and do household tasks such as vacuuming.  Lifting shopping bags was also difficult, he said.

The claims were denied.

Noonan Services Group also contended it had a proper cleaning system in place at the food court.

The court heard Ms Ms Misiunaite was shocked afterwards and was taken to an ambulance in a wheelchair.

She said her ankle injury cleared up within eight weeks but she was on anti-inflammatories for three months for her knee.

Under cross examination by counsel for the cleaning company, Ms Misiunaite agreed she had settled a claim against Lidl for €10,000 after she sued in relation to a  slip and fall in February 2013.

She agreed that she had hurt the same knee in that accident.

It was put to her that she also was also in the past involved in a road traffic accident.

"I am unlucky, " she replied.

In his decision, Mr Justice Cross said there was evidence there were three  cleaners and a security guard in the food court area on the day of the accident and the evidence was this was reasonable.

He said the absence of any CCTV footage meant there was no film of the food court area.

He found there was a gap of over an hour where there was no cleaner in attendance in that section where the fall occurred.

He rejected the case that the chip was likely to be on the floor for a short period.

As a matter of probability, he said, it was on the ground for an inordinate time.

He held all the defendants were jointly liable and he awarded €35,000 for pain and suffering to date and a further €5,000 for pain and suffering in to the future.

He granted a stay on the award for 28 days in the event of an appeal.

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