A 66-year-old woman, who claimed she had been wrongly accused of not paying for a bucket and mop, today settled her €38,000 damages claim for defamation against Woodies DIY Limited.
Ana Malone, a keen gardener of Inver Road, Cabra, Dublin, told the Circuit Civil Court she had gone to Woodies on Malahide Road, Dublin in October 2012 to buy garden plants and a bucket and mop.
She had been accompanied by her 95-year-old mother and a sister who used a crutch to help her walk. After paying for the goods she had left them beside a counter while she and her sister, Vera, helped their mum out to their car.
Barrister Niall Fitzgibbon, counsel for Ms Malone, said that as a shop assistant carried the pot plants outside Ms Malone returned to collect her bucket and mop and had taken them to the car.
This had led to a till operator remarking that she had “not taken for” the bucket and mop and had resulted in Ms Malone having to return to the store to show her receipt to prove she had paid for them.
Ms Malone said she and her sister had to leave their mother, who suffered from dementia, alone in the car while she presented the receipt and spoke with the manager.
She told Judge Jacqueline Linnane she had been told she had not paid for the items and felt she had been made a spectacle of in front of other shoppers. Afterwards she felt vulnerable and had been treated by her GP.
Eamon Marray, counsel for Woodies, said the case had never been one of alleged shoplifting and was simply a question of a misunderstanding. Staff would tell the court Ms Malone had not been ordered back into the shop or that it had been publicly stated she had failed to pay for any goods.
Mr Fitzgibbon, following an adjournment, told the court the case had been settled and could be struck out with an order for Ms Malone’s legal costs.