Tuesday 17 July 2018

Woman whose hands were scalded while filling a teapot in restaurant loses €38,000 damages claim

Court heard how Paula Gallagher had made 10 personal injury claims over 10 years

Paula Gallagher (63) leaving the Four Courts Photo: Collins Photos
Paula Gallagher (63) leaving the Four Courts Photo: Collins Photos

Ray Managh

A 63-year-old Dublin housewife, whose hands were scalded as she filled a teapot in a city restaurant, has lost a €38,000 damages claim against Ann’s Bakery, Mary Street, Dublin.

Paula Gallagher, of Avondale House, Northumberland Street, and formerly of Glenpark Close, Palmerstown, told the Circuit Civil Court that on August 8 2012 when she and husband Paul were in the restaurant she “picked up two old and shabby tea pots” in order to fill them and have tea with their breakfast.

Gallagher, who agreed with barrister Conor Kearney, counsel for Ray McNamara who trades as Ann’s Bakery, that she had made 10 personal injury claims over 10 years, said the lid of one of the pots had fallen closed as she pulled a lever releasing boiling water.

“The boiling water splashed all over my hands and stomach and I just screamed,” she told the court.

She said her wounds had been creamed by a member of staff before she left the restaurant. 

Ms Gallagher also claimed €10 for the breakfast she was unable to have and which her husband had paid for.

Mr Kearney, who appeared with Stephen MacKenzie Solicitors, put a number of previous claims to Gallagher who agreed she had obtained settlements and awards ranging from €4,000 to €19,000, including payments of €8,000 and €10,000.

He told the court Ms Gallagher had disclosed seven claims she had made previously but had not made any mention of three others.

A member of the restaurant staff told Judge Jacqueline Linnane she had seen Ms Gallagher pour boiling water over a tea pot with the lid closed.  “She tried to fill the teapot with the lid closed,” she said.

Judge Linnane said that having heard the evidence she was of the view that the defendant restaurant had no case to answer.

The judge said Ms Gallagher had given conflicted answers to Mr Kearney’s questions and had corrected herself a number of times.

“She was not a very creditable witness at all,” Judge Linnane said. “She seems to think that whenever she has any sort of injury that somebody has to pay for it.  Perhaps because she has had a number of cases she thinks that in every case she will get compensation.”

Judge Linnane dismissed her claim and directed that she pay the defendants costs, stating Ms Gallagher had been specific enough in her claim against Mr McNamara as to include the €10 cost of her breakfast.

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