A 52-year-old housewife, who fell in a pot-hole and broke her ankle after drinking 10 pints in her local soccer club, has settled a €38,000 damages claim in the Circuit Civil Court. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed in court.
Barrister Conor Bowman, counsel for Pamela Duffy, said she had organised a 50th birthday party for her husband in Tel El Kebir United Football Club and had been leaving the premises at 2 a.m. on 2nd October 2011 when the accident happened.
Mr Bowman said Ms Duffy, of Shanganagh Woods, Shankill, Co Dublin, had been taken to hospital where she had been fitted with a below-knee plaster of paris back slab to her right leg.
He said St Vincents Hospital Emergency Department had provided her with an ankle walking boot brace and crutches which she had used for six weeks.
Mr Bowman told Judge Jacqueline Linnane that the club had entered a full defence in the case and had pleaded contributory negligence on the basis that Ms Duffy had stated in a replies to particulars document that she had consumed 10 pints of beer.
David Dodd, counsel for the club, told the court that Ms Duffy’s legal team had consented to the defence being amended to include a claim of alleged contributory negligence on the grounds of the number of pints consumed on the night.
He said the club claimed that Ms Duffy was a member and that under the law Ms Duffy’s case would fall if it was found by the court she was a member of the club as club members could not sue themselves.
When Judge Linnane told both sides that the question of Ms Duffy’s membership of the club would have to be determined as a preliminary issue, Mr Bowman said her husband was a member and had at some stage filled in an undated application form for his wife to become a social member.
Mr Bowman said that while her husband had been a member for years Ms Duffy was not a member at the time of the accident.
Mr Dodd told Judge Linnane that Ms Duffy’s husband was an “absolute stalwart” of the club and his wife, who was also a member, frequently used it for social family occasions such as the birthday party she had arranged for her husband and other family functions.
Judge Linnane said the preliminary issue of whether Ms Duffy was or was not a member of the club would have to be decided first and if she found against her on this matter her case would fall.
After a brief adjournment to allow the parties to discuss the point Mr Bowman told the court the case had been settled and could be struck out with no further order.