Posted: August 20th, 2020A woman who experienced a fall while crossing the garage forecourt holding some groceries has been awarded €71,770 personal injury compensation at the High Court. The woman, Mary Delaney from Kilkenny, broke her two front teeth and fractured her ankle in the accident that occurred when she stubbed her toe on a lip of tarmacadam and fell to the ground. Justice Bronagh O’Hanlon delivered a ruling that the accident would not have taken place but for inadequate workmanship. It was stated that the use of an excessive depth of material in a patched area had led to an uneven surface with a 14 millimetre height difference that represented a tripping hazard to customers. The compensation action was submitted against Circle K Ireland Energy Group Ltd, formerly Topaz in relation to the pain and suffering that she sustained in the incident that took place on May 20, 2017. Ms Delaney informed the court that she was wearing a pair of shoes that had black laces when the fall occurred. The Judge was advised that Ms Delaney’s face was ‘black and blue’ after the fall and she could only consume liquids through a straw for a period of six months due to the extent of her injuries. As a result of the ankle injury she lacks complete freedom of movement and is stricken with a lack of movement. For the broken teeth she had to attend for orthodontic treatment on nine separate occasions to have her ailments addressed. Circle K, the defendant in the court case, counter claimed that the differed in the gradient of the forecourt was actually a gradual rise and not ‘lipped’ as had been alleged. The Judge said that Ms Delaney came across as a credible witness and a ‘a reasonable person’ who did not seek to make more of the injuries in any manner. Judge O’Hanlon said: “It is reasonably foreseeable that a person such as Ms Delaney would suffer such an accident in these circumstances as there was a lack of reasonable care in the reinstatement of the pavement”. Accepting that this was “an acrimonious case”, Ms Justice O’Hanlon granted Circle K’s application for a stay in the event of an appeal as long as €35,000 compensation and legal expensesare paid out to Ms Delaney immediately.
Posted: June 25th, 2020
On Wednesday German drugs and pesticides producer Bayer, agreed to settle thousands of US-based legal actions taken in connection with users of weedkiller RoundUp developing cancer, for $10.9bn.
This move comes follow year-long extensive talks.
The legal action submitted claimed that RoundUp caused the development of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other cancers in some users. Bayer has always dismissed allegations that RoundUp or its active ingredient glyphosate can lead to the development of cancer. This dismissal was based on numerous independent studies showing that the weedkiller is safe for human use.
When it purchased Monsanto in 2018, Bayer took over responsibility for the claims. This settlement does not include three cases that have already gone to trial. Shareholders in the group gave their approval to how the claims were being handled in April.
Bayer chief executive Werner Baumann released a statement which said: “The Roundup settlement is the right action at the right time for Bayer to bring a long period of uncertainty to an end. It is financially reasonable when viewed against the significant financial risks of continued, multiyear litigation and the related impacts to our reputation and to our business. The decision to resolve the Roundup litigation enables us to focus fully on the critical supply of healthcare and food. It will also return the conversation about the safety and utility of glyphosate-based herbicides to the scientific and regulatory arena and to the full body of science.”
A statement was also released by settlement mediator Ken Feinberg confirming some 25,000 claims remain unsettled. He said: “Bayer wisely decided to settle the litigation rather than roll the dice in American court.”
He added: “I predict all the remaining cases will settle within a few months. People are going to want their share of this settlement.”
$5bn of the settlement must be paid this year and the same figure is due to be transferred to claimants during 2021.
Bayer is believed to be funding the settlement thanks to the the company’s existing free cash flow and the proceeds of the recent sale of its Animal Health portfolio. There were almost 125,000 filed and unfiled claims. The agreed settlement makes up approximately 75% of the claims linked to RoundUp.
Posted: January 6th, 2020
€20,000 Sexual Harassment Compensation has been awarded to a female deli worker who was kissed on the neck against her will and pinched by a male colleague.
Following a Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) hearing the supermarket has been ordered to pay the worker in question €20,000 for distress suffered, and the impact of discrimination and sexual harassment.
The Adjudication Officer Gaye Cunningham said that she found the supermarket. She said that “failed to put appropriate measures in place to stop this harassment and sexual harassment from occurring or to reverse its effects. I am satisfied that these incidents were extremely serious in nature in terms of the impact and effect they had on her personally and her working environment.” In addition to this she ordered that all those within the supermarket group with staff management duties must undergo appropriate training in its policies on harassment, bullying and sexual harassment.
After taking up the position of deli worker in May 2018, the employee told the tribunal that verbal and physical sexual harassment by a male colleague began approximately one month later. The abuse included inappropriate sexual comments about young girls who came into the shop. She claimed that when he was asked to stop, as they were clearly young school girls, he stated that they looked old enough to him.
The complainant gave examples of times where she felt personally endangered. This included when the alleged perpetrator pinned her against or near a fridge and made lewd and sexually suggestive comments to her. She told the tribunal that a manager witnessed some of the behaviour of the alleged perpetrator and when asked to take action, the manager laughed and told the man to stop as the deli worker was from Limerick and she would stab him.
The complainant told the WRC tribunal that she was the focus of almost daily sexual assault or harassment. The woman submitted an official complaint and a second female employee also made an allegation that the man touched her inappropriately. Due to this man was moved to work in the storeroom. However, after a few days there, he went absent due to illness.
At the WRC the deli manager admitted to telling the alleged perpetrator to stop as the complainant was from Limerick and could stab him. However, he said that he thought of this as a joke and did not think the complainant was offended by this.
The store owner said that he put the allegations to the male deli worker in question and he denied them. He (the owner) said that the investigation into the complaints could not be concluded as the former male deli worker had since left the country.
Ms Cunningham ruled that the supermarket not finishing its investigation to be the most egregious flaw in the whole incident.
Posted: December 5th, 2019
A former Facebook content moderator today submitted a legal action to the High Court, which is expected to be followed by more compensation claims for other moderators, due to the psychological trauma he sustained from viewing disturbing and graphic content.
Mr Chris Gray submitted the workplace trauma compensation action, stating that he was expected to view a range of inappropriate content on a daily basis and filter out disturbing content with a 98% accuracy rating. Content that was labelled inappropriate included “various scenes of people dying in different accidents … set to a musical soundtrack. [Gray] had a long argument with the quality point of contact [a senior role] about whether the music meant that the person posting it was ‘celebrating’ or whether it just counted as disturbing content.”
The claimant said that he was traumatized and under an unacceptable amount of stress due to the nature of the content he viewed and his daily work targets. Mr Gray developed He developed difficulty sleeping and said that would regularly wake during the night due to nightmares. He stated: “It took me a year after I left to realise how much I’d been affected by the job. I don’t sleep well, I get in stupid arguments, have trouble focusing.”
Mr Gray, who is being represented by solicitor, Diane Treanor of Coleman Legal Partners, is likely to be the first of a number of content moderators working with CPL Solutions and Facebook to file a compensation claim due to trauma. Ms Treanor said that content moderators based in Berlin and Barcelona have also contacted her firm with an interest in joining a lawsuit. Mr Gray remarked: “If I can get them better working conditions, better care, then that also improves the quality of the content moderation decisions and the impact on society.”
Facebook released a statement which said: “We are committed to providing support for those that review content for Facebook as we recognise that reviewing certain types of content can sometimes be difficult. Everyone who reviews content for Facebook goes through an in-depth, multi-week training program on our Community Standards and has access to extensive psychological support to ensure their wellbeing. This includes 24/7 on-site support with trained practitioners, an on-call service, and access to private healthcare from the first day of employment. We are also employing technical solutions to limit their exposure to graphic material as much as possible. This is an important issue, and we are committed to getting this right.”
UK-based not-for-profit group Foxglove is supporting the court case and Director Cori Crider said: “The reason we’ve got involved is that we think that social media factory floors are unsafe and need to be cleared up. In a decade we’re going to look back on this as we did at meat packing plants at the turn of the century. Facebook’s only going to pay attention to things when they know that they’ve got a typhoon bearing down on them. What I’d like to see is the moderators realising how much power they have if they just organise. Because let’s face it, social media as we know it could not exist without the labour people like Chris provide.”
Posted: September 10th, 2019
€10,200 in constructive dismissal compensation must be paid by to a long-serving Bus Éireann driver after a ruling by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).
Dan Fitzpatrick said that he has been left ‘deeply traumatised’ over the way he was constructively dismissed by the bus company. Mr Fitzpatrick had been working for Bus Eireann for 16 years in the Galway region. The company told him that he would need to step down from his position or face being terminated due to an incident involving an elderly passenger in November 2017.
In the incident in question Mr Fitzpatrick said that he physically escorted an elderly passenger off a Galway city route bus service after an angry exchange between the two and repeated requests from Mr Fitzpatrick for the man to depart the bus. Once the gentleman was off the bus Mr Fitzpatrick got back into his driver’s seat and proceeded to drive off.
The day following the incident, Mr Fitzpatrick was called to his supervisor’s office where he viewed three different CCTV recording of what occurred and was immediately suspended pending a subsequent disciplinary hearing.
If he chose to remain in his position and be fired and he would have no longer have qualified for his €10,000 to €15,000 retirement gratuity. due to this he retired on November 27, 2017, after what he described to the WRC as “a flawed and unfair disciplinary investigation” by Bus Éireann. He then submitted a claim for constructive dismissal under the Unfair Dismissals Act with the WRC.
WRC Adjudication Officer, Ray Flaherty said that Mr Fitzpatrick had no choice but to retire when he was told failure to do so would lead to him not qualifying for his retirement gratuity and referred to the gratuity ultimatum to Mr Fitzpatrick as “unreasonable and unacceptable”.
In his ruling, Mr Flaherty said that comments made to Mr Fitzpatrick by a supervisor that “there is no excuse for this behaviour” in the incident and “you will never work in the company again” backed up Mr Fitzpatrick’s claim that fair process was not followed.
Bus Éireann were not present at the WRC oral hearing but a Bus Éireann representative commented: “Bus Éireann do not comment on individual cases and we have no further comment”.
Posted: August 20th, 2019
The possibility of working conditions and duties leading to the psychological trauma of social media moderators has been highlighted in a BBC documentary.
The report detailed the working experience of Shawn Speaglem who worked as a Facebook content moderator for a third party company Cognizant, based in Florida in the United States. Despite have completed a non-disclosure agreement about his time in the role, Shawn opted to disregard this so he could speak out on the pictures and images that workers have to view due to Facebook’s moderation policies and processes.
He said: “One of my first videos that I remember looking at was two teenagers grabbing an iguana by the tail and they smashed it onto the pavement while a third person was recording it. And the iguana was screaming and the kids just would not stop until the iguana was just pasted on the ground. I’ve seen people put fireworks in a dog’s mouth and duct tape it shut. I’ve seen cannibalism videos, I’ve seen terrorism propaganda videos.”
Shawn told the documentary makers that he has suffered great stress, weight gain and depression due to the content he had to view as part of his expected duties. He said: “I felt like I was a zombie in my seat. It really gets to you because I don’t have that bystander syndrome where I’m OK just watching this suffering and not contributing any way to deter it.”
In Ireland, where the European Union headquarters of many social media platforms are located in Dublin, a legal action is being considered on behalf of moderators in relation to their working conditions. Facebook has faced actions similar to this in the past. In September 2018 Selena Scola, a former content moderator with the company submitted a legal action against the company in relation to the mental effects of the work was had to complete. She claimed that the viewing of disturbing images and videos lead to her developing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during the time that she was employed at the Facebook headquarters in California. Subsequent to this two more former Facebook content moderators issued similar claims and, as a result, Facebook may now face a class-action lawsuit in relation to this issue.
Continual and repeated exposure to harmful content is an unfortunate side effect of the as part a Moderators role. These side effects can lead to psychological injury and traumatic mental damage to the Moderators over time due to the content that they have to view due to the review and publishing policy of the social media platforms that they work for.
Such trauma can have a great impact depending on the actual content witnessed, the provision and availability of proper support mechanisms from employers to allow staff to deal with work-related trauma and work expectations. The latter refers to the level of work and output required to be completed each day. It is the obligation (duty of care) of the employer to ensure that they provide a safe place of work, a safe system of work and to prevent harm to their employees.
Any content moderators who have suffered due to their working conditions, or required outputs, should look after their own health and seek help as soon as possible. it is also advisable to contact an experienced solicitor to ensure that the company is acting with a duty of care to them.
Posted: July 2nd, 2019
A Co Meath garda whose legs were crushed, when a man rammed him with a stolen car and then drove over his legs in August 2015, has been awarded €975,000 workplace assault compensation by the High Court.
At the time of the incident, Garda Ciaran Murrihy was on duty with three other gardaí when he was deliberately crushed by a stolen car into a garda car vehicle. The incident result in him breaking both of his legs.
Patrick McDonagh, the driver of the stolen car, ,was 26 years old at the time and later later pleaded guilty to having caused serious harm to Garda Murrihy. The outcome of the trial was that he was jailed for seven years in February 2016.
At the High Court Judge Michael Twomey was advised by Barrister Conor E Byrne all parties by consent had agreed on a figure of compensation of €975,000 for Garda Murrihy in relation to the accident and the injuries that he received.
Mr Justice Twomey said that he was both with both parties for reaching agreement on the level of compensation without a full hearing, which he said was always the preferable approach in cases like this.
Garda Murrihy and Garda Lucy Wood, who was also injured in the incident, had been on duty at Clonusk Rise, Hamlet Lane, Balbriggan, on August 2015 when they noticed the stolen Citroen Xsara car that had been stolen earlier that day.
The court was informed that Garda Murrihy – of Macetown, Dunshaughlin, Co Meath – had to roll away to so that his legs were not being repeatedly run over.
Judge Twomey approved the settlement and on the application of Ms Needham directed the release of Garda Murrihy’s medical files.
Garda Murrihy said, in a victim impact statement to the criminal court, that he is still haunted by the vision of McDonagh driving the stolen car directly at him. He told the court that he had gone from being a proud garda and active father-of-two to feeling useless. he said: “McDonagh stole my life from me and has left me with so little”.
Posted: June 15th, 2019
A Garda who was injured in a violent struggle with a prisoner has been awarded a €290,000 workplace injury compensation settlement after he sustained a knee injury.
Sergeant Donal Cronin, aged 50, could complete all of his daily work duties due to the knee injury. He also claimed that he was overlooked for a number of promotions due to the injuries. The overall Garda Workplace injury compensation figure awarded to Garda Cronin was €286,630. The incident happened at Limerick Circuit Court on July 9, 2004.
Presiding Judge Justice Bernard Barton was advised that Sergeant Cronin had been successful the examinations required for promotion to the inspector rank with distinction in 2001. Regardless of this was unsuccessful in both rounds of promotion interview board competitions during 2010 and in 2014.
Garda Cronin, the Judge was informed, was appointed to the position of court presenter – a job that he could perform despite the difficulties suffered as a result of his injuries.
Sergeant Cronin’s legal counsel claimed that he was unsuccessful in his bid for promotion on both occasions due to the injuries he sustained. In addition to this the Court was told that Garda Cronin would likely need an operation for a knee replacement in the neat future.
Among those who providing evidence in Court a former chief superintendent who said that the score Sergeant Cronin had reached from the interview board for promotion was excellent but the system was “unfit for purpose” as it did not make take in to account the injuries sustained when an applicant was suffering from a disability.
This claims were argued by a sergeant garda on behalf of the minister for finance and public expenditure. He added that there was no clear thinking to say that the injuries suffered while Garda Cronin was on duty were an obstacle to the promotion to the rank of inspector.
He also said that it was not uncommon for a candidate coming from an administrative post without major operational frontline experience to be given the post of inspector and that said the promotion procedure was heavily policed. The interview board was not given the details of a candidate’s medical records as part of the promotion process – just four of 17 sergeants in the Limerick division were successful in their application for promotion to inspector, two of which were for administrative positions.
A calculated figure for the amount of compensation due to Sergeants Cronin, incorporating future loss of income due to being passed over for promotion of, of €166,630 was submitted to the court. Justice Bernard Barton awarded him (Garda Cronin) another €120,000 in general damages due to the serious injury to his left knee that lead to physical disability and ongoing pain and discomfort he had to deal with
The Judge told the Court said he was satisfied with the award and said that he felt if Sergeant Cronin reapplied for promotion, his injuries would not block a potential “a successful outcome”.
Posted: April 12th, 2019
A convicted burglar, Thomas O’Neill, has been awarded €20,000 bike accident compensation at the High Court after he was involved in a hit and run accident.
47-year-old Mr Thomas O’Neill, who is at this time serving an eight-year sentence for aggravated burglary, told the Judge that that the accident happened on June 18, 2014. Following A day fishing with his son in Swords, he was returning home on his bike when he was knocked off it and hit the ground hard. He commented: “The last thing I remember was feeling the impact and waking up in the ditch on the side of the road.”
Mr O’Neill told the judge that he had been inflicted with a head injury, loss of consciousness for a time and as well as a number of wounds to his face and body. He had refused assistance from a passing taxi driver and made his own way home by bus once he hid his bike in the ditch. He could not recall how his bike subsequently got back to his home. Neither had he any memory of speaking to his Doctor or a nurse who treated him at Beaumont Hospital.
He had gone to the Garda Station to make a statement about the accident. Sergeant Brendan O’Connor informed the Court that Mr O’Neill had been ‘under the influence of an intoxicant’, when he attended the Garda Station to make the statement and was told to return later to complete this. However he had not come back.
Legal counsel for the Motor Insurance Bureau of Ireland (MIBI), Joseph McGettigan SC. accused, Mr O’Neill of fabricating the incident.
He said: “I am suggesting to you that for whatever reason, you have decided to concoct a case involving an untraced motorist, in order to get compensation, and you are here today with a story that just doesn’t add up. It is defying all credibility.
“I am suggesting to you that, whatever happened to you that day, you were not involved in a hit-and-run accident, and you decided to bring proceedings against the bureau without going through any normal channels. You never reported this case to the gardaí.”
Replying to this Mr O’Neill said: “I did report it to the guards.”
Mr O’Neill, the Judge was advised, had 20 previous convictions. However, Judge Hanna told the Court that these previous convictions did not mean he was not entitled to seek compensation for injuries in an accident. The Judge said he believed that the plaintiff was ‘not lying’ and was entitled to be awarded €20,000 inbike accident compensation.
Posted: February 2nd, 2019
A €63,000 Tayto Park accident compensation settlement for a now 16-year-old boy in relation to a fall from a playground slide on August 26, 2013 was approved at the High Court heard.
Seán Kelly was 11-years-old he sustained serious kidney injuries in the incident occurred at Tayto Park, Co. Meath. Judge Garrett Simons was advised that Seán – who lives at Coolkill, Sandyford, Dublin – was told he should be wearing shoe covers to reduce the friction from the slide when he fell in the ‘hazardous’ run-off section, and landed painfully on the side of tubing.
Judge Simons was advised that Seán was ‘doubled up’ due to the pain he was suffering from following the accident. He was administered with first aid before he got sick a few times. After this he was taken to his family’s car and they brought him to his family doctor for further treatment late. His GP referred him to Tallaght Paediatric Emergency Department where an x-ray showed he had a grade two injury to his kidney.
Seán’s was prescribed with a course of antibiotics to treat his kidney injuries he made a full recovery by January 2014.
Seán’s legal counsel Patrick O’Connell SC told the Judge that Tayto Park failed have sufficient supervision in place for the children when they were exiting the slide. Mr O’Connell went on to say that the slide was highly polished and slippery at the run-off area. He also said that the sides of the slide should have been coated with foam or rubber to minimise the chance of injury if a child slipped on it. There was also an allegation that the slide should have been constructed so that users would finish the complete run and not be able to exit it earlier.
Mr O’Connell informed Justice Judge Simons that a playground amusement compensation settlement offer of just under €63,000 had been agreed. Judge Simons gave his approval for the personal injury compensation.