A retired health care worker, who suffered nasty and excruciating leg wounds when she walked into an airport luggage trolley she was pushing, has lost a €60,000 damages claim against Dublin Airport and has been told to pay the company’s substantial legal costs.
Judge James McCourt, in dismissing the claim of Anne Hughes, Main Street, Athleague, said he had not heard any evidence to convince him that Dublin's airport operator, DAA, had been negligent in any way towards the Co Roscommon woman, who celebrated her 66th birthday yesterday.
He told defence counsel Shane English that anyone who had heard Ms Hughes’ evidence would feel great sympathy for her, but told her legal team it was impossible to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.
Mr English, who appeared with David Martin of Gore Grimes solicitors for the airport authority, told the Circuit Civil Court she had been pushing a luggage trolley when it suddenly stopped. He said that in order to move the trolley she had to press the brake release on the handle which, if let go, would cause the trolley to instantly stop.
Ms Hughes told Judge McCourt she had struck her left knee and right shin against spurs on the trolley when it had suddenly stopped outside the airport. Her wounds bled but she had wheeled the trolley into the airport before going to the rest room to stem the bleeding injuries with tissue papers.
She had travelled in great pain to Heathrow and then to San Francisco for a family break which had been ruined because of her wounds which had become infected and which she had to have treated at a clinic in California.
Hughes told Mr English she had taken a picture on her phone of a random trolley when she returned to Dublin from San Francisco and a forensic engineer had examined a trolley on her behalf as he was passing through Dublin airport on his holidays.
Mr English said the technical examination on a randomly selected trolley had been carried out without the knowledge or permission of the airport authority and the court was being asked to decide the case on the basis of holiday snaps.
He said that during 2017, when Ms Hughes had her accident, 28 million passengers had passed through the airport without incident relating to a trolley, 40,000 of them on the day she had been injured. Ms Hughes denied she had caused the trolley to stop abruptly by letting go of the brake release.
Judge McCourt said Ms Hughes had suffered nasty and excruciatingly painful injures to her left knee and right shin and he was certain everyone in court would sympathise with her. He had not, however, been presented with a single piece of evidence that would suggest negligence on the part of the airport authority and dismissed the case on the application of Mr English.
“Ms Hughes could not have been more fair, forthright and honest in her testimony. Her case is a genuine one and she suffered genuine injuries,” Judge McCourt said. “From what I have heard there is no case to be met by the Dublin Airport Authority. No evidence of negligence.”
The judge said costs followed the event and he made an order for costs in favour of the airport authority.