Court awards €508,000 to man after lift plummeted three floors in Kerry hotel

ireland
Court Awards €508,000 To Man After Lift Plummeted Three Floors In Kerry Hotel
Kevin Meehan (right) and four others were in a lift at the Killarney Plaza Hotel which suddenly dropped to the concrete basement car park. Photo: Collins
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A man who suffered multiple severe injuries when a lift in a Kerry hotel plummeted three floors to the ground has been awarded over €508,000 by the High Court.

Kevin Meehan and four others were in a lift at the Killarney Plaza Hotel which suddenly dropped to the basement car park, which Mr Justice Michael Hanna said “is the stuff of nightmares.”

The judge said he could only imagine the sense of horror of those who observed the scene of mayhem after the accident as the five members of the same extended family were brought in with injuries.

Kevin Meehan ended up with multiple fractures to the spine and knee injuries and was in a wheelchair for three months after the accident.

Wedding ceremony

The 43-year-old is one of five from the extended family including his wife Jennie Wong who sued over the accident as they tried to return to their rooms in the Killarney Plaza Hotel after a wedding ceremony on July 9th, 2011.

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Mr Meehan’s brother Andrew and his sister-in-law Patricia O’Leary from Co Meath previously settled their High Court actions on confidential terms as a result of the lift accident.

Kevin Meehan from Celbridge, Co Kildare sued the hotel owners, Shawcove Ltd with registered offices at Castleisland, Co Kerry and companies involved in installing and maintaining lifts such as Ellickson Engineering Ltd.

It was claimed there was a failure to ensure the intended pathway from the car park was safe and free from hazard. It was claimed that there was a failure to install a proper functioning lift from the car park to the hotel.

The court has previously heard liability was conceded in the case in 2019 and the cases are before the court for assessment of damages only.

Frightening experience

Mr Justice Hanna will now hear the cases of Kevin Meehan’s wife Jennie Wong and his brother Paul Meehan.

In 2017 engineering company Ellickson Engineering Ltd now in receivership was fined €750,000 after it was found guilty at Tralee Circuit Criminal Court.

In his judgement on Wednesday Mr Justice Hanna said there was no doubt Mr Kevin Meehan suffered a frightening experience as he saw an immediate threat not only to his own life but also to his wife’s life.

The judge accepted he suffered flashbacks which decreased over the years, but the accident had a negative impact on his life.

The judge was also satisfied that the case before the Circuit Court where the engineering company was found guilty and fined caused Mr Meehan to relive the “harrowing experience.”

Permanent condition

It was clear Mr Justice Hanna said Mr Meehan’s back injuries were at the severe end of the scale, and he also suffered bilateral injuries to his knees.

The injury to his right knee, the judge said should be viewed as a severe and permanent condition.

Mr Meehan he said was a highly motivated and able man who had returned to work starting with a 12-hour week eight months after the accident.

Mr Justice Hanna said Mr Meehan came across as negative and gloomy as he gave evidence, but there was no doubt he had suffered serious injuries, and he was entitled to be gloomy.

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