Woman settles High Court action after Kerry hotel lift plummeted three floors

ireland
Woman Settles High Court Action After Kerry Hotel Lift Plummeted Three Floors
Jennie Wong (left) was with her husband Kevin Meehan (right) and three members of their extended family in the Killarney Plaza Hotel lift. Photo: Collins Courts.
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A woman who was in a lift in a Kerry hotel which plummeted three floors to the ground has settled her High Court action.

Jennie Wong was with her husband and three members of their extended family in the Killarney Plaza Hotel lift, which suddenly dropped to the concrete underground basement car park ten years ago.

In the High Court this week her husband Kevin Meehan of Celbridge, Co Kildare who suffered multiple injuries in the accident was awarded over €508,000.

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

Remaining case

When Ms Wong’s case came before the court on Thursday, her counsel Barney Quirke SC after further talks in the morning said the case had been settled.

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Mr Justice Michael Hanna congratulated the sides on the settlement and said he will hear the last remaining case, that of Paul Meehan, next week.

Ms Wong from Celbridge, Co Kildare had sued the hotel owners, Shawcove Ltd with registered offices at Castleisland, Co Kerry and companies involved in installing and maintaining lifts Ellickson Engineering Ltd, in receivership of Kilmurry, Waterford; Kilell Ltd also of Kilmurry, Waterford; and Otis Ltd, Naas Road Business Park, Dublin and Otis Elevator Ireland Ltd of the same address, as well as lift components manufacturer Daldoss Elevetronic Spa of Valsugana, Italy.

It was claimed there was a failure to ensure the intended pathway from the car park was safe and free from hazard. And there was a failure, it was also claimed, 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.

'It was like a bomb going off'

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In 2017 engineering company Ellickson Engineering Ltd, now in receivership, was fined €750,000 after it was found guilty at Tralee Circuit Criminal Court of a single breach of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act over the installation of the hotel lift in and around April 2004.

The court previously heard from Ms Wong’s husband Kevin Meehan that in the seconds before it went into free-fall, crashing into the underground basement car park, the lift swayed and felt like it was hanging on a thread.

“There was an extremely loud bang and the lift dropped a foot. It swayed from side to side and it felt like it was hanging on a thread. There was another huge loud bang and it started to freefall," he told Mr Justice Michael Hanna.

He added: “I saw the horror in my wife’s face. The next moment we were thrown to the ground with huge force. There was dust, smoke and glass everywhere. It was like a bomb going off.”

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