Boy sues Dublin Zoo after fracturing teeth trying to see baby elephant

11-year-old awarded €16,000 after slipping on step and hitting mouth on visit to animal park

An 11-year-old boy, who fractured his two front teeth while trying to catch a glimpse of a new baby elephant at Dublin Zoo, has been awarded more than €16,000 damages in the Circuit Civil Court.

Barrister Gerard Humphreys told the court that in April 2015 Luke Manning was in the zoo with his mother Audrey Manning and a group of children when the accident happened.

Mr Humphreys said the zoo had been very busy as children were on their Easter holidays. Luke and his group had gone to the elephants’ area but their view had been obstructed by a large crowd of spectators trying to see the baby elephant.

The court heard that as they were leaving the area, Luke and his group passed viewing seats where they could have a view of the elephants at times. Luke had decided to walk up the steps leading to the seats.


Counsel today told Judge Francis Comerford that as Luke reached the second step his right foot slipped and he fell on his face, his mouth hitting the step.

Judge Comerford heard that Luke’s lips immediately swelled up and blood started to come out of his mouth. Staff had applied first aid to his mouth but it had become apparent that his front teeth had been damaged.

Mr Humphreys said that Luke was taken by his mother to the emergency department of Dublin Dental University Hospital in Lincoln Place where a dressing was applied to his two broken upper front teeth.

The court heard that Luke later underwent extensive treatment to restore his teeth including a composite restoration. A doctor’s report had stated that Luke had made a full recovery.

Through his mother Audrey Manning, of St Eithne Road, Cabra, Dublin, Luke sued the Zoological Society of Ireland for negligence. He alleged the steps had been slippery.

Mr Humphreys said that due to the trauma to his teeth, they may lose nerve vitality over time and a root canal treatment would be required. Luke may also need to have his teeth crowned in the future.

The court heard that due to the immediate care of the zoo staff and Luke’s mother, his damaged teeth had an “extremely favourable” prognosis. Luke had no reported problems or pain from his teeth.

Counsel said the defendant had made a €16,270 settlement offer and he recommended its acceptance to the court. Judge Comerford approved it.