Woman awarded €30,000 over fall on ‘lumpy humpy’ carpet

Michelle Walsh sought damages after lacerating head on radiator in Dublin apartment

A woman who tripped on a “lumpy humpy” carpet and lacerated her forehead against a radiator, has been awarded €30,000 damages in the Circuit Civil Court.

Judge Terence O'Sullivan told Michelle Walsh (51), of Grand Canal Wharf, South Dock Road, Ringsend, Dublin, that he was holding her one third responsible for the fall and reduced the award by €10,000.

“Litigation always surprises when it gets up and running and no less in this case,” Judge O’Sullivan said when he criticised the evidence of a witness specifically called to attack the credibility of what Ms Walsh had told the court.

Esther Earley, barrister for Ms Walsh, said her client had rented an apartment at Clyde Court, Lansdowne Road, Dublin 4, which was part of the now demolished apartment block attached to the Clyde Court Hotel.

Ms Earley said Ms Walsh had tripped on an area of “lumpy humpy” carpet in her livingroom in May 2014 and struck her head against a rusty valve on a radiator.

Ms Walsh told the court the incident happened shortly after midnight when she was closing a window. She spent nine hours in a hospital emergency department waiting to have her head wound stitched and was left with a scar.

Complaints ignored

She produced a photograph of the radiator she had fallen against and claimed that, although she had never complained about the carpet, numerous complaints about the apartment had been ignored.

Ms Walsh sued estate agents Ed Dempsey and Associates, Clonskeagh, Co Dublin; Tullane Business Management Limited, Sandyford Industrial Estate, and Dalata Hotel Group Limited, Burton Hall Drive, Sandyford.

Judge O'Sullivan told Andrew Whelan, barrister for the estate agents, that his client had no case to meet and was dismissed from the proceedings with an order for their costs.

Holding the second and third defendants liable for Ms Walsh’s €60,000 damages claim, the judge said the defendants had called former maintenance man Damien McCabe to challenge Ms Walsh’s evidence.

He said Mr McCabe had produced his own photograph of the radiator and floor carpet which turned out to be a picture of a completely different radiator in a room with a different carpet design.

“He is a completely unreliable witness,” Judge O’Sullivan said.

The judge paid tribute “to the perspicacity” of Ms Earley in so quickly catching on to the difference in the photographs.

Judge O'Sullivan refused a stay on his order to facilitate consideration by the defendants of an appeal to the High Court.