Woman awarded damages against Dunnes over fridge fall

Student crushed wrist in door and used scribe to complete college exams

A 27-year-old hospitality worker, who needed to use a scribe to complete her college exams after crushing her right wrist in a fridge door, has been awarded damages against Dunnes Stores in the Circuit Civil Court.

Alison Leavey told the court that in May 2010, she had been working in Dunnes Stores, Portmarnock, Co Dublin and had gone to get a box of doughnuts in the bakery walk-in fridge.

Ms Leavey told her barrister, Jim McArdle, that she had been leaving the fridge, holding the sliding door with her right hand while carrying the box in her left, when she slipped on a puddle of water and fell.

Her body had landed outside the fridge and her right wrist was crushed when the door closed back on it. She had felt immediate pain in her wrist which became swollen.

She told the court that “everyone, including me, knew the floor was always wet in the fridge because of a leaking pipe.” She said she had to be careful when walking in the fridge but the store had been busy that day.

Ms Leavey, of Onward Close, Portmarnock, had been attended by staff before being taken to the accident and emergency department at Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, where Xx-rays showed no fracture.

Mr McArdle told Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke that Ms Leavey, who was studying hospitality at the time, suffered soft tissue injuries and had been obliged to use a scribe to complete her final exams.

Dunnes Stores had denied negligence and claimed no leak had been reported.

Judge Groarke, awarding her €15,000 damages and costs, said he found Ms Leavey to be an honest and compelling witness and was satisfied there had been moisture on the floor.

He said she had felt discomfort in her wrist for several months and had experienced difficulty while lifting objects and cutting with a knife.