Family who sued over fumes from alleged oil spill on their estate settle court action

Respiratory type problems were caused as a result of heating oil seeping from another property, it was claimed

A Co Limerick family who claimed they suffered respiratory type problems as a result of an alleged leak of kerosene heating oil from another property on their housing estate has settled five different actions at the High Court.

The total settlement sum is believed to be in six figures.

The French family, who lived in The Meadows housing estate at Murroe, Co Limerick, sued over breathing in fumes from an oil spill which they alleged was seeping into their property over a protracted period.

Ms Justice Bronagh O ‘Hanlon was told on Tuesday the two actions by the parents, Graham and Jean French, who now live elsewhere in Co Limerick were settled on confidential terms.

The judge approved settlements totalling €140,000 for the three French children Frederick (11), Oliver (10) and Hannah(8).

Michael J McMahon SC, for the family, said Frederick had had a “miserable time” and even suffered a partial lung collapse.

The family moved into the Meadows estate in 2006 and said they had in March 2011 noticed a bad smell of heating oil in their home and garden.

They moved out of the house and later realised their children had, it was claimed, suffered an excessive number of respiratory problems for four or five years.

It was claimed the smell in 2011 was very excessive and very noticeable and the family had moved out in June that year.

It was their case there had been an oil spill from the other property and the leak was going on over a protracted period.

Frederick, who was born in 2007, had a miserable time and an awful lot of respiratory problems and at one stage doctors thought he might have TB.

Counsel said the boy suffered a partial lung collapse and when the family moved from the house in June 2011 his health improved immediately .

The family have since sold the house and are building their own home in Limerick.

Graham and Jean French and their children had sued David Rice and Louise Murphy, owners of another house on The Meadows, Murroe, Co Limerick.

It was claimed that, on March 10th 2011, oil, kerosene and petroleum hydrocarbons were allegedly allowed to leak or flow from the oil tank and or boiler and heating equipment located on the Rice/Murphy property and to seep onto the French property through drainage pipes and follow the natural fall of the ground between the properties.

It was claimed the oil allegedly contaminated the soil and ground water around the French property and below their foundations and back garden.

They claimed they were caused to breathe in the odours over a protracted period of time and allegedly suffered injuries.

An alleged nuisance had been created by oil escaping on to the French property, it was claimed.

The claims were denied.

Approving the settlements Ms Justice Bronagh O’Hanlon said she appreciated the family had been through a lot but she said “it gets better from now in.”

She wished the French family the best of luck in the future.