Five people sue for damages after hotel lift plummets three floors

Group alleges hotel lift came apart while they were inside due to impact, court hears

The group alleges the side panels came loose, the false ceiling fell down and the mirrors shattered. File photograph: Chris Maddaloni/Collins

The group alleges the side panels came loose, the false ceiling fell down and the mirrors shattered. File photograph: Chris Maddaloni/Collins

 

Five people who were in a lift in a Co Kerry hotel when it plummeted three floors to the ground have sued for damages.

They allege a lift at the Killarney Plaza Hotel buckled under the impact of the crash on July 9th, 2011, the side panels came loose, the false ceiling fell down and the mirrors shattered, showering the occupants with glass.

Those who had earlier entered the lift in the hotel car park to make their way back to their rooms after attending a wedding ceremony were unable to contact the hotel staff by the lift phone or mobile phone, it is also claimed.

However, a member of staff heard the crash, and the emergency services were alerted.

Barney Quirke SC, for the five, told the High Court on Tuesday the actions arose when the lift failed to dock at the intended floor and “tragically plummeted” three floors to the basement. The five have suffered devastating consequences of their injuries and it has affected the wider Meehan family, he said

The actions are by Garda Sergeant Andrew Meehan and his wife Patricia O’Leary, also a Garda Sergeant, of Co Meath; Sgt Meehan’s brothers Kevin and Paul Meehan and Jennie Wong. They have 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, and Kilell Ltd, both of Kilmurry, Co Waterford; Otis Ltd, Naas Road Business Park, Dublin and Otis Elevator Ireland Ltd of the same address; and lift manufacturer Daldoss Elevetronic Spa, of Valsugana, Italy.

The five had checked into the hotel and later attended a wedding away from the premises. On returning to the hotel in the early afternoon, it is claimed the party got into the lift at the car park, which failed to stop at the intended floor and plummeted into the basement, causing significant injuries.

It is claimed there was failure to ensure the intended pathway from the car park was safe and free from hazard and failure to install a proper functioning lift from the car park to the hotel.

The claims are denied.

Mr Justice Michael Hanna was told the Meehan side wanted to start with the case of Ms O’Leary, who had to be cut from the lift by emergency services.

She suffered a fractured leg, ankle, knee and chest injuries, now has to use a spinal cord stimulator and is in significant pain, counsel said.

Mr Justice Hanna granted the parties until Wednesday morning to enter into talks to see if the five cases can be progressed.