Head chef who cut hand while shucking oyster awarded €75,000

High court heard accident at Howth restaurant resulted in chef requiring surgery

Jennifer Donohue, from Kilbarrack, Dublin, pictured leaving the Four Courts   after her High Court action. Photograph: Collins Courts

Jennifer Donohue, from Kilbarrack, Dublin, pictured leaving the Four Courts after her High Court action. Photograph: Collins Courts

 

A head chef who cut her hand as she shucked an oyster in a restaurant has been awarded €75,000 damages by the High Court.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross said Jennifer Donohue, who was opening an oyster with a knife, sustained a very deep laceration to her left hand, later had to have surgery and was in a cast for several weeks.

Ms Donohoe, Mount Olive Road, Kilbarrack, Dublin had sued Dorans On The Pier, West Pier, Howth, Co Dublin, as a result of the accident on November 23rd, 2014.

She claimed failure to ensure there were proper tools or knives available for the specific task of oyster shucking and in failing to supply such a tool to her.

It was further claimed there was a failure to train or supervise adequately or at all the practice of oyster shucking being performed by employees.

Liability was admitted in the case and it was before the court for assessment of damages only.

In his judgment, Mr Justice Cross said Ms Donohue had worked all her life as a chef and was a head chef at the time in the Howth restaurant.

She was cutting up oysters and was holding what was accepted by the defendants as an unsuitable knife when she sliced her left hand. The wound was dressed at a chemist but she later went to hospital and had to have surgery.

The judge said the laceration was a deep one and she needed to have 19 stitches and she was in a cast for four to six weeks.

Ms Donohoe went back to work and later took a job in another establishment as head chef, he noted.

She was well motivated in relation to work, he said.

Her complaints were in relation to lack of sensation around where the injury had been on her left hand and that it reacts to cold weather and she also had difficulty opening and closing buttons.

Ms Donohue was not somebody who exaggerated her injuries, he said.

He granted a stay on his decision providing €50,000 was paid out immediately.