Woman (22) loses damages against school over injury 13 years ago

Judge dismisses claim and orders each side to pay their own costs

Kellie Gregan (22) of Crescent Gardens, East Wall, Dublin pictured leaving the Four Courts on Tuesday. Photograph:  Collins Courts

Kellie Gregan (22) of Crescent Gardens, East Wall, Dublin pictured leaving the Four Courts on Tuesday. Photograph: Collins Courts

 

A woman who sued her former primary school in Dublin for damages over an arm fracture suffered 13 years ago when she was a schoolgirl playing a ball game has lost her High Court action.

Kellie Gregan, now aged 22, had told the court the accident has left her with three scars on her arm and she only wears long sleeve clothes.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross said the then nine year old girl suffered a nasty injury when she fell over a bench while playing the game bench ball in September 2006. She had not established in her case that it was unreasonable for the school not to have mats on the floor at the bench, he found.

Dismissing the claim and ordering each side to pay their own costs, the judge said Ms Gregan was a truthful and most honourable witness who had not in any way exaggerated her injuries.

Ms Gregan was in third class at St Joseph’s National School, East Wall, Dublin, when the accident happened in 2006. She was playing bench ball where she had to stand on a bench to catch the ball thrown by her teammates.

In evidence, she said she missed the ball and got off the bench to retrieve it but lost her footing as she tried to get back on the bench and fell across it on to the floor. She said a bone in her arm had popped out and there was also blood.

She later had to have three operations to the arm and has been left with three scars. “I don’t show off my arm. I wear a lot of long sleeves,” she said.

Ms Gregan, Crescent Gardens, East Wall, Dublin, sued the board of management of St Joseph’s National School, East Wall as a result of the accident. She alleged it permitted her perform an unreasonably and unnecessarily dangerous act in allowing her to climb or attempt to climb the bench.

She further claimed failure to place around the bench any mats such as would have broken her fall. The school denied the claims and contended the students were playing a different game of dodge ball at the time and that Ms Gregan was not required to stand on a bench.

The school pleaded the plaintiff opted to mount the bench and did so in a careless manner causing injury to herself for which the school was not liable.