Woman settles case over council house ceiling collapse
Janette Lakes claimed Fingal County Council failed to repair a leak in an upstairs toilet
Janette Lakes claimed Fingal County Council failed to repair a leak in an upstairs toilet before a ceiling allegedly collapsed on her.
A woman who claimed she was injured when a ceiling in her Co Dublin council house came “bursting in on top of” her 10 years ago, has settled a High Court action.
Janette Lakes (56), a mother of six, told the High Court during her action against Fingal County Council that she was carrying two cups of tea from her kitchen to the sitting room when the incident happened in her home on Dromheath Avenue, Blanchardstown on May 15th, 2008.
She claimed there was a leak in an upstairs toilet and that the council failed to properly repair the premises.
“My son, who was there, said a corner of the ceiling must have hit me on the head, My clothes were soaked, the cups were smashed,” she told Mr Justice Michael Hanna. “I could not get up from the floor. I was covered in plaster. I was in a puddle of water.”
Ms Lakes claimed she had headaches afterwards, and later experienced blackouts.
Mr Justice Hanna was told on Thursday, the second day of the action, that the case had been settled and could be struck out with no order on costs.
‘Dry as a bone’
On Wednesday, Thomas P Hogan SC, for the council, had put it to Ms Lakes that in photographs taken by her son after the ceiling collapse the floor was “dry as a bone”. She said it was not dry when the celing came down.
Asked by Mr Hogan where the water had gone, Ms Lakes replied: “I don’t know”.
Asked by counsel who damaged the ceiling, Ms Lakes said it was damaged over the years as a result of the council not fixing leaks.
Mr Justice Hanna remarked that the floor did not not look wet in the photographs seen in court. Ms Lakes replied: “I am not saying it was soaking.”
She alleged that water leaked through the ceiling which it was claimed was insecure and eventually collapsed.
It was further claimed the council allowed the house to fall into an unsafe condition due to a failure to maintain it or carry out repairs.
The council denied the claims and contended there was contributory negligence on the part of Ms Lakes and an alleged failure on her part to take any, or any proper, care of the premises.