Woman who had kidney removed ordered to pay part of legal bill

Margaret Browne twice declined offers higher than €260,000 awarded to her

Mr Justice Barr said Ms Browne was entitled to her costs up to September 27th, 2016, when the first lodgment was made, but the defendants were entitled to their costs from the following day, September 28th.

Mr Justice Barr said Ms Browne was entitled to her costs up to September 27th, 2016, when the first lodgment was made, but the defendants were entitled to their costs from the following day, September 28th.

 

A woman awarded €260,000 after having a kidney removed due to alleged negligence during surgery has been ordered to pay some of the legal costs of her court action.

Margaret Browne twice declined to avail of cash lodgments in court which turned out to be higher than the €260,000 awarded to her at the end of a trial.

Ms Browne (47), who ran a clothing shop in Waterford, underwent a hysterectomy and oophorectomy operation at Aut Even Hospital in Kilkenny in April 2010.

It was claimed, during the operation, that sutures were inserted into the ureter leading from her bladder into her left kidney causing damage to that kidney which, as a result, had to be removed some years later.

Ms Browne, from Corluddy, Carrigeon, Co Waterford, sued gynaecologist Peter Van Geene, who carried out the operation on April 6th, 2010, and Mount Carmel Medical Group (Kilkenny) Ltd, trading as Aut Even Hospital.

Conceded liability

Before the hearing of the action last October, the defendants conceded liability and the case proceeded only for the purpose of assessing damages.

After Mr Justice Anthony Barr awarded €260,111 damages, he was told the defendants had lodged €450,000 in court last January which Ms Browne could have accepted.

She declined and the trial went ahead.

When the issue of costs returned before Mr Justice Barr on Wednesday, he rejected submissions on behalf of Ms Browne that she was entitled to her costs.

He said she had had two opportunities to accept the lodgment to court made by the defendants.

In September 2016, a lodgment of €280,000 was made and this was increased to €450,000 in January 2017.

Both sums exceeded what the court awarded and she chose not to accept either sum, the judge said.

Entitled to costs

He said she was entitled to her costs up to September 27th, 2016, when the first lodgment was made, but the defendants were entitled to their costs from the following day, September 28th.

From the €450,000, €260,111 will be retained by the court and the balance is to be returned to the defendants, he said.

He directed that, if the sides cannot agree on costs, both sets of costs are to go to taxation.

When the cost sums are ascertained, those costs are to be set off against each other and if there is still a balance of costs to be paid to the defendants, that balance can come from the €260,111, he said.

Whatever remains is to be paid to Ms Browne, he added.

If Ms Browne’s costs exceed those of the defendants, the amount of that excess is to be paid to her by the defendants and the sum of money remaining lodged in court can then be paid out to her, he also said.