Woman who slipped on chip awarded €40,000

A woman who sued after she slipped on a chip in a shopping centre food court has been awarded €40,000 by a High Court judge, writes Ann O'Loughlin.

Lina Misiunaite , Mr Justice Kevin Cross said, was an honest witness and he accepted her account of the fall when she said she fell forwards landing on her left knee as she went to get food for her children at the Liffey Valley shopping centre food court almost three years ago.

The mother of four, the judge said had made no attempt to hide the fact that she had seetted an action for €10,000 aganst Lidl supermarkets after issuing proceedings over a slip and fall in 2013.

The judge rejected any suggestion there was contributory negligence on the part of Ms Misiunaite over a failure to see the chip on the ground and he also rejected the short boots she was wearing with heels were responsible for her fall.

The judge said he accepted the evidence that the floor of the food court could be dangerous if wet or if there was a chip on the floor.

Lina Misiunaite (36)Coldcut Park, Liffey Valley, Palmerstown, Dublin had sued the owners and occupiers of the food court area two UK companies HSBC Alternative Investments Ltd and Grosvenor Limited and Hines Real Estate Ireland Limited, Hogan Place, Dublin and the cleaning company at the food court, Noonan Services Group Ltd , Swords Business Park, Swords, Co Dublin as a result of the fall on November 4, 2014.

She had claimed a chip was allowed to remain on the floor of the food court and there was an alleged failure to warn her of the danger posed by the chip.

She said afterwards she found it difficult to look after her young children and household tasks such as hoovering and lifting hopping bags were difficult.

The claims were denied and Noonan Services Group contended it had a proper cleaning system in place at the food court.

Referring to the cleaning system operated at the food court, Mr Justice Cross said the evidence was there were three cleaners and a security guard in the food court area on the day of the accident and the evidence was this was reasonable. He said the absence of any CCTV footage meant there was no film of the food court area.He found there was a gap of over an hour where there was no cleaner in attendance in that section where the fall occurred and he rejected that the chip was likely to be on the floor for a short period.

As a matter of probability, Mr Justice Cross said the chip was on the ground for an inordinate time and for over an hour the area where the fall took place was not looked after.

He held all the defendants were jointly liable and he awarded €35,000 for pain and suffering to date and a further €5,000 for pain and suffering in to the future.

The judge awarded costs on the Circuit Court scale and on the application of the defendants granted a stay on the award for 28 days in the event of an appeal.

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