A 33-year-old airport worker, who tripped over a centuries-old “jostle stone” after exiting a pub in Dublin’s Temple Bar, has lost a €60,000 personal injuries claim against the pub and the city council and will have to pay the legal costs of both defendants.
Janice Brazil, who described herself as a passenger service agent, told Judge Jacqueline Linnane in the Circuit Civil Court that she had a few drinks with friends in February 2015 and tripped over “an invisible stone” outside the Temple Bar Inn.
The court heard the stone was a protected structure under the planning acts and had been placed hundreds of years ago at the corner of the pub to prevent the steel-rimmed wheels of carts gouging lumps of brick and plaster out of the walls.
Frank Martin, counsel for Temple Inns, told the court that in years gone by horse-drawn carts were used in the narrow streets of Temple Bar to deliver barrels of beer to pubs in the area and such stones were used to jostle the wheels away from the walls of houses as the carts rounded sharp corners.
Ms Brazil, of Sean Tracey House, Buckingham Street, Dublin 1, said her accident occurred about 1.30am after she had four drinks in the Norseman Pub and had left with friends to visit The Temple Bar Inn across the street. It was closing and when her group turned to walk away she had tripped over the stone which was invisible to her.
She said she had injured her right arm and had suffered with severe pain and bruising for six weeks following the fall. While she had no pain now she sometimes suffered discomfort in her arm.
Ms Brazil told Mr Martin, who appeared with O’Hanrahan Solicitors, that she was big into personal fitness and fashion and had posted pictures of her bruised arm on line.
Andrea Walsh said she had been with Ms Brazil at the time and she saw her screaming with pain on the footpath after her fall.
John Doherty, counsel for Dublin City Council, said the stone was part of the premises of the Temple Bar Inn and his client had based its defence on the fact it had no liability for any alleged accident.
Judge Linnane said it had been accepted by all parties that the jostle stone or wheel guard was, like the Temple Bar Inn itself, a protected structure in the area and had been there for many years. Ms Brazil had stated the stone was invisible.
The judge said the manager of the pub for the last 28 years had given evidence that there had never been a complaint about the stone in the time he had been working there.
Judge Linnane said:
“Now nearly five years after the accident she is complaining of some discomfort.”
The judge said the stone was visible to anyone who was watching where they were going and there was an obligation on people to look where they were walking.
“Ms Brazil is the author of her own misfortune and I dismiss the case with costs against her to both defendants,” she said.
Judge Linnane said there seemed to be an attitude abroad that if somebody suffered an injury such as in this case someone was to blame and there would be compensation.
“Someone suffering an injury does not necessarily mean they will get compensation. They have to prove liability against a defendant,” the judge said.