‘Bouncy castles created by lawyers, run by barristers’, says judge

A senior judge said yesterday that he believes “bouncy castles were created by lawyers and supervised by barristers”.

President of the Circuit Court, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke, made his comment at a case in which he approved a €6,624 award for seven-year-old Aimee Turner, who lost a front tooth in an accident on a bouncy castle in 2010.

In his opening remarks at Ennis Circuit Court, Mr Justice Groarke said: “I think myself that bouncy castles were created by lawyers and supervised by barristers. It does seem to me that they seem to be extraordinary common grounds for difficulty.

“What always astonishes me is, having seen children on these bouncy castles, they are terrifying. How they don’t come out with broken noses and broken teeth and everything else — it is quite astonishing.”

Aimee, of Kilmore, Limerick was suing through her mother, Rachel Cross. Counsel for Aimee, Philip Moloney BL, said Aimee attended an egg hunt at Shannon Development’s Craggaunown pre-historic visitor attraction in Clare on April 2010, when she was aged four and a half.

In the incident, Aimee was struck on the left side of her mouth, traumatising an upper baby incisor tooth.

Two girls who were supervising the bouncy castle they had moved away at the time that Aimee was struck.

Aimee attended her dentist, Eamonn Noonan, within three days of the incident. The tooth had become discoloured due to the trauma suffered in the incident

Aimee was then referred to consultant maxillofacial surgeon Michael Kilbride, who took out the tooth.

Aimee was subsequently examined by Eamon Murphy, who found the discolouration was caused by bleeding into the crown of the tooth that was secondary to the trauma.

Dr Murphy said the tooth was extracted one and a half years prematurely. He found there did not seem to be any permanent damage to the teeth and did not anticipate any further complications arising from the trauma.

Mr Moloney told the court: “There was an older group of children and it was during the change when Aimee fell off the bouncy castle.

He told Judge Groarke the plaintiff may have had difficulties proving liability.

He said: “There was a question mark as to liability. If the case had gone to hearing, we would have had to establish lack of supervision of the bouncy castle and there was potential to be difficulties in that area.

“If the case had full value, it would be worth a little bit more — maybe €7,000 or €8,000.”

Judge Groarke said: “It was a baby tooth, and it is not likely that there will have been permanent damage.”

Judge Groarke approved the award of €6,624 that includes fees and expenses — the amount includes general damages of €5,000.

He said: “It seems to me to be an excellent settlement of the case.”

Addressing Ms Cross and Aimee, he said: “It seems be a very good settlement. I am delighted that you have settled the case.”


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