A district court judge has refused an application from retailer Aldi not to be identified in a case where two children fell sick, after consuming a contaminated custard yogurt purchased at one of its stores.
Judge Patrick Durcan, sitting at Ennis District Court, said: “This is the kind of argument that Mr Volkswagen would love to hear.”
Last year, the German retailer had generated in Ireland and the UK alone revenues of £6.89bn (€9.5bn) and recorded pre-tax profits of £250.6m. It had announced this week plans to provide an additional 400 jobs here in line with its expansion in Ireland.
However, in the case before Ennis court yesterday, it emerged Chloe Connors, 9, and her sister Julie Connors, 8, fell ill in November 2013 after consuming a pot of custard dessert purchased at Aldi’s store in Ennis.
The sisters were suing Aldi Stores Ireland Ltd and Ldh (La Doria) Ltd.
Solicitor James Shanahan told the court Chloe Connors “fell violently ill” after consuming the custard dessert and vomited three or four times during the night.
He said lab tests of the yoghurt detected a mould, pellicile, in the liquid.
In the case, Judge Durcan approved a joint Personal Injuries Assessment Board payout to the pair of €4,374, including costs.
Approving the payout — made up of two €1,500 to each child plus costs — Judge Durcan described the offer as ‘most generous’ and said the two “were doing very well in the circumstances”.
However, Judge Durcan refused an application from counsel for Aldi, Niamh O’Donnabhain BL not to name Aldi in the case.
Ms O’Donnabhain said: “In this case, liability between the first and second named defendant is a live issue and, as a result of that, I would plead that there wouldn’t be any publication in the matter.”
She said “liability has not been dealt with — it is an assessment”.
In reply, Judge Durcan said that there is a constitutional imperative that justice be administered in public.
However, in reply, Ms O’Donnabhain said the balance favours that there would not be any untoward prejudice in the case.
She said: “I would submit to the court there need not be any other adverse consequences as a result of publication.”
Judge Durcan stated: “This is the kind of argument that Mr Volkswagen would love to hear.”
Ms O’Donnabhain replied: “On Volkswagen, there is a very different factual matrix in relation to the liability in that case, liability could not be disputed or defended in that case.”
However, Judge Durcan said he was not going to concede to Aldi’s application and ruled the firm could be named in the reporting of the case.
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