€17k for baby ‘marked’ by elastic on designer pants

A 10-week-old child, whose thighs were allegedly scarred because of overly thick elastic in a baby pants, has been awarded more than €17,000 damages against designer label Ralph Lauren.

Fiona Crawford, counsel for five-year-old Amelia Duhy, told the Circuit Civil Court the pants were bought by a friend in Brown Thomas’s Dublin store for Amelia following her birth in April 2010.

It was while on holidays 10 weeks later with parents Julie and Robert Duhy, she was dressed in the new pink dress and pants combination — in which she became very agitated after several hours.

Ms Crawford, with Patrick Geaney solicitors, for Amelia and her mother, of Avenue One, Yellowbatter, Drogheda, Co Louth, said that when the child was being prepared for bed that evening her mother noticed red marks on her baby’s outer thighs.

On returning from holiday, Ms Duhy brought Amelia to her GP, Dr Mary Behan, who referred her to consultant plastic and reconstructive surgeon David O’Donovan. Ms Crawford told Circuit Court president Mr Justice Raymond Groarke, that Amelia’s injuries were photographed at the time and several times afterwards until their complete disappearance after two and a half years.

Professor Julian Ellis, a Nottinghamshire expert in the technology of elastic fabrics, forensically examined the pants in early 2012, and found the elastic was twice as powerful as he would recommend even for an adult.

Ms Crawford told the court that plastic surgeon Mr O’Donovan found residual scarring on Amelia’s outer thighs “secondary to a tight constriction band in the area where an elasticated baby-gro might fit against a baby’s skin”.

His report noted the only treatment required for the injuries was massage with Bio oil by the baby’s mother. Three years after the incident the surgeon noted there were no marks and no need for any treatment.

Ms Crawford said the defendants, Ralph Lauren Ireland Limited, delivered a full defence to the claim and liability was in issue. A settlement offer of €17,500 was made and she recommended the court approve it.

She told the court Amelia’s skin, while marked, was never broken. Judge Groarke approved the offer and awarded Amelia and her mother their legal costs.


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