A 23-year-old design student, whose nose was broken when a box fell while she was working in a “dangerous” stockroom in a Dunnes Stores outlet, has been awarded €35,000 damages in the Circuit Civil Court.
Judge Sarah Berkeley said she was satisfied the container system used to stock goods on pallets at Dunnes Stores, Swan Shopping Centre, Rathmines, Dublin, could be described as temporary, as it lacked shelving and racking.
The judge said she was satisfied that Yana Shmatova had only worked in the store for four weeks by November 17, 2013, when a box of cereal packets fell on her nose.
Ms Shmatova, of Deer Park, Newbridge, Co Kildare, told the court she had been lifting a container of soya milk packs in the stockroom when the heavy box above her fell.
She said she had assessed the stockroom visually before lifting the container of soya milk and had decided it was safe to do so.
She told her barrister, Barney Quirke,
she had suffered a fracture to her nose and had undergone surgery to reduce a deviation. She said the operation had been successful but she still suffered pain and discomfort occasionally. She was
considering a rhinoplasty procedure, the court heard.
Dunnes Stores had denied liability and claimed Ms Shmatova failed to take reasonable care for her own safety and had failed to notice the box above her.
Barry Tennyson, a forensic engineer who inspected the stockroom, said that, unusually, it lacked racking and shelving, and was a dangerous and very congested area, with goods stacked in a haphazard fashion.
Judge Berkeley, awarding Ms Shmatova €35,000 damages, said she was satisfied Dunnes Stores had not carried out a proper risk assessment of the stockroom.
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