Family seeks damages over blind death

THE family of a two-year-old boy who died after a low-lying window blind cord became wrapped around his neck are suing the fitters of the product for substantial damages.

Solicitors acting on behalf of Shane and Gillian Malley, whose son Arran lost his life in February, have issued the formal proceedings under the Liability for Defective Products Act, 1991.

According to the letters, received by Cork Window Blinds, and Moontime Trading Limited in recent days, the Malleys, from Carrigtwohill in Co Cork, have alleged the death was caused by the firm’s “negligence” and “breach of duty” when fitting the product.

The correspondence has given both companies until October 5 to agree to pay damages to the family as a direct result of the death.

However, should either firm refuse, the letter has warned that the family will contact the Personal Injuries Assessment Board, which could lead to a high-profile and costly court case.

“On February 4 at our client’s home Arran died as a result of asphyxia due to suspension by a ligature, being the cord of a roller window blind, which was manufactured, installed and/or fitted by you, your servants or agents.

“Our instructions are that this accident was caused by your negligence, breach of duty and/or breach of statutory duty,” read the letter from solicitor Tom Coughlan.

A spokesperson for the two firms said while no decision had yet been made, the legal request was being considered.

In July, Cork City Coroners Court returned a verdict of accidental death into the tragedy at the Malley’s home, caused as a result of a low-lying window blind cord.

A series of non-binding recommendations were included in the verdict, including the need for the Government to ensure the implementation of voluntary warning signs on window blind products.

This request is included in existing EU legislation, drawn up in 2004 and updated in February. However, it is not enforced in Ireland.

Solicitors are finalising safety measure recommendations due to be sent to the Minister for Children and the Minister for Local Government.

The recommendations are understood to seek the voluntary measures be changed to mandatory requirements.


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