Judge rejects €10k offer to 5-year-old

A judge in the Circuit Civil Court has refused to approve a €10,000 settlement offer to a five-year-old boy, who claimed he developed significant respiratory difficulties because of dampness and the unhealthy state of a previous accommodation.

Circuit Court president Mr Justice Raymond Groarke said he feared €10,000 would not be enough to compensate Dawid Szafirowski who now needs to use inhalers.

Barrister Lydia Bunni told the court Dawid was only 16 months old when he suffered severe chest infections and respiratory problems after his family moved to Cherrywood Grove, Clondalkin, Dublin.

Ms Bunni said mould on walls, dampness, and condensation became apparent three months after they moved in on March 7, 2012.

She said the problem was reported to landlords Damien and Natasha Long, and to managing agent Ray Cooke Auctioneers Ltd, but that they failed to take action and the problems persisted.

Judge Groarke heard Dawid attended his GP in October 2012 complaining of respiratory problems, before being transferred to hospital. Following treatment, he needed to use two separate inhalers five times a day.

Ms Bunni said Dawid had no history of lung problems before 2012, but developed a recurrent wheeze that is exacerbated in bad weather. He has improved since his family moved to new accommodation in March 2013.

Through his mother Urszula Szafirowska, of St John’s Wood, Clondalkin, Dawid sued the Longs, of Cherrywood Grove, Clondalkin, and Ray Cooke Auctioneers, of Westward House, Monastery Rd, Clondalkin, for negligence.

It was alleged the accommodation was not fit for human habitation and that the defendants ignored repeated calls and emails from his family while continuing to charge rent.

Ms Bunni said the defendants made a €10,000 settlement offer. She said €15,000 would be a better offer.

Judge Groarke refused the proposed settlement and the case will go to a full trial at a date to be fixed by the Circuit Court office.

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