Schoolgirl awarded €35k after finger gets trapped in theatre seat

An 11-year-old whose right index finger was trapped in a seat while she attended a play was yesterday awarded €35,000 damages in the Circuit Civil Court.

Barrister John Nolan told the court that, in April 2012, Ellie Cooper had been attending the play with other children at Connolly House, Marino College, Five Lamps, North Strand Road, Dublin.

Ellie, of Bessborough Avenue, North Strand Rd, was sitting on the front row on a chair fixed to the floor when her right hand became trapped between the seat and the hinge mechanism and she injured her finger.

Mr Nolan said Ellie’s finger was bleeding heavily and she was taken by ambulance to the Children’s University Hospital in Dublin. An X-ray had revealed a fracture of the tip of her finger.

Circuit Court president Mr Justice Raymond Groarke heard that Ellie had missed time from school and had experienced difficulties in her everyday life. She had since fully recovered.

Through her father David Cooper, she sued City of Dublin Education Board, of Townhall, Ballsbridge, Dublin and the Five Lamps Arts Festival for negligence.

It was claimed the defendants had failed to provide seating safe for use by children. She alleged they had failed to discover, by way of testing, that there was a movement in the seat which might have caused her hand to become trapped.

Mr Nolan said the defendants had made a €35,000 settlement offer which he recommended on the basis that liability was very much an issue in the case. Judge Groarke approved the offer.


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