A hotel waitress who injured her hand after a glass jug she was filling shattered has been awarded €500,000 by the High Court. Mr Justice Kevin Cross found Sophie Caillaud had suffered a very significant injury which had altered her life.

The French woman, who was working as a waitress in the luxury Lough Rynn Hotel in Co Leitrim in December, 2007, sustained a deep laceration to her right thumb which bled profusely and she later had to have an operation and wear a splint.

The award includes €195,000 in special damages to include over €13,000 for an automatic car; €1,000 a year for a weekly €20 wash and blow dry at the hairdressers, and €39 every three months for hair colouring. Over €2,000 per annum has been factored in for six hours home help every week.

Ms Caillaud, aged 42, of Shannon View, Co Leitrim Village, had sued her employer, Lough Rynn Castle Ltd of Elphin, Co Roscommon, which owns the Lough Rynn Hotel at Mohill, Co Leitrim, and two English companies, Bunzl Outsourcing Ltd, Seymour St, London, and Utopia Tableware Ltd, Chesterfield, which produced the jug.

She had told the court “the bottom of the jug exploded” and she suffered a deep laceration at the base of her right thumb. She claims she has been left with a loss of strength in her right hand and could not resume work as a waitress.

There was no no question, the judge said, of contributory negligence against Ms Caillaud and he found hotel management was, or ought to have been, aware of the complaints about breakages and ought to have been put on the alert and removed the jugs as being unsuitable.

The jug suppliers, he said, had supplied the jugs to the hotel as being suitable for use in catering when according to the evidence they were not. Assessing general damages for pain and suffering and into the future at €170,000, Mr Justice Cross said Ms Caillaud was entitled to be compensated for the initial injury and the pain syndrome and carpal tunnel syndrome she suffered later.

He also allowed €135,000 for loss of earnings. On Jim O’Callaghan’s application for the defendants, he granted a stay in the event of appeal provided €300,000 was paid straight away.


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