An appeal is to be lodged over the €2million award to a couple who sued claiming they were exposed to toxic chemicals after spray insulation was installed in their Donegal home.
Mr Justice Kevin Cross today in the High Court granted a stay on the full award payout and costs in the event of an appeal providing there is a payment of €600,000 made to Patrick and Anita Duffy.
The insulation installer who was found negligent indicated to the court an appeal is to be lodged against the court decision handed down earlier this month. The appeal will centre on the question of liability and the amount of the award.
In his judgement in the case, Mr Justice Kevin Cross had said he had come to the conclusion beyond any doubt whatsoever that Patrick and Anita Duffy sustained “their life-altering serious injuries as a result of exposure to chemicals.” The probable cause, the judge further found, was the foam that had been injected into the roof.
The injuries to the Duffys, Mr Justice Cross found, were caused beyond a reasonable doubt by the exposure to the product as sprayed by the insulation installers.
On the balance of probabilities, the judge found that due to the nature and extent of the Duffys’ injuries it was due to exposure to Isocyanate.
The judge found the insulation foam product itself was “essentially safe” if properly applied with the proper safeguards.
But he found the installer was negligent in failing to advise the Duffys they were required to be out of the house during the spraying and for at least two hours afterwards, and in failing to communicate with them the potential risks and hazards involved in the product if the safeguards were not adhered to.
Patrick Duffy and his wife Anita had sued claiming they were exposed to fumes and toxic chemicals and they and their young daughter had to leave the dream home they had built near the sea in Donegal because they did not feel safe there. The family now live in a mobile home.
The Duffys paid €4,000 to have the insulation installed in their home four years ago.
Patrick and Anita Duffy, (aged 45) Meenderryowern, Annagry, Co. Donegal, had sued Brendan McGee trading as McGee Insulation Services, Largenreach, Downings, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, who was responsible for the installation and the application of spray foam insulation at the family home on February 18, 2016.
They had also sued GMS Insulations Ltd, Legga, Moyne, Co. Longford, which imports and supplies spray foam insulation material.
Mr Justice Cross had previously granted an application to dismiss the case against GMS Insulations Ltd on the basis there was no evidence against GMS.
In court today, Mr Justice Cross granted the stay providing €300,000 each is paid to the Duffys within six weeks. The judge said the Court of Appeal is overburdened with work and it could take a year for the appeal to be heard and decided upon.
The judge said the Duffys needed to get on with their lives and he had to balance matters in relation to both sides.