Hairdresser Annette O’Connor has been awarded for something that has happened to many diners. When O’Connor was shown a table in The Mullingar Park Hotel restaurant, she sat down and hit her knee on the leg of the table. Since the leg was not covered by the table cloth, Justice Mary Faherty upheld the prior damages and increased it to €20,000 and costs for the hidden danger.
O’Connor booked Mother’s Day weekend at The Mullingar Park Hotel with five friends in March 2011. She was shown to their table by the restaurant manager. The manager pulled out her chair and she then sat down and pulled her chair under the table. That caused her knee to hit the table leg. She finished the meal but saw a doctor later. She insisted that knee pain interfered with her work as a hairdresser.
The case turned on liability for hidden dangers and the negligence of not warning O’Connor. It further insisted placing a table cloth to cover the legs was “a reckless or careless and inattentive manner.”
The hotel also argued contributory negligence but the court ruled that it could not be applied to the O’Connor because the restaurant specifically directed her to the table and, so directed, was not expected to make a unilateral investigation of the underside of the table.