Irish Court Awards €20,000 Damages To Woman Who Bumped Knee On Restaurant Table

440px-TablebasicstructureHairdresser 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.

54 thoughts on “Irish Court Awards €20,000 Damages To Woman Who Bumped Knee On Restaurant Table

  1. We’ve become far too soft in our civil society existence. Send this woman out to live in nature and give her some perspective on the dangers of getting a meal.

  2. Using the logic in this case, I should have been able to sue my spouse and her homeowner’s insurance countless times over because of banging my leg on her sofa end-tables. I would be a millionaire by now!

    Speaking of which, has anybody researched the plaintiff O’Connor to find out if she sues for a living?

  3. Awfully close to April 1st, if you catch my drift. And this in Ireland, not the US, where it might be believable in say, Miami-Dade.

  4. Many thanks for he diagram of a table at the start of this post! It clarifies several points that might otherwise be ambiguous to the casual diner. It has a “table top” and sides and four legs and four very sharp corners. Then, the transitional lines between the “table top” and the sides -that is- between the four corners, present a sharp topology to consider. Then the four legs. And all of this, all of it, out to get you in any way it can.

    A quick 20 or 30 minute seminar for all guests at the door before they enter, with a black board and chalk, or maybe a movie, would probably cover at least 3 or 4 % of the possible pit falls between the door and the assigned table and seats. Then, once safely seated and checked by the medical staff and the built in X ray machine in the table for any mishaps, a presentation of the dangers of forks and, shudder, knives and -oh dear lord- glasses – not to mention the dangers of swallowing one’s napkin, and then not trying to dive into the finger bowl (which, no, is NOT soup) could be launched into. By the wee hours of the morning, the guests could slowly begin to reverse the process in an attempt to leave the Restaurant safely with no more accident than when they came in.

    The only thing missing would be the meal itself, but then given the time constraints, you can’t reasonably expect the moon AND the sun now, can you? And anyway, think of explaining swallowing only after 100 full chews. Some people cheat at 99 and would blame the restaurant without proper signage!!! And how they shouldn’t swim for at least half an hour after the meal. And on and on. It’s endless. The risks are greater than the threads in the table cloths.

    So really, just from the table diagram alone, we should be able to extrapolate that opening a restaurant AND taking in customers is only done if you are stark raving mad. And insane to boot.

    • Brooklin – you should have posted a warning in the requisite 3 languages that your comment would be funny. I was eating a snack and it almost came out my nose reading it. Sue!

        • Or maybe that’s Lucy who says, “Good Grief, Charlie Brown.”

          Anyway, if I had a room full of ravenous tables, just waiting for a human delicacy to arrive, I’d bloody well cover them up with table cloths from tip to toe as well. Otherwise, no one in his or her right mind would so much as put their toe inside the restaurant, never mind actually sit down at one of these lethal beasts.

  5. Was the leg in some strange place, like in the center of the table directly in front of where she sat? Or was it a conventional 4 legged table as in the diagram above?

    What did she think held up the table? Wizards? That’s just a basic thing when you sit at the short end of the table. You slide in carefully. She could just as easily have smashed her kneecaps on someone else’s knees.

    Sometimes, people just get hurt doing mundane things. They need to laugh it off, see their doctor, and move on.

  6. I cleaned rooms in a cathouse in East Saint Louis back in the old days. A Nun was hired to work as a hooker and did so anonymously. She got the clap. She sued the owner of the cathouse for damages. The case was settled and she went back to being a Nun and taught at a Catholic grade school. I told the story to my friends on April 1st.

  7. A nun comes down for breakfast. She yawns and says to mother superior, I think I Got up out of the wrong side of The bed. Mother superior says, “I’ll say you did, you’ve got Father Flanagan shoes on”!

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