The High Court has awarded some €160,000 to a Dunnes Stores worker who dislocated her ankle after falling from a ladder while arranging supermarket shelves four years ago.
Judge Michael Hanna accepted Gunta Kadege’s testimony that she had reached the second rung of the ladder when she became unstable.
On Ms Kadege’s side, it was argued that the ladder at the Leopardstown store was faulty and that it moved one way and went the other and fell.
Dunnes Stores had disputed Ms Kadege’s version of events and claimed she had tripped over the ladder while walking past.
Judge Michael Hanna said there was also debate regarding the CCTV on the day of the accident and he preferred the view of the plaintiff’s engineer, who supported his account of the accident.
Mrs. Kadege was using a light household ladder and there was significant oscillation which was sufficient to cause the accident. There was no suggestion Ms Kadege was doing anything dangerous, the judge said.
The accident was caused by the frame, which had come loose, and there was no evidence of inspection or ladder risk assessment.
This, the judge said, was the cause of the accident and Ms Kadege was using a ladder which was simply not suitable for the task.
Judge Hanna also noted that the medical evidence indicated that Ms. Kadege’s injuries were consistent with a fall from a ladder and he concluded that Ms. Kadege was an honest person.
Gunta Kadege (55) of Butlersgrange, Tullow, Co Carlow had sued her then employer Dunnes Stores over the accident on September 20, 2018 in which she suffered a dislocating fracture to her ankle.
She required surgery and said she remained extremely limited in all of her recreational and social activities due to her injury. She had moved to a different section of the supermarket, but was later made redundant from Dunnes Stores.
It was alleged that the ladder used by Ms Kadege was allegedly faulty and that there had been an alleged failure by testing or inspection to find that the ladder was unfit for use.
Dunnes Stores denied all the claims and argued Ms Kadege had in fact tripped over the ladder.
Judge Hanna said Ms Kadege was doing her job as it should and could not be faulted for doing it with zeal.
He said she had been on the ground for a very prolonged period as they waited for an ambulance and during this time a statement was taken from her and she said she was on the ladder when the accident happened.
Judge Hanna assessed a total of €120,000 in damages and also awarded €40,961 in special damages.
Dunnes Stores solicitor Hugh Mohan SC said he intended to appeal and asked for a stay.
Judge Hanna granted a partial stay, providing that one-third of the award was to be paid.