Audrey Hunt (46) awarded €26,000 after owner and estate management company found liable for leakage of water and slimy material


Ray Managh, The Irish Times

A catering assistant who slipped on a wet, slimy footpath has been awarded just over €26,000 damages against a Dublin homeowner and an estate management company.

Audrey Hunt (46), of Shangan Drive, Ballymun, Dublin 9, had also sued Dublin City Council in the Circuit Civil Court, but her case against the local authority was dismissed by Judge James McCourt.

Judge McCourt held Orlaith Keane, with an address at Ailesbury, Shanowen Road, Santry, Dublin 9, and Ailesbury Management Complex, liable for the leakage of water and slimy material onto the footpath on Shanowen Road.

He told barrister Emma Slattery, who appeared for Ms Hunt with Lorna Cranny, of LMC Law, Solicitors, that he accepted the water and slime had oozed through “weep holes” on a retaining wall at the Ailesbury property, and had spread across the footpath.

Ms Slattery said the case had been brought on the basis of nuisance and negligence against all three defendants, and at least two other €60,000 damages claims had already been brought in relation to the same hazard.

Ms Hunt said that in September 2014 she had been out for a walk on Shanowen Road with a friend and had slipped on the slimy surface of the footpath. She had fallen on her side, injuring her left knee.

Forensic engineer Desmond Kirwan Browne told the court the seepage emanated from ground water from the garden at the property behind the retaining wall, running alongside the footpath. The garden was two metres above the level of the footpath. He said to avoid the wet slime, a person would have had to step off the footpath into the line of traffic.

Judge McCourt, awarding Ms Hunt damages of €26,011 against Orlaith Keane and Ailesbury Management Complex, said she had to use crutches for four weeks and had to have two steroid injections to her knee, which was still giving her ongoing niggly issues.

He told barrister John Doherty, for Dublin City Council, that the local authority was entitled to its legal costs against both defendants found liable for compensating Ms Hunt.

Mr Doherty had argued that the council was blameless on the grounds of nonfeasance, not having done anything to the footpath by way of repair or cleaning that could have constituted a hazard. He said the legal authorities were clear on this point and, if necessary, he could produce ”a bucket of law” for the court on the issue.

Ms Slattery had, earlier in the case, said that under the principle of nonfeasance, a local authority could, without blame, leave a hole in a road all the way to the centre of the earth and not do anything about it.

Monday February 27 2023