Schoolgirl (15) who suffered burns after spilling soup on herself loses €60,000 in damages

A 15-year-old schoolgirl, who suffered second degree burns when she spilled soup on herself, has lost a €60,000 damages claim against a Dublin restaurant.

Judge Jacqueline Linnane, as well as dismissing Cora Byrne’s claim for damages, awarded costs of the unsuccessful case against her mother Samantha Byrne, who had taken the proceedings on her daughter’s behalf.

Cora’s mum, of Allingham Street, Pimlico, Dublin 8, told the Circuit Civil Court that she and three members of her family had visited Ann’s Bakery, Mary Street, Dublin, while out shopping on in July 2014.

She said she had bought two cardboard cartons of soup at the delicatessen counter and had placed one of them in front of her daughter, Cora, who was 12 at the time.

The soup had spilled over Cora’s lap who had jumped up screaming and who was forced to pull down her jeans to avoid further burning.

She had been treated by staff at the restaurant which is owned by Ray McNamara who trades as Ann’s Bakery.

Cora told barrister Frank Martin, who appeared with Tormeys Solicitors, for Mr McNamara, that when the soup carton was placed in front of her she had taken off the lid.

She had begun dipping bread in the soup before it toppled over and spilled onto her lap scalding the tops of her legs.

A member of staff had brought put a spray on her thighs to ease the pain and she had been taken to hospital by ambulance immediately afterwards.

Her burns, which had blistered, had been dressed at the hospital where she returned the following day for further treatment.

Mr Martin told the court the case had been narrowed down to the question of the temperature of the soup that had spilled on Cora’s legs.

There was no dispute as to how the incident had occurred as staff had not been involved in what had happened at the table.

Judge Linnane said delicatessen assistant Alice Dunne had been working at the restaurant for the past 20 years and several times a day would check the temperature of the soup.

On this occasion it had been recorded at 74 degrees which, the court had been told, was a comfortable temperature for serving to customers.

The judge, dismissing the case, said the evidence showed that the plaintiff had taken the lid off the soup carton and had knocked it over while dipping her bread in it.

Maura Hurley Solicitors is a personal injury solicitor based in Dublin. 

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