Family in falling lift incident at Kerry hotel ‘extremely traumatised’

16 June 2021

Liability in 2011 incident already conceded, with High Court now assessing damages only.

Family members who came to the aid of their loved ones who were injured when a lift in a Kerry hotel plummeted three floors to the ground later sued for nervous shock, the High Court has heard.A number of nervous shock claims were brought and dealt with before the major action now before the High Court by those inside the lift, which fell and crashed into the basement car park of the Killarney Plaza Hotel 10 years ago.

Kevin Meehan is one of five from the same extended family, including his wife, Jennie Wong, who have sued over the accident after they got in the lift to return to their rooms in the hotel following a wedding ceremony on July 9th, 2011. His brother Andrew Meehan and sister-in-law Patricia O’Leary last week settled their actions over injuries sustained in the incident.

Kevin Meehan ended up with multiple fractures to the spine and was in a wheelchair for three months after the accident, when the lift dropped three floors.

In the second day of his action on Tuesday, Mr Meehan said his family had been extremely traumatised by the incident.
The 43-year-old told the High Court that when members of his family entered the basement car park after the accident, they couldn’t believe the scene “uncovered that day”.

“ My family has been extremely traumatised by this. They came down to see an awful scene. There was also what they saw in the hospital afterwards as well as the ongoing injuries,” he said.

Mr Justice Michael Hanna asked had proceedings been brought by family members in relation to nervous shock as a result of the aftermath of the accident. Mr Meehan said yes, and the cases were all dealt with some time ago.

Mr Meehan said after the accident, members of his family helped the emergency services wheel him from the basement car park to the ambulance.

He said the trip to Tralee hospital “felt like an eternity “ but it was only a 30-minute journey.

He was put in a ward with his brother and sister-in-law who were also seriously injured.

“The first night was extremely painful,” he said and added he got flashbacks and nightmares.

He said he could no longer play sports or run around and play football with his children.

Companies sued

Kevin Meehan from Celbridge, Co Kildare has sued the hotel owners, Shawcove Ltd, with registered offices at Castleisland, Co Kerry, and companies involved in installing and maintaining lifts: Ellickson Engineering Ltd, in receivership of Kilmurry, Waterford; Kilell Ltd, also of Kilmurry, Waterford; and Otis Ltd, Naas Road Business Park, Dublin; and Otis Elevator Ireland Ltd of the same address; as well as lift components manufacturer Daldoss Elevetronic Spa of Valsugana, Italy.

It is claimed there was a failure to ensure the intended pathway from the car park was safe and free from hazard. And it is claimed there was a failure to install a proper functioning lift from the car park to the hotel.

The court has previously heard liability was conceded in the case in 2019 and the cases are before the court for assessment of damages only.
Paul Meehan’s case and Ms Wong’s case will be heard by the court later in the week.

In 2017 engineering company Ellickson Engineering Ltd, now in receivership, was fined €750,000 after it was found guilty at Tralee Circuit Criminal Court of a single breach of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act over the installation of the hotel lift in and around April 2004.
The case continues.

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