Couple in Lift Action Settle High Court Case

Grainne McMahon, Content Editor (Ireland)

June 11, 2021

A couple who were injured when a hotel lift plummeted three floors to the basement have settled their High Court actions.

The wife in the case had described the descent of the lift at the Killarney Plaza Hotel as 'a very violent drop to the floor'. Mother of two Patricia O'Leary told the court that she felt her leg breaking on impact and she had to be cut from the lift wreckage in the accident on 9 July 2011. She is one of five people from the same extended family, including her husband Andrew Meehan, who sued over the accident. The lift plummeted as they tried to return to their rooms in the hotel after the wedding ceremony ten years ago.

The High Court heard that the former garda sergeant had to retire from the force on medical grounds five years after the event, when she was 37. Her husband Andrew Meehan also settled his case. The terms are confidential.

The couple, along with brothers Paul and Kevin Meehan and Kevin's wife Jennie Wong, sued the hotel's owners Shawcove Limited with registered offices at Castleisland, County Kerry and several companies involved in installing and maintaining lifts — Ellickson Engineering Limited in receivership of Kilmurry, Waterford; Kilell Limited, also of Kilmurry, Waterford; Otis Limited of Naas Road Business Park, Dublin and Otis Elevator Ireland Limited of the same address as well as Daldoss Elevetronic Spa of Valsagana, Italy; a lift components manufacturer.

Today the High Court will hear the next case of the three remaining plaintiffs. It is claimed that there was a failure to ensure that the intended pathway from the car park was safe and free from hazard and there was a failure, it is claimed, to install a proper functioning lift from the car park to the hotel. Liability was conceded in 2019 and the cases are before the court for assessment of damages. The court heard that Ellickson Engineering Limited, which is now in receivership, was fined €750,000 when it was found guilty at Tralee Circuit Criminal Court in 2017 of a single breach of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act regarding the installation of the lift in and around April 2004.