O'Regan v Ryanair DAC

JudgeMr. Justice Tony O'Connor
Judgment Date10 December 2018
Neutral Citation[2018] IEHC 852
CourtHigh Court
Docket Number[2018 No. 2482 P]

[2018] IEHC 852

Tony O'Connor

[2018 No. 2482 P]


Third party notice – Personal injury – Negligence – Defendant seeking liberty to issue a third party notice – Whether the defendant and the third party could be concurrent wrongdoers

Facts: The plaintiff, Mr O’Regan, alleged that he was assaulted by the proposed third party on the flight from Bari in Italy to Dublin Airport on 7th July, 2017 operated by the defendant, Ryanair DAC. The defence delivered in October 2018, pleaded, inter alia, that the plaintiff’s claim did not come within the provisions of Article 17 of the Montreal Convention 1999. The plaintiff, in the alternative, pleaded negligence and breach of duty on the part of the defendant airline. The plaintiff submitted that the proceedings were not required to be authorised by the Personal Injury Assessment Board by virtue of s. 3A of the Personal Injury Assessment Board Act 2003, as inserted by s. 56 of the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2011. The defendant denied that the incident was caused or contributed to by any act, default or omission on its part. The defendant sought liberty to join the alleged assailant as a third party. The plaintiff through counsel not only did not wish to join the third party as a defendant but objected to the application by the defendant on the grounds that the defendant and the third party could not be concurrent wrongdoers.

Held by the High Court (O’Connor J) that the resistance of the plaintiff to the defendant’s application was ill-founded by virtue of: (i) Order 16, rule 2, Rules of the Superior Courts; (ii) the unexplained overlooking of the alternative plea in the personal injury summons issued on 21st March, 2018, which the plaintiff had not withdrawn; (iii) the defence delivered in October 2018; and (iv) the implication arising from Bell v Dublin Airport Authority plc [2016] IECA 384 and particularly para. 47 thereof.

O’Connor J, therefore, gave liberty to the defendant to issue a third party notice in the form exhibited as PL1 in the affidavit sworn by Mr Lennon on 3rd October, 2018. O’Connor J directed that the third party issue be heard as the trial judge may direct when the plaintiff’s claim came to trial. O’Connor J also made an order giving liberty to the third party to file a defence to the third party notice within 28 days from the entry of an appearance on the part of the third party.

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