It is absolutely infuriating when judges make stupid judgements, but it doesn’t get much better when cases are settled.
In this case, a 12 year old boy (sitting next to his dad!) got a cup of hot chocolate and some additional milk from a flight attendant on an Aer Lingus flight from Nice to Dublin. A lid was firmly on the cup!! The boy takes the cup and opens it to put the milk inside. Then he replaces the lid and when he tries to drink, the hot chocolate pours over his leg.
He gets some burns, removes his clothes in the toilet and gets first aid. After arrival in Dublin the boy is brought to hospital and makes a good recovery.
All this is described in the Breaking News article here.
But let me unpack that! A dad buys a hot chocolate for his son (because the son is 12 years of age and because it might not be too far fetched to think that the dad did pay for it, I think we can assume that the dad had some involvement). The son then takes the lid off and does not properly put it back on again. The dad doesn’t check and clearly fails in his duty of care. So now the son screwed up and the dad screwed up.
The son pours the hot drink over his leg and gets burns. Very regrettable and not a good situation for the son, but WHERE in this did Aer Lingus have any responsibility?
The dad (because the son is only 12) sues Aer Lingus for damages and Aer Lingus pays an outrageous EUR 70,000 to the son for having done absolutely nothing wrong.
You might think that doesn’t affect you, but guess who will pay the 70,000. Not the Aer Lingus shareholders from their profits! No! Ultimately you and I will pay for it in higher prices.
So you and I pay this 12 year old boy 70,000 because he messed up when he put the lid back on and because the dad didn’t bother to check. Infuriating!!
And why did Aer Lingus pay? Probably because they expected that the judge for some nebulous reasons would decide against them and then the whole mess could cost even more. The possibility that a judge could find Aer Lingus to be guilty – which probably is based on other court cases – is infuriating in itself, by the way.
Judges (in this case Judge Kevin Cross) should have the ability to throw cases like that out immediately! And people who sue anybody in such a scandalous way should be the ones that pay.