High Court reporters
A woman suing over a workplace injury has told the High Court that video surveillance footage going shopping and picking up her dog showed she was trying to get on with her life despite the effects of the incident.
The court heard Margaret Reid (61) told doctors years after the incident that she had lost her independence, had difficulty driving very far, and was unable or found it difficult to do basic household chores like make beds, wash up and cook.
She claims she suffered a severe injury to her right shoulder and neck as a result of a metal container falling from a height from a defective roller trolley in the Bausch and Lomb contact lens factory in Waterford where she was employed until 2015 when she took redundancy.
Factory owners Valeant Pharmaceuticals Ireland deny negligence and claim Mrs Reid was culpable for the incident which occurred during the night shift on May 30th, 2015.
Mrs Reid, a mother of four from Kilmacow, Co Kilkenny, told the court on Wednesday the incident had changed her life, resulting in her requiring assistance from her family in doing the most basic chores, adding that she could not drive long distances.
Under cross-examination by Paddy McCarthy SC, for Valeant, she agreed she told doctors she had problems doing things like shopping, but insisted she tried to get on with her life and was on strong pain medication to assist her.
She repeatedly said she had always led a busy life before the incident and "put 100 per cent into everything". She said: "I did not have anything wrong with me that night [of the incident]. I did not cause that accident nor was I the cause of it happening."
It was put to her by counsel that videos of her shot in 2020 by investigators showed her driving 21km to collect her dog from a vets and pick the animal up with her right arm to put it in the boot of her car, even though she had said she had difficulty picking things up on her right side.
She said she would have "gone through fire and water for him (dog)" and there was no one else to pick him up from the vets after he had undergone surgery.
Counsel said she had claimed she had reduced power in her right arm, but the video showed her extensively using her right arm to pick things up in supermarkets, including a six-pack of two-litre water bottles, weighing 12kg.
She said: "I don't feel I have the same power as I had when I was in Bausch and Lomb (before the accident)". She tried to get on with her life and was on strong medication, she said.
She said the video showed her transferring the bottled water from her right to left hand to put it in the shopping trolley. She also pointed out she was accompanied by members of her family on the shopping trips, and they did most of the heavy lifting.
She also said she was trim when she worked in the factory but had gained three stone because she was no longer as active due to her injury.
It was put to her that two years before the incident when seen by a consultant due to a back problem following a fall at home, she was noted as being overweight. She said that in 2014, she was "very slim" when she was at the funeral of her father-in-law.
Psychiatrist Dr Catherine Corby told the court in her consultations with Mrs Reid, she told her she did tasks intermittently because she found it difficult to do things on a continuous basis. She had pain which she tried to push through, the doctor said.
The case continues before Mr Justice Mícheál P O’Higgins.