IRL High Court ruled that monies paid out of “Dunnes Stores Management Pension and Life Assurance Scheme” were not to be deducted from the Plaintiff’s loss of earnings claim pursuant to s. 2 of the Civil Liability (Amendment ) Act 1964.

Monahan -v- Dunnes Stores & Ano 

On the plaintiff’s behalf it was submitted that the payment which she received was payable by Friends First in respect of the injury which was the subject matter of wrongful act in the proceedings and was a payment that was paid under a contract of insurance which therefore was a sum which was not deductible by virtue of the provisions of s. 2(a) of the Act. They relied on the decision of Geoghegan J. in Greene v. Hughes Haulage [1998] 1 ILRM 34, a case in which the wording of s. 2 of the Act was considered.

 

In that case, the plaintiff’s employer, Elan Corporation, had an Employee Benefit Plan in place designed to provide its employees with certain pension, early retirement and death in service benefits. The Employee Benefit Plan also entitled its members to certain income benefits in the event of prolonged disability. The latter benefit, which was described as the “Disability Benefit Plan”, was operated by way of separate arrangement from the other benefits under an Employee Benefit Plan and was governed by a policy of insurance made between Elan and Irish Life. Geoghegan J. decided that the payments made under the Disability plan were not deductible against the plaintiff’s loss of earnings claim and that it was immaterial that she had not been a party to the contract. It was a contract that had been made for her benefit and was therefore to be considered as part of her overall remuneration such that she should be considered to have indirectly contributed to the premium.

 

In applying the authority, Irvine J stated “integral to both schemes is the fact that the policy was taken out for the benefit of the employee who might become disabled. Accordingly, I see no reason not to apply the principles outlined in Greene to the present case.”

 

The full judgement can be read at:

 

http://www.courts.ie/Judgments.nsf/09859e7a3f34669680256ef3004a27de/24060a22e9fd5cf980257b260058024c?OpenDocument

 

S.Major, Lacey Solicitors

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