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High Court to hear flight attendant’s case over alleged Dolores O’Riordan air rage incident

Judge says Carmel Coyne’s personal injuries action against estate of late Cranberries’ singer not straightforward

A judge has directed that a civil action over an air rage incident involving the late singer Dolores O’Riordan will be heard in the High Court rather than the Circuit Court, where awards for damages are lower.

Mr Justice Tony O’Connor said the personal injuries case brought by flight attendant Carmel Coyne against the estate of the Cranberries’ lead singer was not straightforward.

He said it involved alleged physical injury as well as allegations of psychological trauma and alleged intrusion into her personal life from press coverage surrounding the incident.

Therefore, he added, there was no clear reason for him to exercise his discretion in this case, as requested by the O’Riordan estate, to remit it to the Circuit Court. The maximum award in the Circuit Court for personal injury is €60,000 while the High Court can award much higher sums.


Ms Coyne, of Cappagh Road, Galway, sued the singer in 2017 over the November 11th, 2014 incident when Ms O’Riordan allegedly stamped on the Aer Lingus flight attendant’s foot during an incident aboard a New York to Shannon flight. In a defence delivered in July 2017, Ms O’Riordan denied the claims.

Nearly six months later, on January 15th, 2018, Ms O’Riordan was found dead in a hotel room in London. An inquest later concluded that she drowned in a bath while intoxicated with alcohol.

Ms Coyne’s lawyers later applied to the High Court to replace Ms O’Riordan’s name in the title of the case with that of the personal representatives – Peter J. O’Riordan, of Friarstown, Grange, Kilmallock, Limerick, and Nollaig Hogan, of Riverview Heights, Cahara, Glin, Co Limerick. The personal representatives consented to the order.

Ms Coyne claims damages for alleged assault, battery, false imprisonment and for breach of her right to privacy and right to earn a living. The defendants deny the claims.

The case was set down for hearing in the High Court jury list later this month.

During the call over of the jury list on Wednesday, Thomas Wallace-O’Donnell BL, for the defendants, applied for the case be remitted to Limerick Circuit Court for hearing.

Counsel said the injury suffered by Ms Coyne was within the “moderate” category as outlined in the book of quantum for personal injuries. He said this was €54,000 which was “well within” the jurisdiction of the Circuit Court.

Alan Browne BL, for Ms Coyne, opposed the application. He said his client suffered a stamp or crush injury to her right foot from the heel of a platform-type boot. She was out of work for seven months and made several visits to her GP and physiotherapist, he said.

The injury did not fit squarely into the “moderate bracket” as claimed by the defence, he said.

She was also diagnosed as having suffered psychologically at the time and since then, he said.