Defamation

Woman Awarded €10,500 Compensation for being Defamed by a Bus Driver


 

A woman from Dublin, who was publicly humiliated by a bus driver, has been awarded €10,500 compensation for being defamed by the Circuit Civil Court.

In March 2014, Lana Froze from Rush in Dublin boarded the Nº 33 Dublin Bus to travel to the Premier Inn in Swords where she worked. As she was using her Leapcard, Lana paid €2.50 for the regular €3.05 fare as she was within her rights to do.

As the bus approached Swords Main Street, the driver of the bus pulled over and told Lana she had to get off the bus – two stops before her destination – as this was as far as she had paid to travel. Lana refused, and the bus driver went back to his seat, turned off the engine and refused to drive the bus any further until Lana disembarked.

Embarrassed and concerned that she was making other passengers late for work, Lana got off the bus and walked the rest of the way to work. She complained to Dublin Bus, who apologised and offered her €7,500 compensation for being defamed; but Lana refused the compensation settlement and took her claim to court.

At the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke heard that the same driver had told Lana several weeks previously that she had to pay extra to travel to her work, but had allowed her to stay on the bus. On this occasion however, Lana said, she felt humiliated by the driver´s actions which had “held passengers to ransom”.

After hearing that Lana had done nothing wrong by using her Leapcard to pay the €2.50 fare instead of €3.05, Judge Groarke awarded Lana €10,500 compensation for being defamed in public plus her legal costs. Judge Groarke commented that Dublin Bus had failed to acknowledge that Lana was unjustifiably humiliated in its apology.