Two young girls have received a settlement of compensation from H&M Ireland after being traumatised when caught unawares in a mock robbery in the chain’s Dundrum location.
Casie and Abbie Kennedy (eight- and eleven-years-old respectively) were shopping with their mother Claudia in the Dundrum Shopping Centre in March 2013. While they were in H&M, they heard a man swearing at the staff–aggressively ordering them to open the till and get on the ground. Unbeknownst to them, this was part of a training exercise for staff at the shop.
Claudia immediately ushered her terrified daughters in the changing rooms, and stayed hidden in there until the shouting stopped. Only then did Claudia look outside the door of the changing room; but, unable to see anything, she kept the girls in the changing room until she could hear voices in the shop.
Claudia escorted her children into the store and asked the manager what had happened. Claudia expressed her discontent that nobody had thought to check for the presence of customers in the changing room before staging the mock armed robbery. Claudia rang the H&M head office in England to complain about her experience.
She was offered a curt apology and a €30 voucher, which Claudia did not accept. Claudia sought legal counsel and claimed compensation for emotional shock during a mock armed robbery on behalf of her daughters. In her legal action against H&M Hennes&Mauritz (Ireland) Ltd, Claudia alleged that Casie and Abbie had feared for their lives and the life of their mother during the highly traumatic incident.
H&M Hennes &Mauritz (Ireland) Ltd made offers of compensation for emotional shock during a mock armed robbery to Casie (€8,000) and Abbie (€10,000). At the Circuit Civil Court, Judge Rory MacCabe heard the family was willing to accept the offers and, after hearing that Casie and Abbie continued to suffer nightmares as a result of their experience, the judge approved the settlements.