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Church sued over school-ground injury

A Sydney woman is suing the Catholic Church after falling into a grass-covered hole and tearing an ankle ligament, saying she can no longer work as a flight attendant.

Whitney Lee, 34, of Gymea, is claiming $750,000 in damages for injury to her left ankle and shock after she fell into a 10-centimetre deep hole when collecting her two children from Our Lady of Fatima primary school, Caringbah, on March 28, 2000.

She told the NSW District Court yesterday that as she fell she dropped her third child, whom she was carrying on her hip.

"I heard a loud popping sound as I fell ... it was excruciating pain."

Mrs Lee worked as a flight attendant for Ansett at the time, but told the court she was now unable to do this work as she could not stand on her feet for long periods and was unable wear 5cm high heels required under flight grooming standards. "I had a lot of difficulty flying, particularly on longer days, and on the larger aircrafts I had difficulty walking," she said.

A barrister for the trustees of the Catholic Church, Ken Earl, said the site of the accident was a playground, not a bowling green.

"We say the ground was in good condition and there was no hidden trap. We can't deny the plaintiff has fallen and sustained an injury to her ankle, but some people can fall on good ground for no apparent reason."

The case continues.

Our Lady of Fatima Caringbah


30 Jul 2002