High Court approves damages for 400 Dom Rep First Choice guests

High Court approves damages for 400 Dom Rep First Choice guests

The high court has approved damages for 60 children who fell ill from food poisoning in the Dominican Republic.

The children and their families are among 409 British holidaymakers awarded £1.9 million by First Choice six years after a stay.

They suffered from a series of severe gastric illnesses, including salmonella, contracted at the four-star Bahia Principe resort in San Juan, the Guardian reported.

The settlement makes First Choice the last company to settle cases for more than 400 of its customers, who were represented by solicitors Irwin Mitchell.

Although the settlement was agreed out of court, it had to be rubber-stamped in the high court because children were involved.

It follows settlements of over £3.5 million four years ago for 500 holidaymakers who had stayed at the same hotel at the same time with Thomas Cook and MyTravel.

First Choice agreed to settle the cases of 409 of its customers for £1.9 million. That sum included settling claims for 60 children.

The operator said it was unable to comment on the settlements. The sums awarded to the children were approved by a judge sitting in the high court in London yesterday.

Thomson settled 44 similar cases last December for nearly £200,000.

The deal means a total of 963 Irwin Mitchell clients who stayed at the hotel in 2007 have received over £5.5m in compensation from Thomas Cook, MyTravel, First Choice and Thomson.

The law firm also secured a substantial settlement for more than 100 guests who fell ill at the same hotel in 1997, and has successfully acted for holidaymakers who fell ill there in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2010.

It continues to act for clients who fell ill at the hotel in 2009 and 2012.

Clive Garner, a partner and head of the international travel law team at Irwin Mitchell, told the newspaper: "The long history of guests suffering illness at this hotel makes grim reading.

"There have been problems at the hotel on and off for 10 years in the lead-up to the 2007 outbreak, and we are still receiving complaints from guests five years after that dreadful outbreak."

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