Tuesday, November 22, 2022

High Court Reporters

A general operative with a marquee supplier has settled a High Court action for €60,000 over an accident in which he tripped on a protruding ground bolt in a premises where he was working.

Lukasz Klajna (39), of Glebelands, Carlow Road, Athy, Co Kildare sued his employer Donohue Marquees, Milltown, Garryhill, Bagenalstown, Co Carlow, and Magna International Autolaunch, an automotive parts manufacturer with premises in Bagenalstown.

It was alleged the accident happened on March 16th, 2019, while Mr Klajna was working for Donohues erecting a permanent marquee type structure between two Magna warehouse buildings in Bagenalstown.

Mr Klajna was carrying a heavy bar with a coworker when he tripped and fell on a ground bolt which had previously been used to hold a fence at the premises. The bar fell on his right hand fracturing his thumb and finger.

It was alleged Magna was negligent in allowing the protruding bolt to remain in place or to carry out any assessment or inspection of the location so that Mr Klanja could carry out his work safely.

It was alleged against Donohues that the employer failed, among other things, to provide a safe place of work or to carry out any and/or adequate inspection system which would have ensured the protruding bolt was removed.

Liability to Mr Klajna was admitted and the case settled following talks between Paul Gallagher BL, for Mr Klajna, Bernard McDonagh SC and Conor Kearney BL, for Magna, and Andrew Walker SC for Donohues.

However, the issue of liability between the defendants remained and was heard last week by Mr Justice Michael Hanna.

On Tuesday, the judge apportioned liability at 70 per cent for Magna and 30 per cent for Donohues.

He found the protruding bolt constituted a hazard, He said it was “a matter of good fortune” that employees of Magna did not also become “up-ended” as a result of the bolt being left in place.

He was satisfied that as this was a busy construction site it should have been inspected before the work began and any protruding bolts would have been detected.

Both defendants owed a duty of care to Mr Klajna but he found liability should be apportioned at 70 per cent/30 per cent between Magna and Donohues.


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