Man who injured shoulder while loading horse awarded €92,000 damages
Injured man claimed trainer Margaret Mullins had not assisted him when horse became ‘spooked’
Mr Justice Michael Hanna said he was satisfied the defendant had been negligent and James Foley (65), of Currabehy, Mullinavat, Co Kilkenny, was entitled to damages totalling €92,000, plus his legal costs.
A stay on the award applies in the event of an appeal on terms including the defendant pay half - €46,000 - to James Foley.
He had sued Ms Mullins, of Canterbrook Stud, Doninga, Goresbridge, Co Kilkenny, over the incident at the stud on November 18th 2013. Mr Foley said he sustained the injuries after a horse he placed into a lorry became “spooked” and fell.
Mr Justice Michael Hanna said he was satisfied the defendant had been negligent and Mr Foley was entitled to damages totalling €92,000, plus his legal costs.
Mr Foley (65), of Currabehy, Mullinavat, Co Kilkenny, represented by David Kennedy SC, Michael Murray BL and Downes Solicitors, claimed the defendant had not assisted him when he was completing the task of leading a horse into a partitioned horse transport vehicle.
The court heard a four year old horse being put into a lorry became unsettled when Mr Foley was attempting to secure it in the vehicle.
It was claimed Mrs Mullins was present at the time and should have been assisting Mr Foley with the horse but did not.
As a result of the horse becoming unsettled, Mr Foley fell and suffered an injury to his left shoulder which required surgery.
Mr Foley claimed the defendant was negligent and breached her statutory duty under the 2005 Safety Health and Welfare at Work Act and failed to provide him with a safe system of work.
Denying the claims, Mrs Mullins said the horse was on the ramp of the lorry when it became unsettled causing Mr Foley to fall. She also claimed Mr Foley contributed to his own injuries, had not handled the horse in a proper manner and she was not liable for his injuries.
In his judgment, Mr Justice Hanna said there was a conflict in the evidence but he preferred Mr Foley’s version of events.
Mr Foley was an experienced horse man and had worked for renowned international trainers, he noted.
The judge also held Mrs Mullins was Mr Foley’s employer at time of the accident, be it on a casual basis for which he was paid for his services in cash.
At the time of the incident the defendant owed him a duty of care, the judge held.