The High Court has dismissed an action against Dunnes Stores over an incident in which a security manager claimed he fell off a defective ladder when attempting to fix a security camera in a store.
Mohammad Aldasouqi, who was a security manager at the Briarhill branch in Galway at the time of the incident on January 18th, 2014, got up on the ladder to fix the position of a camera covering the “goods inwards” area of the store, the court heard.
He claimed Dunnes was in breach of its duty of care to him by, among other things, requiring him to use a ladder that was defective and exposed him to risk. It was alleged the ladder collapsed underneath him.
Mr Aldasouqi claimed he suffered injuries including to his right lower chest, right abdomen, right arm, right wrist, and left knee, some pain to his right hip as well as soft tissue injuries.
Dunnes denied all his claims and also pleaded contributory negligence.
Dismissing the case, Mr Justice Tony O’Connor said one of the main issues was whether the store manager had directed him to fix the camera. Dunnes denied the manager told him to do so.
From hearing the evidence of Mr Aldasouqi, the judge said he was left with the impression the store manager “merely told the plaintiff to fix the camera” but that did not necessarily convey that Mr Aldasouqi had to do it himself or to adopt any means to do it and, particularly, without regard to his own safety.
The judge said Mr Aldasouqi candidly explained that in the normal course of events defective equipment had to be reported to the head office which would send out a contractor but, in this case, Mr Aldasouqi believed there was an “emergency to fix it”.
In his evidence, Mr Aldasouqi tried to recall events that occurred eight years ago and after a traumatic event at that time, the judge said.
However, he said, there was no evidence the store manager exerted undue pressure or intimated that the safety of Mr Aldasouqi should be ignored.
It was also apparent during the trial, which took place in Galway, that Mr Aldasouqi was, and remains, “quite exercised” about not having had his contract of employment made permanent in 2014.
“That affected his objectivity in recalling events”, he said.
Mr Aldasouqi failed to persuade the judge that he was instructed expressly or implicitly to bypass the safety standards of Dunnes.
He acknowledged that he could not remember whether the store manager thought fixing the camera was urgent on that Saturday.
On the day of the fall it was solely his choice “to grab a most unsuitable ladder” and not to investigate other ways of replacing the camera, the judge said.
He failed to establish a breach of duty of care on the part of the defendant to him, he said.