Mullinavat man awarded €92,000 following shoulder injury while loading horse

Aodhan O'Faolain

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Aodhan O'Faolain

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 High Court

The High Court

A Mullinavat man who injured his shoulder while loading a horse onto a lorry for well known trainer Margaret Mullins has been awarded €92,000 damages by the High Court.

65 year old James Foley sued Ms Mullins of Canterbrook Stud, Doninga, Goresbridge, Co Kilkenny arising out of an incident that occurred at the Stud on November 18, 2013.

Mr Foley said he sustained the injuries after a horse he placed into a lorry became spooked causing him to fall.

Giving judgment Mr Justice Michael Hanna said he was satisfied the defendant had been negligent and Mr Foley was entitled to damages totaling €92,000 plus his legal costs.

Mr Foley 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 that a four year old horse that was being put in a lorry became unsettled when Mr Foley was attempting to secure it in the vehicle. Mrs Mullins, who was present at the time it was claimed, should have been assisting Mr Foley with the horse but did not, it was claimed.

As a result of the horse becoming unsettled Mr Foley fell and injured his left shoulder, which he required to have surgery on.

Mr Foley claimed the defendant was negligent and had breached her statutory duty under the 2005 Safety Health and Welfare at Work Act and failed to provide him with a a safe system of work.

Denying the claims Mrs Mullins in her defence said the horse was on the ramp of the lorry when it became unsettled causing Mr Foley to fall.

Mr Foley, she claimed, had contributed to his own injuries, had not handled the horse in a proper manner and she was not liable for his injuries.

Giving judgment Mr Justice Hanna said there was a conflict in the evidence between the parties, but that
he preferred Mr Foley's version of events.

Mr Foley was an experienced horse man and had worked for renowned international trainers, the Judge said.

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 added.

The Judge placed a stay on the award in the event of an appeal should the defendant pay 50%, some €46,000 to Mr Foley.