A MAN WHO injured his shoulder while loading a horse onto a lorry for well-known horse trainer Margaret Mullins has been awarded €92,000 damages by the High Court.
65-year-old James Foley sued Mullins of Canterbrook Stud, Doninga Goresbridge in Kilkenny following an incident that occurred at the Stud on 18 November 2013.
Foley said he sustained the injuries after a horse he placed into a lorry became spooked causing him to fall.
Giving judgment Justice Michael Hanna said he was satisfied the defendant had been negligent and that Foley was entitled to damages totalling €92,000, plus his legal costs.
Foley of Currabehy, Mullinavat in Kilkenny, represented by David Kennedy SC, Michael Murray, 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 the lorry became unsettled when Foley was attempting to secure it in the vehicle.
Mullins, who was present at the time, should have assisted Foley with the horse but didn’t, it was claimed.
As a result of the horse becoming unsettled, Foley fell and injured his left shoulder, which he required to have surgery on.
Foley’s 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 safe system of work, the court heard.
Denying the claims, Mullins in her defence said the horse was on the ramp of the lorry when it became unsettled causing Foley to fall.
Foley, she claimed, had contributed to his own injuries and had not handled the horse in a proper manner. She claimed she wasn’t liable for his injuries.
Giving judgment Justice Hanna said there was a conflict in the evidence between the parties, but that he preferred Foley’s version of events.
Foley was an experienced horseman and had worked for renowned international trainers, the Judge said.
The Judge held Mullins was Foley’s employer at the 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% of the damages, some €46,000 to Foley.