Credible Evidence at Trial Sufficient to Establish that Employee had Fallen from Defective Ladder

Lawrence Morris BL, Decisis

March 13, 2023

Kadege v Dunnes Stores [2023] IECA 27 (Court of Appeal (civil), Noonan J, 13 February 2023)

The Court of Appeal: (a) dismissed an appeal from the High Court and affirmed a determination that a retail chain was liable to an employee for injuries arising from a fall from a defective ladder, on the grounds that there was sufficient expert evidence based on CCTV footage that the employee had been on the ladder at the time; but (b) reduced the award of general damages from €110,000 to €100,000.

Noonan J ‒ Appeal against quantum and liability ‒ personal injuries ‒ employee falls from defective ladder ‒ footage from two different cameras ‒ evidence of engineers for plaintiff and defendant gave opposite evidence of what they say the CCTV showed ‒ alleged plaintiff’s evidence was confused and contradictory, there was no coherent evidence of a fall from the ladder. This was to be contrasted with the clear evidence of the defendant's witness ‒ also alleged no causal link between defect in ladder and accident ‒ held court cannot interfere with findings of fact that are supported by credible evidence, no matter how voluminous and weighty the evidence may be ‒ however a judge's interpretation of evidence can still be scrutinised in appellate court ‒ trial judge ultimately entitled to have decided the way it did based upon evidence before it ‒ re general damages ‒ from €50,000 to date and €70,000 into the future ‒ to €50,000 to date and €50,000 into the future.

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