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Casey v Morane Ltd, Court of Appeal, 5 May 2000

16 May 2000
The facts

The Claimant was injured at work in 1994 when he lost a finger in machinery. Three months later he was subject to a disciplinary hearing at which he was found guilty of gross misconduct and emoted suffering £5,000.00 loss of income. In 1996 he brought proceedings in negligence and breach of statutory duty. In 1998 the liability issue was settled by consent with 85% liability on the employer and 15% liability on the employee. As part of his claim for damages he sought to recover the loss of earnings which is demotion as a result of the diclipinary proceedings which cost him. He was awarded £119,000.00 taking into account the Claimant’s 15% contributory negligence liability. The Defendant appealed on the grounds that it was the demotion and not the accident which caused the loss of earnings.

The decision

1. The result of the dislipinary proceedings were inconsistent with the apportionment of responsibility now agreed and binding on the Court.

2. As a matter of fact there would have been no demotion and loss of pay had the apportionment now acknowledged as correct been understood and accepted then.

3. The issue was whether the actual demotion and loss of pay was attributable to the breach of duty which led to the accident.

4. Where a number of factors combine to lead to a situation where a Claimant incurred loss it might become appropriate to select the “predominant” or “effective” cause of the Claimant being dicliplined and losing pay.

5. On the facts the Claimant’s loss of status and pay failed to be regarded as caused by the accident and by the combined fault of both parties although predominantly the Defendant’s fault leading to the accident. Disclipinary sanction and financial loss was in the nature of an additional peril or disadvantage arising from the accident.

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