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Catlaugh v Caradon Everest Ltd

21 September 2000
The issues


The facts

Pursuer sought damages for depressive illness which he inferred was caused by the stress he was subjected to whilst working for the Defender. “the pursuers factual averments are prolix in the extreme” – in essence the complaint was of a disorganised and overloaded system of work exacerbated by an overbearing and bullying management style. Effectively the pursuer was claiming that he was not able to refuse work given to him and that he was obliged to do everything and anything asked off him regardless of practicality and the hours involved. The pursuer offered no explanation as to how this extraordinary state of affairs came about. There was no suggestion that the pursuer was in some way disadvantaged or vulnerable to exploitation. The Court noted that the Claimant appeared to be self employed and that his remuneration depended on the number of service calls he made as a double glazing engineer.

The decision

A case of this sort would normally expect to be set in context by reference to the contractual terms which underlay the relationship between the parties. This was not the case here. The allegation that the pursuer could have been dismissed was particularly irrelevant in these circumstances.

Obiter the pursuer had failed to aver any recognised psychiatric illness or that there were facts or circumstances from which could be inferred that such an illness was reasonably foreseeable and he had failed to aver what precautions should have been taken to avoid such injury.

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