Barbara Gayle, Justice Coordinator
The Kingston Wharves Ltd is to pay $25 million in damages to a former worker who was seriously injured in May 2008 while performing duties as a mechanic.
Addurrazo McKnight, 44, who now has a 33 per cent disability of the whole person as a result of the accident, had sued the company for negligence.
He claimed that Kingston Wharves was negligent in the manner in which it carried out its operations and, thereby, exposed him to a risk of injury, thus being negligent towards him and or in breach of its duty as an employer in failing to provide requisite warnings, notices and or special instructions in the execution of its operations so as to prevent his injuries.
Kingston Wharves did not dispute liability, but contended that McKnight was responsible for contributory negligence. It alleged that McKnight was also the author of his injuries and, consequently, it should not be made to compensate him for the full loss claimed.
Justice Sharon George, in handing down the award in the Supreme Court on August 15, said Kingston Wharves, through its defence, "has indicated that it does not dispute that it failed to provide the requisite warnings, notices and special instructions to the claimant (and its other employees), in the execution of its operations".
MCKENZIE NOT AT FAULT
The judge, after hearing evidence from the parties, ruled that there was insufficient evidence on which she could find that McKnight contributed to his injuries.
McKnight, who was represented by attorneys-at-law Sean Kinghorn and Danielle Archer, said at the time of the accident, he was a mechanic employed to the company.
He said he was called to address a stacker machine which was malfunctioning and that in accordance with his duties as a mechanic, he sought to resolve the problem. In doing so, he went on top of the container, which was on the spreader bar on the stacker. He said he asked the stacker operator to operate the slewing functions and while that was being done, the container rose higher then plummeted, and he fell 20 feet to the ground and had to be hospitalised. He produced medical evidence to prove that he suffered serious head and neck injuries and could not swallow for a prolonged period. He also sustained injury to his left foot.
He has not returned to work since the injury as he can no longer work as a mechanic. He also suffers from memory loss.
The judge found that McKnight was inadequately supervised on the night he was injured and that the defendant was in breach of several aspects of its duty to provide a safe system of work.