By BARTHOLOMEW MADUKWE
Justice Ebenezer Adebajo of a Lagos High Court in Igbosere yesterday ordered a company, West Coast Investment Limited, to pay N5 million for causing one Joshua Ejiro Ejiyere to lose his right arm while feeding waste into a machine.
Ejiyere had informed the court that the accident occurred when an employee of the firm suddenly switched on the machine.
Insisting that the defendants (West Coast and its employee) were negligent in the manner the machine was operated, the claimant urged Justice Adebajo to order the company to pay him N10 million for losing his arm and also pick the bills of his medical treatment.
The company, however, urged the court to dismiss the suit, arguing that the claimant was a trespasser and not its employee and that the second defendant was no longer in its employ.
In his judgment, Justice Adebajo agreed with the first defendant that the claimant could not be regarded as its employee and discountenanced the company’s claim that the claimant was a trespasser, holding that evidence adduced at the trial proved that he was a person invited to West Coast’s premises.
The judge held that the claimant, being a person legally in the premises of the first defendant, the company owed the claimant a duty of care, which was breached when the first defendant’s employee (second defendant) switched on the machine without any warning.
Holding that the defendants’ conducted their affairs negligently, Justice Adebajo ordered them to pay the claimant N5 million as general damages as well as pay the cost of his treatment, about N500,000, as special damages.