School caretaker awarded €19,000 damages
A school caretaker, who broke an index finger while attempting to push open a gymnasium door, has been awarded €19,000 damages in the Circuit Civil Court.
Colm Hennessy, counsel for 63-year-old Robert Shakeshaft told Judge Jacqueline Linnane that a defective automatic door closer had been responsible for the accident at Rush National School, Co Dublin, in June 2009.
Mr Hennessy said it had rendered the door impossible to open and when Mr Shakeshaft had pushed against it with his hand his right index finger had been hyper-extended to such an extent that it fractured.
The court heard that the closing mechanism had been replaced a number of times on the heavily used double doors into the school’s PE room.
Mr Shakeshaft, of Mourne Road, Skerries, Co Dublin, told the court that six months prior to the accident he had told the school vice principal that the door closing mechanism was defective.
Judge Linnane said she was satisfied the injury had been caused by a defect or malfunction in the closing mechanism. Even had there been a prior history with the door it had not been within Mr Shakeshaft’s remit or capability to replace the defective unit.
She said the door got a lot of everyday abuse and Mr Shakeshaft, caretaker at the school for 20 years had suffered a lot of pain from the injury. He still at times had to wear a support bandage if carrying out any lifting duties.