News Courts

Thursday 26 April 2018

Warehouse worker withdraws back injury claims after photos emerge of him skiing and motorcyling

Adam Herzyk. Picture: Collins Courts
Adam Herzyk. Picture: Collins Courts

Tim Healy

A warehouse operative's legal action for back injuries allegedly sustained in a workplace accident has been withdrawn after photos of him on a skiing holiday and motorcycling in Europe were shown in the High Court.

Adam Herzyk (39), Mertle Court, The Coast, Baldoyle, Dublin, sued food distributor Excellence Ltd, of Baldoyle Industrial Estate, for damages over injuries he claimed were sustained when he was required to move boxes of various weights from pallets situated at different heights within the warehouse.

Excellence denied his claims.

The case was withdrawn following a short adjournment during the cross examination of Mr Herzyk.

Adam Herzyk. Picture: Facebook
Adam Herzyk. Picture: Facebook

It also followed questioning by Mr Justice Michael Hanna of Mr Herzyk as to whether he had lied about earlier evidence he had given.  Mr Herzyk said it was not his intention to do so.

Mr Herzyk had claimed he suffered the injuries in the course of his employment whereby he had to undertake heavy box lifting on different dates in a manner which was excessive or intensive, culminating in him having to go out with back pain on September 8, 2011.

He had to take extended leave until the following November 21, having undergone extensive physiotherapy in his native Poland.

He was diagnosed with chronic back pain and continued to need treatment, he claimed.

He now has significant difficulties performing everyday and leisure activities, such as household chores, cycling, skiing and long walks, it was claimed.  

Under cross-examination by Bernard McDonagh SC, with Paul O'Neill BL, Mr Herzyk accepted a number of photographs of him engaged in various activities were taken after the alleged injury was sustained.

These included photos of him on a skiing trip to Norway and of him on a vintage motorcycle he restored on a trip to Poland.

Mr Justice Hanna said, at this stage of the case, he did not believe one could go skiing with an injury to one's back.  "I have not made up my mind, but people should know the way the wind blows", he said.

Mr McDonagh asked Mr Herzyk if he had any issue with his employer apart from this back injury case.

Mr Herzyk, who spoke sometimes in English and sometimes in Polish through an interpreter, said he did not.

He then agreed with Mr McDonagh he had brought separate claims against Excellence under employment law, including alleging discrimination in relation to remuneration and race.

The judge then put it to him that he had "just lied" about not having had any other issue.  "Do you therefore ask me to accept you made a mistake when you said you had no other issue", the judge asked.

He replied: "If it was a mistake, I know I have committed it".

Mr Herzyk denied that it was after he was refused a redundancy package, which a work colleague had obtained in 2010, that he became "a very disruptive employee".

He accepted he was disciplined for climbing up on a pallet rack in contravention work instructions but said this was done regularly by employees, and accepted by management, because of the pressure workers were put under.

Following an adjournment during the cross examination about this incident, Gabriel Gavigan SC, for Mr Herzyk, told the court the the case was being withdrawn.

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