Man suing ESB over stag attack has asthmatic attack in court

John Corcoran (63) began coughing and needed to use his inhaler while under cross-examination in the witness box
Man suing ESB over stag attack has asthmatic attack in court

An action brought by an ESB worker who was attacked by a stag as he climbed a Tipperary mountain had to be adjourned at the High Court on Wednesday after he suffered an asthmatic attack.

John Corcoran (63) began coughing and needed to use his inhaler while under cross-examination in the witness box.

The court adjourned but two hours later Mr Corcoran’s counsel, Edward Walsh SC, told Mr Justice Paul Coffey his client had suffered an asthmatic attack and was not in a position to give evidence.

Mr Justice Coffey adjourned the case to Thursday morning.

John Corcoran was an engineering officer with the ESB and was on his way to check on a mast when the stag attacked him on a forestry path at Kilduff Mountain outside Templemore, Co Tipperary six years ago.

The attack took place in September 2016 during what is traditionally rutting season.

Before he became unwell, Mr Corcoran told Mr Justice Coffey on the second day of the hearing the stag had taken from him the ability to carry out a day’s work.

Cross-examined by Kieran Fleck SC for the ESB, Mr Corcoran said: “The stag took from me the ability to carry out duties and carry out a day’s work.”

Loss of earnings

The court previously heard Mr Corcoran’s case includes a claim for a total of €420,000 in loss of earnings.

John Corcoran (63) of Fawnlough, Nenagh, Co Tipperary has sued ESB Networks Designated Activity Company with a registered address at Clanwilliam House, Clamwilliam Place, Dublin and the Electricity Supply Board with a registered address at East Wall, Dublin over the stag attack on September 12th, 2016.

Mr Justice Paul Coffey was told that liability has been admitted in the case which is before the case court for the assessment of damages only.

It was claimed that Mr Corcoran had been permitted to work alone in a mountain area during the deer mating season when it ought to reasonably have been known that it was dangerous and unsafe to do so.

It was further claimed there was a failure to have in place any warning device, panic alarm, man down system or automatic distress message system for persons working alone in isolated areas.

In evidence, Mr Corcoran said it was a "really lovely" summer’s day when the attack happened.

“A herd of deer crossed the path in front of me. I said wouldn’t it be a lovely picture, and then I got a sense of fear. The hairs on my neck were standing. I looked behind me and there was a stag 15 paces back from me,” he said.

He started to run, but he said the stag hit him with force, his antlers creating eight puncture wounds on Mr Corcoran’s rucksack and wounding him in the shoulder.

Lost consciousness

“He propelled me through the air at speed over a bank and into the scrub. I lost my helmet and glasses,” he said.

The stag continued to attack with feet and antlers but Mr Corcoran said he had a rod and managed to hit the stag a few times in the nostrils, but it reared up on his hind legs and came crashing down on him.

Mr Corcoran said he lost consciousness for an estimated 10 to 12 minutes but later managed to reach his phone and summon help.

Under cross-examination, Mr Corcoran agreed he previously received €67,000 in compensation when he suffered an injury to his left hand and shoulder.

He also agreed that in 2010 he received €26,000 compensation after a road traffic accident.

Mr Corcoran agreed proceedings were also brought in 2018 against the ESB where he is claiming in relation to alleged exposure to asbestos two years previously.

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