The High Court has ordered an Edenderry mart operator to pay €75,000 in damages to a Co Offaly cattle farmer after he was attacked and gored by a young bull at the mart.
In the ruling, Mr Justice Cian Ferriter found that as a result of the August 5th 2017 incident at Edenderry mart, farmer Fergus Malone (53) "suffered nasty injuries at the time".
Mr Justice Ferriter stated the injuries included five broken ribs and Mr Malone was left with the longer-term damage of an injury to his left shoulder and psychological damage including ongoing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms.
Recalling the bull attack in evidence, Mr Malone told the High Court that the young bull "hit me and drove me back into the corner".
Mr Malone sued Edenderry Livestock Mart Ltd for alleged negligence and Mr Justice Ferriter has found in Mr Malone's favour and has ordered the mart operator to pay the €75,000 in damages to Mr Malone.
In calculating damages, Mr Justice Ferriter said that Mr Malone is entitled to compensation for pain and suffering to date of €45,000 and compensation for pain and suffering into the future is €30,000.
Mr Justice Ferriter stated that it is important to note that the case is one which predates the recently introduced Personal Injuries Guidelines "and I have accordingly assessed damages by reference to the principles applicable prior to the introduction of those guidelines".
The mart operator denied liability in the case and alleged that Mr Malone "was entirely the author of his own misfortune" in that the bull attacked Mr Malone after Mr Malone provoked the bull by hitting him on the head with a stick.
However, Mr Justice Ferriter rejected this and found that on the balance of probabilities that the young bull who attacked Mr Malone did so following becoming spooked after the logjam in the chute at the mart and that he charged Mr Malone as a result of becoming spooked and not as a result of being hit on the head with a stick by Mr Malone.
Mr Justice Ferriter stated that he accepted that Mr Malone was an experienced farmer who knew how to handle himself around young bulls and would not and did not hit the young bull other than in self-defence.
In the judgment, Mr Justice Ferriter found Mr Malone’s evidence to be the most accurate and reliable.
Mr Malone and his wife both work a farm in the Edenderry area of Offaly and they have both dry stock and milk cattle and also produce hay and silage.
Mr Malone and his wife have fostered 15 children over the years, and they have one remaining foster child with them who is seven years old and will be with them until he is 18.
The court was told that Mr Malone spent some 10 days in Tullamore Hospital following the incident and it was some three months before he could do any work at all on the farm.
Mr Malone gave evidence that his ability to do any heavy work with his left shoulder has been significantly compromised since the accident and is unable to milk his cattle properly or lift heavy objects. Mr Malone gets help from his wife and from neighbours.