Scooter skids over highway manhole cover leaking sewage

A man skidded off his scooter when he went over a manhole cover. His clothes smelled of sewage that appeared to be leaking from the cover.

He got witnesses from a nearby factory to confirm there was a long-standing problem with back-up of sewage from the cover.

Complaints had been made to the owners of the cover, United Utilities, but nothing had been done before the accident. A section 81 notice had been served on them to deal with the hazard created on the highway too.

Judgment was obtained against both the local Borough Council, who were aware of the long standing hazard and United Utilities.

Cardiff CC, 7 October 2009.

Settlement of stress case for university worker

A claimant was employed as a programme manager at a University. He was exposed to an excessive workload resulting in working excessive hours.

It was alleged that the university had failed to allocate sufficient staff and resources including replacements for staff who were absent due to illness so that, for example, not only was the claimant required to do his normal job of devising programmes for overseas students, but he was also required to undertake teaching duties.

Failure to carry out appropriate risk assessments was alleged. The university was aware of the claimant’s previous anxiety and depression due to an excessive workload although it had been alleged by the university psychiatric medical evidence that the claimant had a significant pre-existing disposition to mood problems.

Liability was denied throughout. The defendants denied that unreasonable work requirements were made of the claimant, and said that, when the claimant had made complaints about his work, appropriate action had been taken.

Before the case went to trial, a settlement of £110,000 plus CRU was negotiated (despite the defendant’s apparently entrenched position, it was settled following a round table conference); An example of Thompsons’ willingness to pursue difficult cases for our trade union clients.