Judge Mary Larkin
A PART-time fabricator has been ordered to pay €5,560 in compensation to the owner of a track machine (excavator) which was destroyed in a fire two years ago,
Jim Dore sued David Egan as a result of the fire which happened at a yard at his home in March 2016. Both men live at Gortnaglogg, Templeglantine.
During a contested hearing at Newcastle West Court, Mr Dore said he approached Mr Egan a number of weeks earlier and asked him to carry out some work on the cabin of the machine.
Mr Dore, who works in the building trade, sad there was rust on the cab and that Mr Egan told him it would be a “tricky enough job” to replace a panel.
While there was no formal agreement, he said he believed the defendant was willing to carry out the work for €200.
Judge Mary Larkin was told Mr Dore’s son – John Dore – subsequently drove the track-machine to Mr Egan’s yard without further discussion or agreement.
“I dropped the machine back, I just left it outside,” he said.
In his evidence, Mr Egan insisted there was no deal between him and Mr Dore.
He accepted that while he “didn’t particularly want to do the job” he did not refuse to carry out the work.
He said he heard no more until the machine, which was worth around €13,000, “was landed outside my shed.”
On the day of the fire, he said he carried out some work on the machine and was inside his home when alerted to the fire by his daughter less than an hour later.
Being cross-examined by solicitor Michael Lane, he agreed he had welded a new panel onto the cab but insisted he had followed best practice and had taken the usual precautions.
Automotive assessor Conor Deasy told the court the cab of the track machine was completely destroyed by the fire.
In his report, he stated that while he could not definitively identify the cause of the fire, he was satisfied “beyond the balance of probability” that plastic trims inside the cab had ignited as a result of the welding which was carried out.
Finding in favour of the plaintiff, Judge Larkin commented that Mr Egan had “his arm twisted to do the job”.
She said he had a choice to make when he saw the machine in his yard, and that he assumed responsibility for the machine when he decided to move it into his shed and carry out the work.
Noting the salvage value of the machine, she directed that he pay €5,560 to Mr Dore. He was also ordered to pay the costs and expenses of the plaintiff.