A St Ann block-making factory has been ordered to pay out $40 million to a former worker whose legs were severed and his scrotum and penis injured in an incident at the plant in 2006.
In handing down the ruling in the Supreme Court on Friday, Justice Bryan Sykes recommended that the company, Channus Block Factory and Quarry, immediately implement safety measures and provide training for its employees — especially the younger ones — in how to operate the machinery there.
After court, Danielle Archer, one of the attorneys for claimant Curlo Lawrence, described the ruling as a bittersweet one for her client.
"He is relieved and elated," she told the Jamaica Observer, "but clearly, no amount of money can give him back his legs.”
Archer said that the incident has "radically altered" the life of her client, who, along with his physical scars, still bears mental scars.
According to court documents, Lawrence, who is now 28 years old and is the father of a child, was cleaning a concrete mixer at the factory on September 23, 2006 when a coworker turned on the machine.
The blades of the mixer sliced through Lawrence's legs, mangling them all the way up to his pelvic area. His penis and scrotum were also injured as well as his hands.
Lawrence lost both legs, which were only being held on by pieces of flesh after he was removed from the mixer and spent an extended period in hospital.
The incident left Lawrence with 64 per cent disability of the total body.
He subsequently filed a negligence suit against the company.
During the trial, the company denied responsibility, arguing that the employee who turned on the mixer switch did so out of malice.
But Sykes rejected these arguments and made much of the company's lax safety procedures and training.
Lawrence was also represented by attorneys Sean Kinghorn and Allia Leith.
Simone Mayhew represented the respondent.