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Money printing firm ordered to pay sacked worker Sh19m

BUSINESS
By Julius Chepkwony | July 25th 2020

The High Court has ordered British multinational, De La Rue Currency and Security Print Ltd (above), to pay a former employee more than Sh19 million as work injury compensation.

Justice Joseph Sergon ordered De La Rue to pay David Nzioka a total of Sh19,174,128 following a suit he filed in court in 2009.

“I am satisfied that on a balance of probabilities, the plaintiff has established that the defendant breached a duty of care it owed to the plaintiff,” said Justice Sergon.

Nzioka, as per the suit, was employed by the money printing firm on January 12, 1998 but was terminated on April 8, 2008 on medical grounds.

He said that on October 12, 2006, he was instructed to count some papers when he injured his lower back. He said he was never trained on manual handling as required.

The plaintiff said the accident incapacitated him, and claimed general damages for pain and suffering, damages for loss of earning capacity and future medical expenses.

He claimed the company caused to be published the safety flash dated October 12, 2006 - after he was injured - to train other employees.

During the hearing, the court heard that Nzioka had no pre-existing back problems at the time of employment.

Though he sustained injuries while in the line of duty, Nzioka said at the time of termination he was not given any compensation despite a promise that the company would cater for future medical expenses.

Needed surgery

A medical scan indicated that Nzioka suffered a prolapsed disc and needed surgery.

“He stated that after the surgery which was done on November 27, 2008, he was put on back rest and he could neither work nor walk due to the back problem,” read part of the court judgement.

David Oluoch Olunya, a consultant neurosurgeon and a professor at the University of Nairobi, who testified in court, said he did a surgical procedure on Nzioka and assessed his condition as total incapacity.

Prof Olunya said Nzioka was not able to perform any physical work and required continued pain management.

He said Nzioka required further medical interventions including more implants to continue his medical therapy.

Olunya said the plaintiff would require Sh300,000 for implants and hospital admission, Sh180,000 for home care, Sh2 million for inpatient fee, Sh265,000 surgery fee and Sh10,000 per month for review for the rest of his life.

In its defence, De La Rue denied responsibility for the injury, arguing that Nzioka had a pre-existing medical condition. It, however, failed to prove the claim.

The court, in its judgement, noted that Nzioka had established that De La Rue breached a duty of care it owed its employee.

He noted that Nzioka, as a result, had undergone pain and suffering and consequently lost his job and suffered total incapacitation.

“The defendant’s failure to provide training on lifting machines solely caused the plaintiff to sustain the injuries particularised in the plaint and shown in the medical reports produced in this court,” the judgement said.

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