IRAC Example

Topics: Tort, Tort law, Duty of care Pages: 6 (1836 words) Published: October 9, 2014
IRAC Example 2:

Hilift Pty Ltd (Hilift) owns an industrial crane.  Hilift employs two crane operators, Elwyn and Osman, who each work 4 hour shifts.  In May 2008 the owner/builder of a new apartment block hires Hilift’s crane and operators for two weeks to lift building materials to the upper floors of their building.  At the end of the first shift on the 10 May, Elwyn notifies the manager of Hilift that the crane is not performing properly and that it needs looking at.  The manager contacts the company who does repairs and maintenance work on the crane, EFL Engineering, and asks for an engineer to be sent out immediately.  EFL says that no-one is available for two hours. The manager of Hilift decides to allow Osman to begin his shift before the engineer arrives, since to stop work will delay construction. Osman is halfway through hoisting his first load when a cable in the crane snaps and the crane swings out of control, smashing into a lower floor of the building.  Two construction workers in the building are injured. One has both legs crushed and they have to be amputated.  The other worker will be hospitalised for a long time with serious injuries but will make a full recovery.  The building is damaged by the accident and will cost $75,000 to repair.  The construction of the building is delayed by three months because of the accident, and for this period the expected income from tenants is lost. Osman is deeply traumatized by these events and cannot bring himself to drive a crane again.   After a period of six months without employment, during which he receives psychiatric treatment, Osman takes lower paid work as a general construction worker.  A subsequent inspection of the crane finds that the fault in the cable would have been discovered if an engineer had inspected the crane after Elwyn’s shift had ended. To replace this cable would have taken six hours.

Advise Hilift as to whether, and to what extent, the company will be liable in tort for the harm that has occurred.


Hilift Pty Ltd owns industrial crane
May 2008: hired to lift building materials to upper floor of new apartment block Hilift is aware crane is not performing properly
Hilift contacts repairs company
Hilift allows Osman to work before crane is looked at
Cable in crane snaps
Causes $75 000 of property damage and delays construction by 3 months Osman is traumatized, cannot drive crane again
Fault in cable would have been discovered by engineer

Advise Hilift as to whether, and to what extent, the company will be liable in tort for the harm that has occurred.

Consider: Osman, Construction Worker 1, Construction Worker 2 and the building owner using IRAC.

Is the company liable in tort for the harm that has occurred to Osman, Construction Worker 1, Construction Worker 2 and the building manager and to what extent?

Tort of Negligence:
The respondent in a civil claim of negligence will only be liable to the applicant/plaintiff by way of damages if the following elements are established on the balance of probabilities: 1. That a duty of care was owed by the respondent to the plaintiff in the relevant situation; Here you would cite cases if relevant – specific tests/standards etc. 2. That the respondent breached that duty of care owed to the plaintiff; and Again, cite case authority and any applicable standards – e.g. “reasonable person” 3. That the plaintiff has suffered some injury or damage as a result of that breach. Case authority – e.g. the injury must be reasonably foreseeable.

Apply – Osman

1. Duty of care?
Hilift reasonably ought to have been able to foresee, and clearly did know, that there would be risk that the crane would malfunction or break which would likely cause physical or psychological harm to the crane operator, if he did not wait for the maintenance / repairs company. This is supported by the fact that the other operator, Elwyn, notifies the manager of Hilift...
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