WRULD Claims heard in Courts in England, Scotland and Wales

Hearing(s) - Goldstraw (Lisa) - v - Lucas Rists Wiring Systems

Date Court Claimant(s) Task Injury Judgment for
Oct 1999Stoke CountyGoldstrawHandling / Assembling vehicle wiring loomsPain SyndromeDefendant

Mrs Goldstraw began working for Lucas when she was 20 years old, in January 1994. At that time she had had no problems with her arms. Her work involved the construction of electrical circuits for motor cars. She went on a training course at the commencement of her employment and began working on components for a Toyota Penta. She worked from Monday to Friday from 9.15 am to 4.30 pm with a 30 minute break for lunch and two 10 minute breaks during the day. On a Saturday, she worked for six hours and in addition did some 2/3 hours overtime each week.

It was not in dispute that the work required numerous repetitive hand and wrist movements and the Defendant knew that the work carried the risk of it causing injury to an operative. The accident reports disclosed during the course of the trial showed that employees did experience problems with their upper limbs, particularly when carrying out the taping process. Mrs Goldstraw apparently began to experience some problems after about a month in employment with the Defendant. The medical records showed that she saw the works nurse on the 16th February 1994, and the works doctor on the 18th February, who diagnosed an upper limb disorder. During 1994 Mrs Goldstraw was seen by the works doctor on occasions. She was taken off the taping job and did pre-blocking and kitting work, but by mid May the works doctor considered her well enough to resume work on the carousel but not to do full time taping.

By the 13th June of 1994, Mrs Goldstraw's GP had diagnosed "Tennis Elbow" and she had some time off work. Her problems continued throughout 1994 and on the 25th January 1995, the works doctor concluded that she was not fit for work. She supplied medical certificates throughout 1995 and her employment was eventually terminated in March 1996.

The Plaintiff's case was that the Defendant exposed her to a foreseeable risk of injury and that once her symptoms began to develop, they put her on a different type of work from taping, namely pre-blocking work which also carried a risk of causing upper limb disorder. The Claimant said that the Defendant could have removed the risk by greater rotation of jobs and breaks and less pressure of work. The Defendant's case was that they did not accept that there was anything wrong with the Claimant.

The Defendant's medical expert considered that there was no evidence of organic disease and was of the view that Mrs Goldstraw was malingering. The Claimant's medical expert described Mrs Goldstraw in a report as having "Diffuse forearm pain syndromes" and during the trial as having "an old fashioned repetitive strain injury" the proper description of which was "neuroplasticity". HH Judge Hughes took the view that "This really amounts to extreme pain with no identifiable cause in a physical sense" and went on to find that the Claimant had failed to establish that she had suffered an injury or that her disability from that injury continued.

HH Judge Hughes found that the Defendant recognised that there was a risk of injury developing in certain people whilst they were carrying out the taping process, that they carried out assessments of it and took all reasonable steps to minimise it. The Claimant submitted that the Defendant had a statutory duty of care imposed upon them by the Manual Handling Regulations, which HH Judge Hughes did not accept.


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Last updated: 16/10/2009