Clamper left brain damaged from hammer blow sues employer for €2m

A clamper who was left brain-damaged when he was attacked with a hammer when he clamped a car has settled his High Court action for €2m.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross said what happened Gheorghe Pista 44, as he went about his job eight years ago was appalling and disgraceful.

“He was viciously assaulted while going about his job and has been left severely brain damaged. It is appalling and disgraceful,” the judge said.

Mr Pista whose skull was fractured, can only verbalise a few words, walks with difficulty, and needs 24-hour care.

In the High Court yesterday, Mr Pista, who is from Romania, sued his employer, Nationwide Controlled Parking Systems Ltd, as a result of the attack on him by Gerard Sweeney on November 14, 2009, in a car park at Werburgh St, Dublin.

Sweeney, aged 25, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court in 2011 to intentionally or recklessly causing serious harm to Mr Pista and was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment with the final three suspended.

Mr Pista was clamping Sweeney’s girlfriend’s car when Sweeney approached him, shouting and swearing that he was not going to pay the fine. Sweeney took a lump hammer from the boot of the car, and struck Mr Pista in the head, knocking him to the ground.

Mr Pista sustained a fractured skull and had to have a metal plate inserted. He was in a coma for seven weeks and has been left profoundly disabled.

In the High Court, Mr Pista who sued through his sister, Elena Pista, claimed the assault was carried out in circumstances whereby Mr Pista was allegedly instructed by his employer not to remove clamping devices without first receiving payment, regardless of threats to his personal safety.

He further claimed he had been exposed to a risk of injury and claimed his employer had been negligent by allegedly directing him to enforce parking rules in the car park at night, when they either knew or ought to have known it was dangerous to do so, and by allegedly instructing Mr Pista to refuse to remove clamps from vehicles even when under threat of physical violence, and allegedly instructing him to seek authorisation from management prior to releasing any clamp free of charge.

The claims were denied.

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