Kitchen porter drops case against restaurant

A kitchen porter in a Killarney restaurant who sued for a back injury suffered lifting a large pot of water from a sink withdrew his case yesterday following lengthy cross-examination at the High Court.

Robert Tokar commenced his civil action before Mr Justice Michael Hanna in Cork on Monday, against Theo’s Restaurant Ltd, trading as La Rambla. By yesterday afternoon, Dr John O’Mahony, senior counsel, said the plaintiff was withdrawing his case.

Mr Tokar said his job was to wash dishes and help the chefs, a job he did for two years prior to the accident on February 27, 2013.

“I had to fill the pot with cold water and carry the pot on to the stove,” he said.

He testified that he told his boss he did not want to perform this task, but she allegedly told him if he didn’t do it there were 10 people around whom she could get to do his job.

He said he filled the large pot to within 4ins of the brim and lifted it out of the sink. “I felt a crack [in back] and dropped the pot in to the sink. I felt pain in my lower back and left leg. I felt obliged to work on [from noon when the accident happened until midnight when the shift ended] because I was afraid to stop work as she told me before I might lose my job.”

John Lucey, defence senior counsel, said to the plaintiff during cross-examination: “You know my position is that you are exaggerating, you are untruthful and you cannot give a correct version of events.”

Questioned about when he told the chef about his injury and the differing accounts he gave in direct evidence and in cross-examination, Mr Tokar said through an interpreter he had misunderstood the question.

Mr Lucey said when the plaintiff was describing what happened for professional parties in the case, he variously described lifting a pot containing 40 to 50 litres of water and even up to 60 litres. However, Mr Lucey said the capacity of the pot was 25 litres.


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