Man withdraws back injury case after video evidence

A quality controller suing a meat company for a back injury withdrew his case yesterday, after the judge gave the parties time for a further examination of videos of the plaintiff’s activities.

Following the brief adjournment of the High Court sitting in Cork, Oleg Shevelov indicated that he was withdrawing his case against his employer.

Mr Shevelov, from Rathowen, Fermoy, brought his case against Kepak, of Clonlee, Co Meath, arising out of the alleged accident at Condonstown, Watergrasshill, Co Cork, in August 2011.

The plaintiff was seen on video earlier in the case carrying a fridge and furniture at car boot sales. Having seen the videos,

Mr Justice Michael Hanna said the man’s walk appeared to be bouncy and normal on the recordings.

The judge said: “The problem a person might have, looking at those videos, is that we are looking at someone who looks 100% normal, carrying on normally, doing his business, having a bouncy, walking gait.

“You are lifting box-chairs, lifting two bikes belonging to children … You seemed to be moving around, doing stuff like any normal man might do.”

The judge added, in relation to his concerns about the videos, taken by a private investigator on behalf of the defence: “My difficulty becomes your difficulty, only more so.”

John Lucey, defence senior counsel, put it to the plaintiff: “You told Kepak you did not want to do lifting, but the videos show you lifting.”

Mr Shevelov replied: “The tasks on video, I could not do for eight hours a day, as a job, and those items were not heavy weights.”

Mr Justice Hanna said: “That is the problem, because you said that a small amount of [lifting] work could give rise to a significant amount of pain.”

Mr Shevelov said: “I did all those jobs with difficulty for myself. It was not just that I did the job without any consequences for me. I learned how to manage my pain.”

He said the lifting activities shown in the video caused him pain, but the primary reason for his pain was the lifting injury he suffered in August, 2011, at Kepak’s meat-boning hall, where he he had to pull meat from large bins.

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