Man who suffered life-threatening injuries on team-building exercise settles High Court action

ireland
Man Who Suffered Life-Threatening Injuries On Team-Building Exercise Settles High Court Action
Barry Griffin (43) suffered life-threatening injuries, was rendered tetraplegic and now has to use a wheelchair after he fell while on a team-building exercise with colleagues, during which they climbed Carrauntoohil.
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A man who suffered catastrophic injuries when he fell over 500 feet as he descended Carrauntoohil, the highest mountain in Ireland, has settled his High Court action.

After day-long talks, the action by Barry Griffin (43), an engineering manager with Dublin Air Traffic Control, against the Irish Aviation Authority was settled, Mr Justice Tony O'Connor was told late on Friday afternoon.

Mr Griffin's counsel Shane English BL also told the judge the case against the Kerry operator who organises team building exercises, Pat Falvey (Irish and Worldwide Adventures Ltd) of Beaufort, Killarney, Co Kerry was being withdrawn.

The terms of the settlement against the Irish Aviation Authority are confidential.

Team-building exercise

Mr Griffin, Carlton Court, Swords, Co Dublin was on a work team-building exercise in the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks mountain range in Co Kerry when the accident happened five years ago.

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It was claimed he impacted repeatedly with rocks as he fell and suffered life-threatening injuries, was rendered tetraplegic and now has to use a wheelchair.

His action was against his employer, the Irish Aviation Authority, and he claimed he understood the team building mountain trek to be compulsory.

All the claims were denied and full defences had been filed in the case.

Mr Griffin’s counsel Edward Walsh SC, instructed by Stephen MacKenzie solicitors, at the outset told the court the case was of critical importance to Mr Griffin and as many as 65 witnesses were scheduled to give evidence.

Mr Griffin had claimed in May 2013 that he participated in a trip to Mount Brandon which was organised by his employer and he believed it was compulsory.

The following year and in May 2015, he participated in trips to Carrauntoohil, which he also believed to be compulsory.

On April 25th, 2016 Mr Griffin claimed he was informed by the Irish Aviation Authority that a fourth team building trip had been organised and it was understood by him to be compulsory in the course of his employment. He alleged the exact details of the exercise were not disclosed.

Demanding mountaineering

He claimed he was part of a very large group from the Irish Aviation Authority who participated in the team-building exercise on May 19th, 2016 and they were required to climb to the summit of Carrauntoohil, followed by the ascent and descent of Cnoc na Tionne.

He claimed after being directed and required to undertake a demanding mountaineering trek lasting several hours over challenging terrain, the group were allegedly instructed to descend the north-west aspect of the north-eastern spur of Cnoc na Tionne, which he alleged was via a narrow unkempt and exposed route about 600 metres above sea level.

He further claimed he fell about 574 feet down the face of the mountain onto his back and it was alleged he developed very significant gravitational momentum and was unable to control or stop his fall.

Against the Irish Aviation Authority, he claimed a team-building exercise was organised when it ought to have known it was allegedly dangerous and there was an alleged failure to have regard for the level of expertise required to successfully or safely trek Carrauntoohil and Cnoc na Tionne.

He had further claimed he was allegedly allowed to form an impression or to believe he was under an obligation to attend or participate in the exercise.

These claims were denied.

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