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David Lyons v Wm Morrisons Supermarkets PLC [2010] CSOH 50


The pursuer was employed by the defenders at a supermarket in St. Andrews. During the course of his employment the pursuer stacked shelves. On two separate occasions in December 2005 and a month later, the pursuer injured his back whilst lifting heavy goods within the supermarket. Following the second accident the pursuer was off work for two weeks, after which he was initially returned to light duties. Since then the pursuer has performed his normal duties despite suffering back pain throughout the period. Here at proof liability was not in dispute and the only issue between the parties was the assessment of solatium. Expert medical evidence was led on behalf of both parties. It was submitted on behalf of the pursuers that the pursuer's back was subjected to unusually severe stresses in the course of the accidents and had resulted in a chronic back problem. It was submitted on behalf of the defenders that the accidents aggravated a pre-existing minor strain to the pursuer's back but it was likely that the damage would have happened anyway. Here the court considered whether the continuing chronic problems to the pursuer's back were attributable to the accidents or whether the continuing problems would have occurred in any event as a result of the pursuer's body building which, had it not been for the accidents, would have placed severe strains upon his already damaged spine.