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Edward Pratt (A.P.) v. The Scottish Ministers [2009] CSOH 31


Debate:- In this action the pursuer, a prison officer, sought damages from the defenders, the employers of the pursuer, in respect of mental health consequences of an incident at work on 3 August 1997. On that date the pursuer had intervened in a fight between prisoners during the course of which the pursuer ingested a quantity of blood from one of the participants in the fight who was known to be an intravenous drug user. The pursuer attended hospital for blood tests the following day and a week later he was signed off work suffering from depression. The test results were ultimately clear, however, the pursuer developed a depressive illness and between 1998 and 2001 he was intermittently off work for periods of time before leaving the Prison Service. At debate here the question was whether the pursuer had pled a valid case or, as the defenders stated, that the claim should be dismissed as irrelevant. Here the court applied the test of whether, even on proof of all of the averments, the pursuer's claim would still necessarily fail.