Reduction Of Damages Where Potential Defendant Not Sued


In the case of Hickey v McGowan and Cosgrove,1 the plaintiff had his award of damages reduced by 10% from €350,000 to €315,000 where he failed to sue all concurrent wrongdoers. This case is significant as it reduced the level of damages payable to the plaintiff on the basis that another party (who was not sued) was vicariously liable for the wrongs committed by another. The plaintiff was awarded €350,000 damages in the High Court for sexual abuse suffered at the hands of the second named defendant, a Marist Brother, whilst a pupil at St John's College in Sligo. The first named defendant, Patrick Joseph McGowan, the Provincial of the Marist Congregation of Ireland, was found vicariously liable for the acts of the Marist Brother. Judge O'Neill awarded the plaintiff €250,000 in general damages to date and €100,000 for general damages into the future. However, Judge O'Neill reduced the plaintiff's award of damages by 10% to €315,000 as he also found the manager of the school, Canon Collins, vicariously liable for the wrongs committed. While Canon Collins exercised little actual control over the Marist Brother, the fact that he had control over his contractual arrangements justified this imposition of...

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