A judge has dismissed a €60,000 personal injury action by a 79-year-old farmer who “suffered horrible injuries” when attacked and knocked out by a ‘mad cow’ at a mart four years ago.
Farmer Noel Broggy told Ennis Circuit Court he was flattened and knocked out when attacked by a cow at Sixmilebridge Mart, Co Clare on May 6, 2017.
Mr Broggy was attacked while retrieving an unsold cow and calf of his from a pen at the mart where there where five or six other cattle also present.
Farming since he was aged 14, Mr Broggy said that he was “lying in a pool of blood” on the ground after he suffered a head wound that required 13 stitches after the cow attack.
Giving evidence in his personal injury action against Sixmilebridge Co-Operative Mart Ltd, Mr Broggy told the court: “This cow went for me – I didn’t know she was a mad cow, I knew nothing about the cow.
“She hit me in the stomach. I was knocked out unconscious.
“I got a fair rattling off the ground. I was lucky enough that she flattened me where I was – that is what saved me,” he said.
“If she brought me over to the bars, my neck and my back could have been broken.”
Mr Broggy’s son Donal Thomas told the court that he ran against the 700 kilo animal after he saw her “butting my father with her head”.
“I thought he was dead. His hands were still in the air. There was no breathing,” Donal Thomas Broggy said.
He told the court that the cow that attacked his father then left the pen with the other animals through an open gate.
The witness said that his father came around after being put on a chair and an ambulance took him to University Hospital Limerick, where he remained for one night and two days.
Turning 80 next month, Noel Broggy said with the vertigo brought on by the attack, he wasn’t able to tie his shoelaces or wash his hair.
He said he had the vertigo for three and a half years after the attack.
Mr Broggy’s claim also stated that as a result of the attack, he wasn’t able to jive or dance.
The owner of 60 suckler cattle said: “Only for my son, I would have to sell the cattle to be honest with you.”
Mr Broggy’s personal injury action against the mart firm was based on his contention that there was a fractious cow in an isolation pen and she was let through by the mart with the other animals into the pen where he was attacked.
Mr Broggy, represented by David O’Regan BL and instructed by Sharon Curley of Carmody and Co Solicitors, told the court that the fractious cow “was in the isolation pen and they (the mart) should have put her back in the isolation pen and not mixed her with my cow and calf”.
Then manager of the Sixmilebridge Mart, Sean Ryan, denied this telling the court that there was no fractious cow in an isolation pen and if any cow is identified as fractious, the farmer is asked to take her home before they even enter the mart.
Mr Ryan said that the only animals placed in an isolation pen are those who are not compliant with Department of Agriculture regulations.
Judge Brian O’Callaghan dismissed Mr Broggy’s case stating there was a lack of evidence linking what may have been a fractious cow to the cow who attacked Mr Broggy.
Judge O’Callaghan said that no direct evidence was provided concerning the identity of the cow who attacked Mr Broggy. He said: “No-one has said that the fractious cow is the same animal who attacked Mr Broggy.”
Judge O’Callaghan said that Mr Broggy suffered “horrible injuries” and “gave the most honest and clear-cut evidence”.
The mart cannot be held responsible for ‘the odd beast’ who would surprise every one with a bad turn unless there is a breach of duty by the mart, the judge said.
There is no breach of duty by the mart as there is no evidence that the system was bad at the mart in controlling access to animals, he added.
Judge O’Callaghan said that even if he did find against the mart over permitting Mr Broggy into the pen, he found Mr Broggy at least 75pc responsible and dismissed the action on that point.
Mr Ryan told the court that the Sixmilebridge mart is very successful. Only recently retired after 10 years in the role, Mr Ryan said: “We are responsible in the mart and we run a responsible mart. We have a very good safety record at Sixmilebridge mart.”
Mr Ryan added there was no pool of blood found in the pen after the May 2017 incident.
Judge O’Callaghan made no order in relation to the costs of the case meaning that Noel Broggy does not have to pay the mart’s legal costs after losing the action.
If you have been injured by livestock and it was not your fault, contact us now to see if you could claim.