Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016

SD v Graham's Dairies Ltd [2016] CSOH 151

The pursuer suffered an accident and subsequently suffered significant back problems and depression.  There was argument in relation to (1) causation and (2) whether the pursuer’s partner, SH, was entitled to a claim for services.

The defenders’ contention that the accident had caused only a short term exacerbation of pre-existing symptoms was rejected.  Lord Armstrong noted that predicting the onset of symptoms from a pre-existing condition was not something that occurred in clinical practice and so a holistic approach was required.

It was held that the pursuer was in a relationship akin to marriage, notwithstanding the fact that they lived apart:

“[71] In this context, the evidence in the case which I accept is that the pursuer and SH had been in a relationship since about November 2012; their daughter was born on 27 November 2013; although at the material time, the date of the index accident, the pursuer and SH did not reside under the same roof, the reason for that was her decision to accommodate the wishes of her daughter, aged 10 years, from her previous relationship; that her daughter had a strong relationship with the pursuer and regularly spent time at his home; that the long term intention of both the pursuer and SH is that they will reside together; that the pursuer named SH as his next of kin on the day of the index accident; that she visited his home daily, and contributed to the household by assisting him in bathing and dressing, and attending to housework, cooking, gardening and shopping; that she supported him emotionally and financially; and that the relationship was committed and stable. Although the increase in her contribution to the household occurred after the index accident, the fact that it happened gives rise to a legitimate inference to be drawn as to the nature and depth of their relationship prior to that time.”

Senior Counsel were Robert Milligan QC for the Pursuer and Ian Mackay QC for the Defenders, both of Compass Chambers. A copy of the Opinion can be found here.

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