Given the information provided in the case, the possible defendants would include the new graduate who designed the work platform, the supervisor, and the developer who employs the new graduate and his supervisor.
The different elements of negligence are duty of care, breach of duty, factual causation or direct cause, legal causation or remoteness, and harm.
In the point of view of supervisor, the above elements are explained as follows.
- Duty of care – it is the duty of the supervisor to ensure that all his staff performs their duties at par with standards. It appears that the supervisor didn’t exercise the requisite duty of care.
- Breach of duty – to decide on whether there is a breach of duty, there is a need to look at the supervisor’s contract on the degree of care demanded from him. If cursory supervision is accepted in the organization, then there might be not breach of duty.
- Factual causation – it is clear that the collapse of the work platform resulted to the loss or damage sustained by the plaintiffs, however it has to be made sure that the collapse of the platform is a direct result of the breach of duty of the supervisor.
- Legal causation – here the supervisor’s apparent breach of duty would have to be classified as to its ‘nearness’ to the harm sustained by the defendants.
- Harm – it is clear that there was harm done to the plaintiffs. Of course, the question on whether they will receive compensation is whether the supervisor’s breach of duty resulted to this harm.
In conclusion, managers “are not only responsible for their own actions and those of their [staff]” (Warlick 2000, p. 22). Hence, to prevent the possibility of legal liabilities from negligence, managers, must at all times, perform what is expected of them.
The writer SM Fahad is a business student graduate from Bahria University Karachi.