Cape Town - A legal agreement over the damages and loss of earnings that should be paid to a man who suffers imminent amputation of his right leg after being pushed out of a moving train has been made in an order by the Western Cape High Court.
This comes after the court found that lawyers for Masibulele Rautini, 34, and the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa), respectively acted in his best interests by negotiating the settlements, saving the court and counsel a lot of time and money.
Rautini worked as a gardener at Spier Wine Estate earning R1 500 a month when was pushed out of the train between Du Toit and Lynedoch stations in Stellenbosch in 2011, leading him to sue Prasa for damages, loss of earnings and future medical expenses.
The then-21-year-old suffered serious injuries, including severe fractures on his legs and spine.
In the high court, the lawyers prepared joint pre-trial minutes in which they agreed on R1.1 million in damages for Rautini, and R439 120 and R1 004 880 for past and future loss of earnings, respectively.
The court noted the pre-trial agreement was intended to expedite the trial and limit the issues before court.
Shortly after the agreement was reached, however, Prasa’s counsel said they did not have a mandate to negotiate a settlement for the claim – they simply had the mandate to make representations in court.
The high court found that the lawyers acted in Rautini’s best interests when they drafted the agreement.
“They did not have the instructions to settle, but had the instructions to represent the defendant. These instructions, in my view, included the drafting of pleadings on behalf of the defendant, attending pre-trial proceedings, and attending court for the hearing.
“Crucially, all amounts contained in the pre-trial minute and in the draft order are consistent with what is contained in the joint reports of the expert witnesses and case law.”
“Furthermore, upon perusing the joint pre-trial minute, it is evident that both Counsels have applied their minds and considered the relevant case law on general damages, future loss of earnings and the applicable contingencies to cater for the uncertainties.