Farm worker threatens lawsuit after being shot during robbery

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

– File photo

A farm attendant with a local chicken producer shot in the back by a criminal attempting a robbery at its farm in east Trinidad in March has asked for $500,000 in a pre-litigation settlement.

Neil Letren’s attorney Richard Jaggasar said the company failed to provide a safe place for its workers.

The attorney sent a pre-action protocol letter to the company’s general manager on May 23, asking for an amicable and quick resolution.

If there is no agreement, Jaggasar said he had instructions to file a personal injury claim for compensation for his client.

On March 10, Letren, 37, was on the job when he interrupted a robbery at the farm and was shot at, the letter said.

Letren was taken to the Arima Health Facility and then the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mt Hope, for treatment. The bullet entered and exited through the right and left lower back causing a fracture to his rib and spine. He has been diagnosed with permanent partial disability of ten per cent.

Jaggasar said there have been frequent robberies at the farm which also led to workers being shot or pistol-whipped.

In January, there was a break-in at one of the pens and in February, a night worker was held at gunpoint by seven men who were stealing chickens, the letter added.

The attorney alleged Letren asked for flood lights, armed security and a K9 officer on the site during the night shift, but each request was denied.

Jagassar said since the incident, Letren has had to request sick leave payment from the National Insurance Board and was allegedly told by the company, that he would have to repay the company the money being paid to him while on sick leave after he gets his NIS payments.

Jaggasar cited several cases of personal injury on the job.

“In respect of the obligation to provide a safe place of work, an employer is required not merely to warn the employee against unusual danger, but to make the place of employment as safe as the exercise of reasonable skill and care would permit.”

He said he had advised his client that the company was negligent by failing to secure the safety of workers by hiring security guards on the compound.

The company was given 14 days to respond to the letter.