3095722

Derek Achong

A manufacturing company has lost its bid to recover compensation for damage to its truck caused by low-hanging overhead lines.

In late 2019, Associated Brands Industries Limited sued the T&T Electricity Commission (T&TEC) after the insulated truck body of one of its trucks was damaged by a low-hanging line on November 5, 2015.

T&TEC admitted that the utility pole that the lines were hung from was theirs but denied any wrongdoing as it claimed that lines belonging to the Telecommunications Services of T&T (TSTT) and internet service provider FLOW were hung lower.

Based on the information, the company moved to substitute TSTT as the defendant in the case.

However, TSTT denied any wrongdoing and pointed out that the lawsuit was filed outside of the four year limit for doing so under the Limitations of Certain Actions Act.

While the case was before Justice Ricky Rahim, in January this year, an official from the company’s insurance company gave evidence that its investigations revealed that the lines did in fact belong to T&TEC and that it had performed repairs after the incident.

Delivering a decision late last month, Rahim ruled that the claim against TSTT was statute barred.

“The unfortunate reality of this claim is that the claimant sued the wrong entity and despite the exercise of reasonable diligence was unable to discover the identity of the proper party until well after the expiration of the limitation period in circumstances where its claim is not one of those for which the limitation period is reckoned from the date of discovery of the proper party under section 14 of the Act,” Rahim said.

He also ruled that based on the finding the case could not be reverted to T&TEC.

As part of the decision, the company was ordered to pay TSTT’s legal costs for defending the lawsuit.

TSTT was represented by Keston McQuilkin and Nalini Jagnarine.