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DISTRICT COURT, Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2467, 15 July 1890
ASHBURTON—TUESDAY. [Before His Honor Judge Ward.] PATERSON V. LTJBLOW. For this case a jury of four was empanelled, viz.—Edwin Horsey, Patrick Devane, James Osborne, and George Pocock. Mr Wilding, with him Mr Caygill, appeared for plaintiff, and Mr Purnell for defendant. This was a claim for £19412s lOd, made by Paterson, a laborer, against Lublow, | flax miller, for work done in flax.cutting and damages arising out of breach of contract—£44 12s lOd—and damages for a broken arm caused by the improper and dangerous machinery used by defendant and defendant's negligence—£lso, making a total as above stated. The defence was a general denial of all the allegations made by plaintiff. The case in another form came before the R.M. some time ago, when plaintiff elected to take a nonsuit. Andrew Paterson, plaintiff in the case, said he was a contractor, and on the 22nd March he entered into an agreement with Mr J. G. F. Lublow, flax miller, Westerfield, to cut all the flax of four feet high and over on a portion of land in the vicinity of the mill at 4s 3d per ton. Began to cut on the 2nd of April. In the I plot set out for cutting there would be about IQOO tons. On the 4th April Lublow told witness to stop cutting, as the mill was not going. Replied that it was impossible to stop a contract and keep on paying the men, too, whom witness had employed. Lublow said that would be air right. Stopped cutting on the 25th. The men witness employed were Pye, Brimmer, and Bax, and they were receiving from him 25s each in wages, and found at a cost of 12s 6d each per week. They camped in a shed at the mill. On the 15th April Lublow asked witness to go and help in the mill with his men. The contract for cutting was still suspended. Went with his men to the mill. Had no experience of flax milling. Lublow was in charge of the mill and gave orders. There was no machinist there looking after the machinery. On the 18th of April Lublow was walking about the mill, arid he asked witness if they were not going to turn to and work. Went to the strippers and got in some flax. Lublow went and turned on the water. After going a little while one of the feed belts came off. Witness put it on again. Shortly afterwards another came off, and meanwhile the rollers became choked with flax. Cleaned all the flax out of the rollers, and having done so looked up and saw Mr Lublow trying to take the belt off the shaft rounds which it had become warped. Went on feeding the other stripper, and Brimmer went to try to put the belt right. He did not succeed, and Lublow beckoned to witness to come. The shaft was revolving at 150 per minute. The water had not been turned off nor the machieery slowed down. There was no appliance for slowing down the machinery, only turning off the water altogether. When witness went up to Lublow, the latter asked him to take the belt off. Tried to catch the belt, with his right hand. Could not say how the belt caught his left hand, but he found himself pulled over the shaft. Did not know any more until he came to himself after the mill was stopped. He was then lying under the shaft, Had no idea there was any unusual risk attached to taking the belt off, otherwise he would not have gone near it. When his coat was taken off, after being removed from the mill, it was found his arm was broken. Had suffered much from this arm, and was not yet able to work, not being able to lift anything with it. The men went on to cut flax for Mr Lublow about the 28th April. Next time witness saw Lublow was on the Ist of May at Westerfield. Lublow said he had not time to do any business with him then, but witness could see him at the shop at Ashburton that day. Went to Lublow's shop in Ashburton the same day, Rugg being with witness. On asking for a settlement, Lublow said he could do nothing until the account owing to Zander for storee was produced. Went to Zander's and got a slip of paper with the total amount owing written upon it. Lublow declined to take this, and wanted a fully made out bill. He also said the flax had not been weighed, and he would not pay for any more than twelve tons. Witness said the quantit? was more like forty tons. It was Lublow's business to weigh the flax. Lublow lost his temper, cursed and swore, and ordered witness to leave his premises and never come back. Put the matter in the hands of a solicitor almost directly afterwards. Lublow put the contract for flax cutting in the hands of the men who had been working for witness. In the month of April last, a man would cut and tie about two tons of flax. At the first cutting there were four men at work for three days and a half, — about twenty-eight tons. At the second cutting three men were at work, but could not say how many tons they cut. On the 2nd May witness went to the mill, taking a teelyard with him, and weighed the flax. The bundles averaged 851bs, and there were about 900 bundles. The whole 900 were oaken away in about 20 loads. Mr Lublow never made any objection to the size of the bundles. There was no certificate on any of the machinery from the Government Inspector. By Mr Purnell: The memorandum of weights produced was copied by Mr Braddell from one made by witness before the case was heard in the R.M. Court. Had had experience of flax cutting in the North Island, and down south. Did not know what experience the men had. Lublow had complained that the flax was being cut too low. Had paid the men ! £11 for work done for witness, and was ! not aware that witness had paid them, too. At the conversation with Lublow on Ist May, deieridant did not mention the figure twenty tons. Did not tell the men to stop cutting, but threatened to <?o so unless Lublow paid him. On the 15th April Lublow asked witness to go to work in the mill because the flax was getting dry and spoiling. Did not ask what wages he was to receive. The day before the accident witness replaced a belt that had come off, but it was not warped round the shafb (plan produced.) Could not recognise the plan produced as a plan of the mill. The strippers were choked because of the belt coming off, and withdrawing the driving power from the strippers. Tried to catch the end of the belt to throw it over the shaft quicker than the shaft was revolving. Was quite certain that it was Mr Lublow who had previously broken one of the wheels in the mill, and not witness. Did not think he was doing anything wrong in trying to catch the end of the belt. By Mr Wilding : The belts had come off before in Lublow's absence, and they had been put right by witness turning off the water. [Left sitting.]
DISTRICT COURT, Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2467, 15 July 1890
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