Thursday 19 September 2019

Judge finds WFC Oil Ltd. responsible for damage to jeep

WFC Oil Ltd. have been held responsible in court for damage done to a jeep after 'contaminated' fuel was put into it.

However, Judge William Earley ruled at the civil sitting of Wexford District Court on January 22 that claimant Nicholas Jordan, of The Old Thatch, Duncormick, was not entitled to the €7,500 value of the jeep, as it had not been officially 'written off' by a qualified assessor.

Mr Jordan was instead awarded a decree for only €4,002.63 out of the more than €11,000 sought, as the Judge said he could award only for the costs of the attempted repairs to the jeep, and other costs incurred when the vehicle was first off the road.

Proceedings that lasted more than two hours began with Mr Jordan telling how he bought €84 of diesel at the WFC premises in Drinagh on Thursday May 10, 2012. However, it began to give trouble the next day as they were driving to Donegal. It ended up being towed home from Kilmacanogue, and it 'was never right again'. It is now parked up in Mr Jordan's yard, not in use.

There was lengthy evidence regarding the fuel from expert witness John Goff, a petrochemical analyst. He said a sample from Mr Jordan's fuel tank showed an 'unacceptably high' level of biodiesel (an organic product added to 'ordinary' diesel by oil companies). On the other hand, a sample taken from the tanks at the WFC premises the following Monday showed no biodiesel presence at all. However, any presence there would have been greatly affected by a delivery of 16,000 litres of fresh fuel on May 11, the day after Mr Jordan was there.

Ms Karen Farrell, Operations Manager with WFC, said they had no control over how much biodiesel is added to fuel.

Judge Earley ruled that WFC were liable for the damage done to the jeep, but that he could not award the value of the jeep itself. 'Written off means that the cost of repairs would be more than the value of the vehicle, and I have no evidence of that,' he explained.

Wexford People