Judgment was issued today by the Supreme Court of Jamaica in the case of Janet Edwards vs Jamaica Beverages Ltd. The Court awarded a significant sum – US$3.1 million plus an additional J$66 million plus interest- in a landmark case, for an amount materially out of line with any previous judgments awarded in Jamaica as well as in the wider Caribbean region.
The background to this judgment is that Ms. Janet Edwards was an employee of Jamaica Beverages Ltd and was unfortunately injured in a robbery at the company’s Montego Bay warehouse many years ago. Though the company’s insurers did not accept liability for the cost of medical care, Jamaica Beverages Ltd has contributed to the payment of medical costs and continued care for Ms. Edwards since the incident in 2000.
Notwithstanding the above, over the course of events, Jamaica Beverages Ltd has already made payments totaling some US$494,000 or approximately J$64million to Janet Edwards and her legal team, but the parties were unable to conclude a settlement arrangement out of court through “without prejudice” discussions between attorneys for both parties. Consequently, the parties resorted to litigation.
The Judgment today not only adversely affects the operations of the company, but also its viability. Jamaica Beverages Ltd has no choice but to exercise its options under the laws of Jamaica and intends to appeal the decision and will apply for a stay of execution in order to continue serving its stakeholders, including its customers and employees.