On August 29, the Gomel Regional Court examined the appeal lodged by the OJSC "Gomel Chemical Factory". In 2017, their rescue employee, Kirill Romanov, died perished while performing some emergency work initiated on the eve of the arrival of president Alexander Lukashenko to the district. Parents have claimed compensation of moral harm from the factory.
In the spring, the Sovietsky District Court ruled to collect BYN 50,000 from the chemical factory in favour of Kirill's parents. The factory bosses considered that it was too much, and asked the regional court to reconsider the decision and recover from the factory five times less – BYN 10,000.
The 33-year-old resident of Gomel, Kirill Romanov, died in a rush work dated to the arrival of the head of Belarus. He had worked as a driver of the rescue squad of the factory. On the day of his death, Kirill and his colleagues were sent to clean the cowsheds, as Alexander Lukashenko had supposed to come.
The "Morozovichi-Agro" Farm is a structural unit of the chemical factory. Washing the cowshed roof was not among Kirill Romanov's duty as a driver of the rescue squad. But his bosses ordered. Chemical factory rescuers were cleaning sort of windows on that roof – openings covered with polycarbonate sheets. Kirill stepped on one of them and fell from the height of 6.6 meters onto concrete floor. He died on the spot. His young widow left with two young children – aged three and six years at that time.
Kirill's parents lost their health after their son's death – they suffered heart attacks and hypertensive crises. His father, Ivan Romanov, received disability due to heart disease.
"The family of the deceased is the wife and children"
The appeal lodged by the factory was considered by a panel of judges chaired by Sergey Shitikov. The position of the chemical factory at the trial was supported by Elena Pomazkova, the head of the legal division of the OJSC "Gomel Chemical Factory". She noted that the factory asked the court to reduce the amount of compensation for moral harm from BYN 50,000 down to BYN 10,000, based on the following:
- The labour safety violations revealed during the check conducted after the death of Kirill Romanov were not directly related to his death;
- The driver of the rescue squad is to blame for his own death, as he violated the safety rules;
- The chemical factory has paid the widow and the young children the money stipulated for such cases by the legislation and the collective agreement.
"We don't think it right to say that it was a family. For us, the family is the wife and children of Kirill Romanov. Of course, there are parents, but they maintain their separate household; they live separately; and their son didn't maintain them. If we talk about the family so broadly, we can recall both grandparents and aunts, who also have the right to come and claim compensation of moral harm. But, excuse me, there is the law that limits the family of the deceased to his wife and young children," the factory representative has stated.
A colleague of Elena Pomazkova, an employee of the factory's legal service, has added that "the instrument of judicial recovery should serve to restore the violated rights, compensate for moral sufferings, and not to be a way to earn money."
"We'll give you all the money – just return the living son to us!"
Anna Romanova, the mother of the deceased, was outraged by the behaviour of the factory representatives at the trial.
"If they state here that we are earning from our son's death – this is just blasphemy. We'll give you all the money – just return the living son to us! How can you even say that? What is it to bury one's only son, the hope for support in old age ...," said Anna Romanova.
She is sure that the chemical factory hadn't cared about the safety of its employees, Kirill and his colleagues had no safety means, when they were sent to work on the roof; the work organization was awful: some workers washed the roof; others painted it immediately after that.
The interests of Ivan Romanov, the deceased Kirill's father, at the trial were represented by Leonid Sudalenko, a legal inspector of the REP Trade Union.
"The respondent speaks about the principles of reasonableness and justice – everyone can understand them in one's own way. I draw attention to the fact that parents lost their only son. It is clear to any person that such a loss cannot be compensated for in any way. Parents lost their health, children were left without father," the legal inspector has emphasized.
The court decided to dismiss the complaint lodged by the chemical factory, and upheld the decision of the Sovietsky District Court. This means that the amount of compensation for the suffered moral harm will be as the one defined by the first-instance court – BYN 50,000.
After the trial, Kirill Romanov's mother said that "the respondent's behaviour was disgusting; it seemed that we were left to blame for something, not they."
"We've died with our son. We no longer have holidays or joy. I don't wish anyone anything like that. Kirill was very good and very conscientious and honest. We've devoted all our efforts to his education. Now, his children grow without father, and we live on medicines," Anna Romanova added.
Leonid Sudalenko believes that since parents were satisfied with the decision of today's trial, then, these are the principles of reasonableness and justice that had been discussed at the session.