Thursday 23 March 2017

Army therapist loses €60k damages case after fall in TGI Friday's when dress and high heels got entangled

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Saurya Cherfi

A 36-year-old army consultant therapist slipped and fell in a TGI Friday’s restaurant after her long floaty dress and high heels became entangled, the Circuit Civil Court has heard.

Joanne Smith, who lost a €60,000 damages claim against the restaurant, denied she had difficulty walking on the night of November 9, 2013, and claimed she slipped and fell on water. 

She told the court that she and husband Aidan decided to have dinner at TGI Friday’s, St Stephen’s Green, Dublin, after they had gone to a Ludovico Einaudi concert at the National Concert Hall. 

Smith, a mother of two of Raphoe Road, Crumlin, Dublin, told barrister Eamon Marray, for the restaurant, that she was wearing a long black dress and high heels and had no difficulty walking. 

The court heard that as she was following a waitress and her husband to their table, Smith slipped and fell, landing heavily on her left side and hand.  She had been embarrassed and stunned. 

She said she got up and joined her husband who had been unaware she had fallen.  Her dress had been wet and she had seen water spillage on the floor. 

The court heard she suffered pain in her lower back, left leg and wrist.  She had been out of work for several weeks and sued Chicago Rock Café Ltd, trading as TGI Friday’s, of Leisureplex Retail Park, Malahide Road, Coolock, Dublin, for negligence.

TGI Friday’s denied liability and claimed Smith had made no complaint on the night about the floor or her dress being wet.  The restaurant claimed Ms Smith had fallen because her dress and heels became entangled. 

Mr Marray said former TGI Friday’s manager, Ms Robin Sadler, had been informed of the fall and immediately went to see Ms Smith.  Counsel said Ms Sadler had not seen any water spillage on the floor. 

Sadler said she gave Ms Smith an ice-pack for her wrist and the couple was offered a complimentary drink as a gesture.  She said Ms Smith did not complain about the floor being wet. 

Judge James O’Donohoe said Ms Smith, a respectable person working in the Defence Force, had given a truthful account of what she believed had happened that night, but he preferred the restaurant’s version of events. He dismissed Ms Smith’s claim and awarded legal costs against her. 

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