Monday 5 December 2016

Woman who dislocated thumb in bar floor slip awarded €90k by High Court

Tim Healy

Published 29/01/2016 | 16:54

Sharon Kelly from Co. Offaly pictured leaving the Four Courts after she was awarded €90,000 damages following a High Court judgement. Pic: Courts Collins
Sharon Kelly from Co. Offaly pictured leaving the Four Courts after she was awarded €90,000 damages following a High Court judgement. Pic: Courts Collins

A 44-YEAR-old woman who slipped on a bar floor and dislocated her thumb has been awarded €90,000 by a High Court judge.

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Mr Justice Anthony Barr said Sharon Kelly's fall was captured on CCTV in the Dublin bar and he was satisfied there was liquid on the parquet flooring in the area she slipped.

Ms Kelly, from Co Offaly, sued Lackabeg Ltd, trading as The Arc CafeBar, Liffey Valley, Fonthill Road, Dublin, as a result of the fall after 1am on May 29, 2011.  The company denied her claims.

She had been attending a 30th birthday party and was wearing four-inch heels at the time, the court heard.

The judge said the liquid she slipped on may have come from the wet floor in the ladies toilet or may have been due to patrons spilling their drinks when coming from the bar.

"This area should have been monitored carefully throughout the evening and corrective action taken when drinks were spilt on to the floor," the judge  said.

Ms Kelly said while she was crossing the wooden floor area in the Lobby Bar, on her way to the toilets, she slipped and fell.

Lackabeg Ltd denied there was any water or other liquid on the floor surface and said it had a comprehensive cleaning system in operation on the night in question.

Mr Justice Barr said while there was a system in place for dealing with spillages, he was not satisfied it was properly implemented on that night when it was very busy.

It was likely, he said, the staff were so busy serving drinks and collecting empty glasses they were not able to take sufficient care to keep the floor dry and clean.

The judge said a Champions League Final was being shown on a television screen and a two-for-one drinks promotion was available that night.

He was satisfied the bars and the nightclub in the premises were doing a substantial trade that night. 

While not jam-packed, it was nevertheless busy, he said.

He also accepted the evidence of two other women that the toilets in the public bar had been in poor condition that night and that complaints had been made to the bar staff about the condition of the toilets.

Ms Kelly, the judge said, had a moderate amount of drink over more than five hours.

The judge said: "People cannot be expected to look at the floor when walking across a bar.

"She was entitled to expect that the floor was dry and it was safe for her to walk across it" .

He also said Ms Kelly was disabled in the weeks and months after the accident and has been left with a diminution in sensation in the tip of the thumb and a reduced pinch grip.

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