Man 'one third' to blame for stairs fall awarded €35k

John Reilly

By Tim Healy

a MAN who claimed he fractured his foot in a fall on a wet stairs of a restaurant has been awarded €35,250 by the High Court.

Telecommunications consultant John Reilly (49), of Granitefield, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin, had displayed "a somewhat cavalier" approach in negotiating the stairs in Fallon and Byrnes restaurant, Exchequer Street, Dublin, Mr Justice Michael Moriarty said.


Mr Reilly sought to bound or skip up two steps at a time half way up the stairs and, for that reason, the judge found him one-third liable for the accident.

He was satisfied the stairs up to the restaurant, on what was a day with very bad wet weather, did constitute a danger or potential danger.

Mr Justice Moriarty said he was also satisified there must be a finding of contributory negligence which was not "trifling or minuscule".

He noted that other people had walked up and down the stairs after the accident including a woman with comparatively high heels.

When the accident happened, it was Mr Reilly's fifth time being on the stairs that night and he had just come back from a cigarette break outside.

The parties had agreed if Mr Reilly was fully successful on liability, damages had been calculated at €51,375.

Deducting one third from that, the award should be €35,250, the judge said.

Mr Reilly (49) had sued as a result of the fall on February 19, 2011. He claimed Fallon and Byrne failed to provide any grip on the steps of the stairs leading up to its 120-seat restaurant. It was also alleged the steps were wet.


He suffered two fractures to his left foot.

Fallon and Byrne denied all the claims, including that the stairs were wet.

It claimed it was Mr Reilly's own misjudgement which caused his fall and there was contributory negligence as he had been "skipping" up two steps at the time of the accident.

Under cross-examination, Mr Reilly disagreed he had been taking two steps at a time or that misjudgement caused the fall.