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Rix v. (1)Stonegate Pub Company (2) Regency Security Services


Dates of case

The Claimant was seriously injured in an incident that occurred in the First Defendant’s nightclub when her friend was pushed by the Second Defendant’s security staff who were traversing the floor of the venue in order to break up a violent altercation. He then came into contact with the Claimant, causing her in turn to slip and fall over.

The Claimant alleged that the First Defendant was negligent in allowing the floor to be in a dangerously wet and slippery state, and that the Second Defendant was negligent in failing to ensure that its security staff took sufficient care when moving around in the venue. Both Defendants denied liability, and each alleged in the alternative that the other was solely responsible for the incident that occurred. Whilst the law in relation to slipping incidents is fairly clear (Ward v. Tesco Stores, Dawkins v. Carnival Plc. etc.), it was agreed by Counsel that the liability of the Second Defendant security company was a novel situation that had to be decided by recourse to first principles.

Following a three-day trial, HHJ Duddridge handed down a reserved judgment in which he accepted the Claimant’s case that both Defendants were negligent,

It was held that the Claimant had made out a prima facie case that the First Defendant had breached its duty to her, i.e. that the floor was dangerously slippery and wet. The First Defendant had then failed to discharge its reversed evidential burden of showing that the accident happened without negligence on its part, or was at least as likely to happen despite the implementation of a proper system for avoiding such accidents.

Turning to the Second Defendant, the Judge held that, whilst it is not reasonable to expect security staff to make finely calibrated judgments about their actions when responding to an emergency, they nevertheless have a duty to take such care as is reasonable in all the circumstances to avoid injury to others. It was found that the particular security staff had breached their duty by failing to give any warning that they were coming through, and in any event acted negligently in barging the Claimant’s friend out of the way with sufficient force to cause him to slip over and fall into contact with her. The Judge found that, whilst it might be possible to argue that each Defendant’s negligence had a greater causative potency than the other’s, liability should be apportioned between them in the ratio 50:50.

A copy of the Judgment can be found here.

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Anthony Johnson

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Personal Injury



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