As reported in news.com.au, a woman lost a court battle with Woolworths in Sydney after judges overturn decision to award her Aust $151,000.
The claimant sued Woolworths supermarket in 2016 over injuries she sustained from slipping on a grape in the fruit and vegetable section in November 2012, shortly after opening at 10am. The Learned Judge at first instance found that if someone had been on duty in the produce section they would have identified the risk, based on the training given and the warning signs to be on the lookout for grapes on the floor and concluded that the grape constituted a slip hazard and was the cause of her fall. Woolworths appealed against the decision and contended that a finding that there is a single grape on the floor in the produce section of a supermarket is insufficient to establish breach of duty of care. It denied that it had breached its duty of care or that staff had failed to keep a proper lookout.
The Court of Appeal found there was no evidence that staff “actually did something with the grapes on the specials display table between 9.30am and 10am”, describing the scenario as “really no more than speculation”.It also found that visual inspection by floor staff could have been impeded by a number of matters, including physical objects such as trolleys and crates.
“In my view, there was no occasion for either of the Woolworths staff, exercising reasonable care, to scan the floor specifically near where Ms McQuillan later fell as they passed near that area,” the appeal judges wrote. “That they did not observe the grape on the floor was not a casual act of negligence.”
For another article on slip and fall case click here
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