£30K compensation for another ‘grape slip-up’
From CPD Webinars 23/02/09:
Jeanette Plummer, 62, has been awarded nearly £30,000 in compensation after she slipped on two grapes and broke her shoulder in a Marks & Spencer store in Bath. The fall, in October 2005, left her needing a shoulder joint replacement operation.
"The fall has really had an effect on my life. I'm now restricted as to what I can do. I'm really glad to get the compensation money,” Mrs Plummer said.
Louise Hart, a partner at Bath law firm Withy King which represented Mrs Plummer, said "It has taken three years to resolve this hotly contested matter but we are pleased to have finally agreed an out-of-court settlement with Marks & Spencer. We feel strongly that the accident could have been avoided if the grapes had been sold in zipped bags and a more effective cleaning policy had been in place to deal with any food spills. When these accidents are caused by faulty products or the negligent actions of others, it is only right that the victims are compensated for their injuries and any long-term effects on their lives."
What is it with Marks & Spencer and their customers slipping over on grapes? Long time readers of Law Actually might remember this post from around this time last year concerning a very similar issue. Maybe it’s the fact that M&S simply attract more accident-prone customers than other stores. Or maybe they’re just more litigious.
It’s strange that with all the glass products about in supermarkets, something as innocuous as a couple of grapes could cause such injury. The zipper bags for grapes are a good idea, I suppose, though the cost will inevitably be passed on to customers. As for the ‘more effective cleaning policy’, it’s difficult to judge how reasonable that argument was. With a product like grapes, there’s always going to be the odd ‘escapee’ and should surely remain within the bounds of acceptability. Even so, there are ways for such risks to be mitigated - such as upright edges to counters where the product is displayed or by recessing the counters themselves. If, though, there were enough grapes and/or mush lying around to make a decent bottle of red wine, it’s probably a different matter.