BPC Lawyers’ Big Win Against Pub for Assault

There has been a lot of publicity lately about the security industry and the conduct of security staff particularly, “bouncers” at clubs and pubs.  Beilby Poulden Costello Lawyers have been at the forefront of litigation in this area brining compensation claims for people injured on licensed premises.

In one of the most severe examples our partner, Matthew Garling recently acted on behalf of a 26 year old man who sustained brain injury as a result of an assault by security staff at a local nightspot.

In June 2003 our client attended a nightspot with a few friends for some drinks and dancing.  Our client admitted that he had been drinking although was not considered drunk.  He was ejected from the nightclub because he was dancing in what the security staff considered an annoying fashion.  He was not aggressive or in any way a threat.  He was removed from the nightclub and waited in the car park of the hotel.  He then spoke to security staff at the hotel on a number of occasions attempting to gain entry to tell his friends, who remained in the nightclub, that he had been ejected.  After some time the security guard took a dislike to our client, improperly manhandled him and then dragged him across a car park and threw him near a retaining wall.  Our client fell from the retaining wall and his head landing heavily on to a concrete footpath.

Our client sustained severe brain damage which caused severe emotional difficulties including lack of concentration and anger.  As a result of the injuries there was little dispute that our client was unable to work again.  He made a claim for substantial compensation for his injuries.

The issue for determination in the proceedings was whether the hotel and/or the security company contracted by the hotel were liable for the acts of its employees in removing our client from the premises.  We argued that the employees had assaulted our client in the course of their employment and as such their employers were responsible for any damage that was caused.

It was also alleged that the hotel was negligent in failing to have proper procedures in place to remove patrons from the premises in a safe manner rather than leaving them on or near a retaining wall.

The matter was complex and required expert security evidence, expert medical evidence in relation to the degree of brain damage and a complex factual scenario involving more than 20 witnesses to the event.  The matter was listed for a lengthy trial in the Supreme Court of NSW.  After negotiation we were able to resolve the case in favour of our client for a substantial sum of compensation.

By Matthew Garling

Publish Date: March 17, 2008