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Man loses action against nightclub because he was 'engaged in horseplay'

Gerald Grimes, 25, claimed to have suffered injuries to his knee after falling on wet floor in the toilet area of the club.

Image: Shutterstock/Suzanne Tucker

A 25-YEAR-old Co Dublin man who slipped and fell in the toilets of a nightclub has lost his High Court personal injuries claim after a judge ruled he fell because he had engaged in horseplay.

Gerald Grimes of Balbriggan Street, Skerries, claimed he had suffered injuries to his knee after he fell on the wet floor surface in the toilet area of the nightclub on 4 March, 2012.

In his judgement, Mr Justice Anthony Barr found Mr Grimes slipped, lost his balance and fell as a result of being “engaged in horseplay” with another person in the bathroom of Shenanigans Nightclub in Skerries, Co Dublin.

The judge said he was satisfied Mr Grimes met with the accident because a friend he was doing a jump kick against moved, causing him to kick fresh air, lose his balance and fall to the floor.

The judge said in this case he could not see there was any negligence on the part of the nightclub and dismissed Mr Grimes’s claim.

Mr Grimes had sued the occupier of the nightclub, Highview Inns Ltd, which is currently in receivership.

Mr Grimes claimed the defendant was negligent and in breach of its duty of care. He claimed on the night of the incident he had slipped on the wet floor after he exited the cubicle in the nightclub toilets.

His claim was supported by evidence from his friend Mr Michael Caldwell, who was present in the toilets at the time.

He claimed he dislocated his knee joint, which left him in severe pain and unable to return to playing active sports. He required medical treatment and was taken to hospital.

The defendant, represented by Finbarr Fox SC and instructed by Lacey solicitors, denied the claim.

‘Messing’

Evidence was given by a nightclub toilet attendant working there on the night, whose job included keeping the floor clean and mopping up any spillage.

The attendant said Mr Grimes and his friend were messing when they entered the toilet area.

Mr Elijah Fatiroti said Mr Grimes and Mr Caldwell were pushing and shoving in a form of horseplay. He said he told them to calm down. He said after coming out of a cubicle Mr Grimes went to make a jump kick to Mr Caldwell’s rear as he was standing at a urinal.

Mr Fatiroti, who said there was no liquid on the floor at the time, said Mr Caldwell moved, causing Mr Grimes to kick fresh air, lose his balance and fall to the ground.

In his judgement, Mr Justice Anthony said there was a stark divergence between the evidence given by Mr Grimes, supported by Mr Caldwell, and the evidence given by Mr Fatiroti.

The judge said he preferred the evidence of Mr Fatiroti. He gave evidence “in a clear and precise manner” and the judge said he was satisfied the attendant had carried out his duties to the best of his ability on the night in question.

He said he was not impressed by the account given by Mr Grimes. “It seemed to me that he was giving his evidence in a self-serving manner and was not telling the truth,” the judge said.

Mr Caldwell, the judge added, was “not an impressive witness”.

He said the accident occurred due to the horseplay Mr Grimes and Mr Caldwell were engaged in.

The judge said he could not see how the defendant was negligent, and dismissed the claim.

Read: Dublin fan awarded €20,000 after having hand cut during All-Ireland celebrations

Read: Denis O’Brien claims in court that an Irish firm is involved in a conspiracy against him

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About the author:

Aodhan O Faolain

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