A Henley pub tenant has vowed to pursue landlord Brakspear through the courts to recover compensation for injuries she suffered at her pub.
Mira Bateman, 55, is the publican of the Plowden Arms, Shiplake Cross, near Henley. Her company, JMB Inn, has held the tenancy of the Plowden Arms, guaranteed by Bateman, since 2005.
She was injured in an accident involving a ladder in the pub on New Year's Day 2007. Bateman was storing Christmas decorations in the loft of the property and while exiting, the metal eye holding the hook of the top of the wooden ladder dislodged, causing the ladder to slip and Mrs Bateman to lose her balance. She was temporarily hanged by the neck from one of the rungs of the ladder. She was found unconscious on the floor by her chef, with the ladder on top of her.
Despite the fact she thought her injuries were superficial, Bateman was referred two years later to a consultant with a painful back. She had an MRI scan, which revealed that the accident in 2007 had caused serious damage to her spine and neck.
Bateman's solicitors, Maitland Walker, claimed a surveyor had condemned the ladder as unsafe and dangerous and she has been forced to vacate the pub due to her injuries.
She alleges that Brakspear are liable to compensate her for her personal injury under the terms of the tenancy agreement and lodged a personal injury claim in December last year.
Brakspear has referred the matter to its insurers, refused to pay compensation and said it will take possession proceedings against Bateman.
Bateman now plans to bring her own proceedings against Brakspear for recovery of the value of the improvements she has made to the Plowden Arms and a claim under the Competition Act for abuse of Brakspear's "dominant position" in the Henley area.
She said: "I'm very upset with the way Brakspear have treated me. I've always paid the rent and bought their beer. They didn't help me when my trade suffered in the recession and forced me to buy their beer at unfair prices. They haven't done anything about my personal injury claim, despite the fact that I may soon be in a wheelchair, and they're now threatening to throw me out in the street. I think their treatment of me has been absolutely atrocious"
She also called upon other pub tenants to help her in her legal battle by contributing to a fighting fund via her solicitors.
In response to Bateman's claims, Tom Davies, Brakspear chief executive, said, " Our tenant at the Plowden Arms is a company, JMB Inns Ltd, which employs Mira Bateman. Currently, Ms Bateman's claim for compensation for her personal injury is with her employer JMB Inns Ltd and their insurers, not with Brakspear."
By Neil Gerrard
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