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Restaurant facing large payout after customer's fall

16 June 2009
Restaurant facing large payout after customer's fall

An Indian restaurant in Stockport will have to pay compensation to a customer who tripped and broke an ankle as she left the premises.

Gatley Tandoori was before the Civil Appeal Court in London trying to reverse an earlier decision by Manchester County Court.

At the earlier court hearing customer, Paula Jeffries, 46, had given evidence that as she left the restaurant in December 2005 she lost her footing on the steeply sloping side of the concrete ramp.

The fall caused her to break her ankle and when she was in hospital she developed a life threatening blood clot on the lung.

Ruling against the restaurant, the judge at Manchester County Court had said the slope was a "trap for the unwary" because it failed to extend across the full width of the door.

In its defence the restaurant had argued that there was no direct evidence that Jeffries had stepped on the dangerous part of the ramp and that she had been wearing high heels at the time.

But, dismissing the appeal of the restaurant, Lady Justice Smith said: "The finding that she stepped on the side of the ramp was not supported by direct evidence, but it was an inference which was open to the judge.

"For that reason, I don't think that there is any prospect that the Court of Appeal will overturn this decision."

The amount of damages to be paid will be assessed at a separate court hearing unless a settlement is agreed.

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By Andrew Smith

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