Court Ruling And Its Implications: Failure To Remove Intoxicated Customers Due To Negligence
The recent court ruling in Australia has emphasised the responsibility of venue operators and security guards to ensure the safety of patrons. The Ramsden Lawyers personal injury team examines the recent judgment involving a social media influencer attacked by an intoxicated customer at a restaurant and bar in Sydney.
Following an incident at the Bucket List Bondi restaurant and bar, a man suffered physical and psychological harm when an inebriated customer assaulted him. The man pursued a legal case alleging negligence by the venue operator and security company, claiming they neglected to remove the intoxicated individual who subsequently attacked him. The Court sided with the plaintiff, ruling that the defendants failed in their duty of care. Nonetheless, the damages awarded were reduced by 20% due to the plaintiff’s contributory negligence.
OVERVIEW OF THE CASE
In December 2017, Mr Chadwick visited the Bucket List Bondi restaurant and bar, which Bondi Beach Food Pty Ltd owns. The establishment had contracted Crossguard Group Pty Ltd to provide security services and ensure the well-being of its patrons. Despite the presence of both security personnel and staff, Mr Chadwick experienced a severe assault from an intoxicated customer while inside the premises. Mr Chadwick contended that the injuries inflicted by the intoxicated individual could have been prevented had the venue operator and security company been vigilant and promptly removed the patron due to their level of intoxication. He alleged that the duty of care owed by the venue operator and security company was violated.
Court Ruling: Negligence Determined with Contributory Negligence Identified
In the legal case initiated by Mr Chadwick against the venue operator and security company of Bucket List Bondi, the Court ruled in favour of Mr Chadwick, determining that the defendants had breached their duty of care. However, the Court also established that Mr Chadwick bore partial responsibility for the incident, resulting in a 20% reduction in the damages awarded to him. According to the Court’s decision, the defendants were aware of the severe intoxication of the patron but failed to take appropriate measures to prevent the situation from escalating. It was highlighted that the level of security personnel needed improvement, as no guards were available to intervene when necessary. Mr Chadwick’s conduct was also considered, as he was found to bear some responsibility for the incident. Nonetheless, the Court concluded that the defendants had a greater duty of care towards Mr Chadwick as a patron of their venue.
The Obligation of Venue Operators and Security Guards Regarding Duty of Care
This case highlights venue operators’ and security guards’ responsibility towards their patrons regarding duty of care. Refraining from taking reasonable measures to regulate the sale of alcohol and mitigate harm, including harm caused by other patrons, is considered negligent, especially in venues with a liquor license. The Court concluded that, in such venues, the duty of care established by common law extends beyond the duty owed to a lawful entrant by an occupier. It also encompasses the duty to manage and control instances of ‘violent, quarrelsome, or disorderly conduct on licensed premises.’
Evaluating Financial Damages in the Era of Social Media Influencers
Mr Chadwick primarily earned income through his social media influencing and OnlyFans activities. However, the Court compensated him for past economic loss based on his previous employment rather than his social media endeavours. The Court acknowledged the potential economic influence of social media influencers and accounts. Nonetheless, the Court concluded that Mr Chadwick’s social media-based business, Rig Fit, was not financially sustainable during his injury. Despite making some sales, the business itself needed to be more viable. Additionally, the income generated from OnlyFans was derived from pre-injury content. This ruling exemplifies how Courts may handle claims for economic loss when a plaintiff’s primary income is derived from social media platforms. Essentially, the Courts will apply conventional business principles to evaluate the likelihood of long-term success for the business. In Mr Chadwick’s case, the Court assessed his income based on his trade qualifications as a fitter and turner.
The Court awarded him nearly $200,000 for past economic loss, loss of superannuation benefits, and future economic loss. The Court recognised that Mr Chadwick perceived damage to his brand, consequently impacting his confidence and self-worth. Accordingly, the Court considered this aspect and granted Mr Chadwick an additional $46,000 for non-economic loss, encompassing damages for pain, suffering, and diminished quality of life.
The Impact of the Ruling: Duty of Care and Economic Loss Considerations
The recent judgment in Mr Chadwick’s case underscores the critical role played by venue operators and security guards in fulfilling their duty of care responsibilities towards patrons. The Court’s decision highlights the importance of implementing adequate security measures and responsible alcohol service in licensed establishments to safeguard customers’ well-being. It serves as a reminder of the potential ramifications that can arise when duty of care obligations are neglected, often resulting in substantial losses.
One noteworthy aspect of the case is the economic loss suffered by Mr Chadwick, whose primary source of income at the time of the incident stemmed from his work as a social media influencer. Despite Mr Chadwick’s belief in the potential success of his social media-based business, the Court opted to assess damages using conventional measures commonly employed in traditional business models. This ruling offers insight into how Courts may evaluate the financial losses experienced by individuals whose income is derived from non-traditional sources, like social media influence. This has implications for assessing economic loss in cases involving individuals whose livelihoods are not tied to traditional employment or established business ventures, particularly when injured during the startup phase.
The ruling in Mr Chadwick’s case highlights the significance of duty of care obligations in licensed venues. It underscores the potential economic losses that can arise from breaches of such obligations. It serves as a reminder for venue operators and security personnel to undertake all necessary precautions to ensure the safety of their patrons. Similarly, individuals are reminded to exercise reasonable care for their safety while present on licensed premises.
RAMSDEN LAWYERS – HOW WE CAN HELP WITH MATTERS INVOLVING NEGLIGENCE
The team of personal injury lawyers at Ramsden Lawyers specialises in assisting individuals who have suffered injuries due to negligence. In cases like Clinton Chadwick’s, these lawyers offer expertise to help clients comprehend their legal rights and explore potential avenues for compensation.
These lawyers can guide the duty of care owed by venue operators and security guards to patrons. They can explain that failing to take reasonable measures to regulate the sale of alcohol and mitigate harm, including harm caused by other patrons, in licensed venues amounts to negligence. Additionally, they can offer insights into the duty to manage instances of ‘violent, quarrelsome, or disorderly conduct on licensed premises.’
When a plaintiff’s primary source of income is derived from social media influencing, Ramsden Lawyers’ personal injury department can assist in evaluating economic loss. They can aid clients in understanding how Courts may approach claims for economic loss in such cases. It can be clarified that past economic loss might be awarded based on the plaintiff’s previous employment, and social media influencers’ influence and economic potential may need to be re-evaluated.
Moreover, Ramsden Lawyers’ personal injury lawyers can help clients grasp the implications of court rulings, including cases like Chadwick’s. They can elucidate how such rulings may impact the duty of care owed by venue operators and security guards to patrons and shed light on how the Courts may assess economic loss in cases involving social media influencers.
In summary, the personal injury department at Ramsden Lawyers offers invaluable assistance to individuals who have sustained injuries due to the negligence of venue operators and security companies. They provide clients with a comprehensive understanding of their legal rights and options and guidance in pursuing compensation for their injuries and economic losses.