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Wedding guest sues groom's family after slipping on spilled drink on dancefloor and wins £32,000 in damages

A WEDDING guest who sued the groom's family, who owned the venue, after she slipped on a spilled drink has won £32,000 in damages.

Gosia Anthony, 49, snapped her hamstring when she slid on a spilled drink on the dance floor at friend Ania Richardson's wedding reception in September 2016.

Ms Anthony had been dancing in the function room of the White Horse, in Welwyn village, Herts, when she fell and was left in excruciating pain in a puddle on the floor.

She sued the pub operator – a company owned and run by members of groom Chris Richardson's family – and has now been awarded nearly £32,000 in damages by a judge.

Judge Richard Roberts said the pub had created the hazard themselves by providing a water dispenser without a drip tray and not clearing up the spillage.

The White Horse describes itself as a "quintessential village pub" and, at the time of the accident, the "bride's husband's family owned or operated it," the court heard.

According to Companies House records, the company's directors include managing director Adam Richardson, his father John and brother Joseph.

Giving evidence, Ms Anthony said she had been invited to Mr and Mrs Richardson's reception and was staying at the bride's home that night.

She had only had a couple of glasses of wine and had changed into flat shoes when she went onto the dancefloor late in the evening.

"The room was dark and there were disco lights," she told Central London County Court.

"I was dancing. I put my left foot down and I slipped. I didn't have a chance to rebalance my body or break my fall, I just went straight down.

"I was in a lot of pain. I realised something was wrong.

"It was almost like I heard elastic breaking, even though it was a loud room. I felt something snap and immediate pain."

Ms Anthony was taken home by other guests, but was still in pain the following morning.

She went to doctors and was diagnosed with an "avulsion injury to her left hamstring" – involving the hamstring tendons being torn from the bone.

The council worker, who now lives in Plymouth, went to her native Poland for treatment and had the hamstring, which had shrunk by four inches, stretched back into place.

She told the court it had to be secured with three metal screws which even now, five years on, cause her pain when she is sitting down.

She was also left with a five-inch scar which is visible when wearing shorts or beachwear and, due to being on crutches afterwards, had suffered with a frozen shoulder.

Her barrister, Mark King, argued that pub owner – Cellar Door Pubs Ltd – was negligent in allowing the accident to happen.

The water dispenser had been placed with its spout directly over the floor, with no drip tray in place to catch any spillages.


"The bride's husband's family own or operated the pub," he said.

"This hazard has been created by the occupier itself. This is so obviously wrong in the way it's been set up. All one needs is a tray to slip underneath it."

Cellar Door Pubs Ltd denied liability for the accident, but neither managers nor lawyers turned up for the Central London County Court trial this week.

Giving judgment, Judge Roberts rejected claims that Ms Anthony might have been drunk or at fault in any way for her fall.

She had been wearing flat shoes and could not have seen the spillage because the room was dark and full of dancers.

"At the time of the index accident, the main function room where the dancing was taking place was very dark, save for flashing disco lights," he said.

"The claimant said in her oral evidence that at the time of the dancing, she did not see any members of the defendant’s staff.

"I reject the defendant’s contention that it would have been easy to see a spillage of water on the floor, bearing in mind that it was very dark.

"Having regard to the set up of the water dispenser and the absence of a water tray, I find that spillage or the presence on the floor was likely.

"I further find that the defendant knew or ought to have known of the likelihood of a dangerous slipping hazard arising, particularly as the floor was being used for dancing late at night, when the room was dark.

"In these circumstances, I find that the claimant has proved that the defendant was in breach of the common duty of care…and was negligent at common law."

He awarded Ms Anthony a total of £31,871 for her pain and suffering and to reimburse her for travel and medical care costs.

He also ordered the company to pick up her lawyers' bills of about £50,000 for the trial.

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