Media release

HopgoodGanim wins for employer in the never ending grape battle

By Anna Hendry / 06 August 2018

The common grape has caused more than its fair share of personal injury litigation over many years and HopgoodGanim Special Counsel, Anna Hendry, has had an important win against the very tasty but fearful fruit.

In this District Court claim, HopgoodGanim acted for Maryborough Christian Education Foundation Ltd in defending a claim for injury caused when a worker slipped on a grape while walking through the employer’s premises.

The court found that the plaintiff’s employer was not liable for her injury when she slipped on the grape.

The plaintiff was employed as a school teacher at Riverside Christian College. 

On 4 March 2015, she slipped on a grape as she walked through a foyer area between classrooms, fracturing her left knee. 

The plaintiff alleged the grape had been dropped by a student after collecting their fruit break snack from their bag, which was stored in the foyer, and taking it to one of the adjoining classrooms. 

At the trial, the employer led evidence that the morning fruit break had been in place for five years before the incident and there had been no prior similar incidents. 

The Court found the risk was not foreseeable; the risk was insignificant having regard to the thousands of people who had traversed the foyer during the fruit break in the five years before the incident and the lack of any prior similar incidents; the employer did not breach its duty of care to the plaintiff and in particular; and it would not have been reasonable for the employer to abolish the fruit break due to its benefits to students in providing them with a healthy snack between breakfast and morning tea. 

HopgoodGanim Special Counsel Anna Hendry says this case should be of particular interest to anyone working in workers’ compensation.

“This case is particularly unusual as the Plaintiff was unsuccessful in establishing any of the elements of negligence”.

“During this case we were aware that the result could have had significant repercussions in regards to supervision of common areas and cleaning staff for schools across the state.”

“It’s reassuring to know that the Courts took a common sense approach to this case and schools in particular can feel relieved and confident that teacher supervision was sufficient in this case.”

Anna Hendry
Anna is a Partner who advises exclusively in insurance litigation, acting on behalf of major public liability insurers, workers’ compensation insurers and self-insurers, compulsory third party insurers and professional indemnity insurers.

What’s new

Receive email updates of our new publications.