Court cries foul after football injury

Article

02 December, 2009

David Michael Wallace v Salford City Council and Moorside High School

Forbes successfully defended a claim at Trial brought against Salford City Council where the Claimant's claim was dismissed as he was unable to prove what exactly caused him to trip and sustain injury.

The Claimant alleged that whilst he was playing football with some friends, he caught his foot in a hole in the school playing fields and sustained personal injury.

District Judge Flanagan agreed with Forbes that the playing fields were not open to the public. He indicated that, "It would be reasonable for any member of the public seeing land fenced to conclude that it is private land …therefore on the Occupiers' Liability Act I find that the Claimant was not a lawful visitor to the premises."

Next, the Judge considered the photographs disclosed by the Claimant and was of the opinion that the photographs did not show a hole but showed a depression; the diameter and depth of which were not known.

Evidence was also heard from the school's PE teacher who had used the pitch two days before the accident as well as the day after the accident and had not noted any dangerous defect. The evidence led the Judge to form the view that if the defect was there at the time of the Claimant's accident then it was not a dangerous defect.

The Judge concluded that he was satisfied, based upon the inspection carried out by the schools PE teacher that the pitch was adequate for its purpose: -

"We are talking about a school playing field here not a bowling green or a football league pitch. I ask myself was it this that caused the accident, was he injured in a tackle or did he overbalance and fall? The court cannot be specific on the evidence as to what caused the Claimant's accident. I am satisfied that it was not the defect that caused the unfortunate injury and therefore I dismiss the claim."

The Claimant was ordered to pay Forbes costs of defending this claim to Trial.

For further information please contact Andrew Ellis at our Manchester Office, Church House, 90 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 2GP. Tel: 0161 918 0000.

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