A 37-year-old painter from Ballybofey has been awarded €100,000 damages at the High Court for the serious facial injuries he received after falling through a glass door outside a nightclub.
The court heard that Paul Brady of The Beeches was trying to break up a fight as he and friends were leaving Stampies Nightclub in Ballybofey on October 27, 2002.
He claimed that Bridget Heeney and her sons Terence, Michael and Aidan Heeney, the owners of both the nightclub and a nearby premises, were negligent. It was the glass door of the nearby premises that he fell through.
His legal team argued that the owners were negligent in failing to supervise the area to the rear of the premises and failing to ensure that there were sufficient numbers of security staff in the club and in the adjacent car park.
Mr Brady recalled how, on the night of the incident, one of his friends became involved in an altercation on the dance floor with another man. The other man was removed from the nightclub and Mr Brady was unaware of what had happened at the time.
When Mr Brady left the club with his friends at around 2.30am. the man who had earlier been ejected from the nightclub attacked one of Mr Brady’s friends.
Mr Brady tried to break the fight up. He got the other man in a headlock and tried to calm him down.
While he was doing this, he was carried, by momentum, a short distance which caused him to trip over a raised pavement and fall through the glass door of a nearby premises.
His counsel said the danger was foreseeable and that the defendants were negligent in failing to install shatter-proof glass in the door he fell through.
Counsel for the defence argued that Mr Brady failed to have regard for his own safety, exposed himself to injury, and engaged in an activity that he knew was dangerous and unsafe.
Mr Justice Kevin Cross ruled that the defendants were negligent arising from a failure that night in their “normally excellent security system”.
He acknowledged that Mr Brady’s injuries were “unsightly and permanent” but noted that the injured party had not exaggerated this while giving evidence to the court.
Judge Cross awarded damages of €100,600 and granted a stay on his decision pending an appeal.