Drunken Patron Sues after Falling from Balcony
Should licensed venue owners and staff really be held responsible for the consequences of intoxicated customer’s actions, especially if the patron enters the premise already intoxicated? This is the question raised by an incident that happened in Adelaide which led to a drinker sustaining serious injuries.
A man that fell from a balcony of a posh sailing club while trying to do a hand-stand, is now suing the club for damages. He claims that he should not have been allowed in the club in first place because he was heavily intoxicated. He also claims that although he was intoxicated, staff of the venue continued to serve him alcohol free of charge. The man then attempted to do a handstand from a balcony and fell, subsequently suffering head, back and brain injuries from the fall.
Read what an article on www.Abc.net.au reported on the incident:
Simon Cucuk, 25, suffered head, back and brain injuries when he fell from the balcony of Grange Sailing Club in Adelaide during a birthday party in September 2008.
In District Court documents, Mr Cucuk says he had been drinking for seven hours before the party and club staff breached their duty of care by serving him more alcohol.
He claims there were not enough staff on duty to supervise the partygoers and nobody prevented him from going onto the balcony.
It would have been obvious to a reasonable person in his position that standing on the balcony railing and/or attempting handstands presented a risk of injury
The venue, Grange Club defended itself because according to them their staff never served Cucuk alcohol. Cucuk on the other hand claims that the club had a duty of care to ensure that those who might become intoxicated were not at risk of injury due to the state of the premises. According to Cucuk the club failed to ensure that the balustrade was of a sufficient height to prevent a person from falling.
In addition to his physical injuries, Cucuk claims to have also suffered depression, poor memory, loss of his sense of smell and the loss of movement on the right side of his face due to the fall.
According to the Grange Club none of their staff provided the man with alcohol and they claim they did not provide alcohol to any of their intoxicated guests. The clubs management has argued that the balcony met the national safety standard and it was Cucuk’s own fault for the fall because he shouldn’t have been attempting handstands on the railing, which presented quite obviously a risk of injury.
They went on to say about the incident:
“The plaintiff voluntarily assumed the risk of falling from the balcony,” the club argued.
“It would have been obvious to a reasonable person in his position that standing on the balcony railing and/or attempting handstands presented a risk of injury.”
The club argued Mr Cucuk was not entitled to any damages.
It said the claim should be dismissed and it should be awarded costs.