Santa and his Elf blamed for icicle fall in unsafe grotto
14 December 2011
Dufosse -v- Melbury Events Ltd.
John Bate-Williams (leading A. Reindeer) secured a festive
victory in the Court of Appeal on 14 December, when the
responsibilities of Santa and an Elf in the Grotto within
Selfridges in December 2009 were considered by Rix LJ, McFarlane LJ
and Sir Mark Potter. An icicle had fallen from a tree alongside
Santa's throne, and Mrs Dufosse stepped on it and fell, suffering a
severe injury to her leg. Overturning a decision in the Portsmouth
County Court, the Court of Appeal agreed with John Bate-Williams'
submisssion that Santa and the Elf failed to monitor the floor of
the grotto and keep it clear from hazards. The Court of Appeal
decided that Mrs. Dufosse should recover damages on a 100% basis,
with her damages to be assessed when the prognosis in respect of
her injuries is known.