Canwest News reported today that Malones in Kitsilano has been found liable for injuries a customer sustained after a patio umbrella came loose in a gust of wind and struck her.
Krysta Wilde, 36, went to Malones restaurant for drinks with two friends on a sunny but breezy day in April of 2005 and sat at a table with a patio umbrella right behind her.
The umbrella was picked up by a gust of wind and hit her on the head. The eatery claimed there’d been no previous incidents but Wilde said there was a similar incident several months after she was injured.
“After the umbrella hit Ms. Wilde, she appeared to be in pain and complained of a headache,” said B.C. Supreme Court Madam Justice Donna Martinson in her reasons for judgment.
“Her evidence is that she has been unable to work since being hit by the umbrella because of her injuries, which include constant headaches, daily dizzy spells, inability to concentrate and sleeping for long periods of time.”
Wilde was employed helping the visually impaired but hasn’t worked for three years.
She argued in court that the company breached its duty of care to her and was negligent and liable for the injuries. The restaurant denied that it breached its duty of care or was negligent and pointed out that the standard of care is one of reasonableness, not perfection.
But the judge found there was not a “reasonable scheme” in place to keep customers safe.
“Malones did not do enough to safeguard against a foreseeable risk of harm.”
Wilde’s lawyer, David Bellamy, said his client was “very happy” with the ruling and is looking forward to the hearing on damages scheduled to begin Oct. 14 before a jury.
Harmon Hayden, a lawyer for Malones, said there would be an appeal of the liability judgment. It’s not clear whether it will be heard prior to the damages hearing.
Last modified: June 5, 2008