Wed | Oct 4, 2023

Hotel to pay $5.7m to injured former worker

Published:Wednesday | May 31, 2023 | 10:52 AM
She said her fall was due to a leak from the dishwashing machine at the Royalton Blue Waters, a registered business owned by the defendant. - File photo

White Diamond Hotel and Resorts Limited is to pay $5.7 million with interest to former worker Jamelia Stoddart who was seriously injured when she slipped and fell on the kitchen floor in August 2017.

Stoddard who was employed to the hotel as a waitress filed a suit in the Supreme Court in November 2018 against the hotel seeking damages for negligence and/or breach of statutory duty.

She said her fall was due to a leak from the dishwashing machine at the Royalton Blue Waters, a registered business owned by the defendant.

She contended that her employer failed to display a sign warning of the slippery condition of the walkway and failed to place a mat at the entrance of the kitchen to absorb the water.

Stoddard stated that when she fell she hit her shoulder on a wall and immediately began to feel pain in her lower back and was subsequently taken to the Cornwall Regional Hospital. A medical report which was submitted stated that she will have recurrent neck and lower back pain, which will require treatments.

A defence was filed to the suit in which the resort stated that the accident was caused by the claimant's failure to wear the appropriate shoes.

The matter was referred to mediation and the parties arrived at an agreement to which judgment on admission was entered in October 2019. The only issue which remained was the quantum of damages, if any, which should be assessed for the various heads of damages pleaded by the claimant.

Justice Tricia Hutchinson Shelly assessed damages based on the medical reports tendered, the legal submissions and the authorities cited.

Attorney-at-law Christine Hudson instructed by K Churchill Neita and Co, who represented the claimant, conceded that she was not unemployable but insisted that “her capacity to earn was significantly eroded and she would face challenges in competing on the open labour market with able-bodied women of similar age and qualification, suffering from none of her disabilities."

Attorney-at-law Faith Gordon, who was instructed by Samuda and Johnson, submitted that on a review of the medical reports, it was clear that the claimant was exaggerating her pain and suffering and pecuniary prospects in her written account.

The judge awarded Stoddard general damages of $3.5 million for pain and suffering with interest at three percent from November 7, 2018 to May 17, 2023. 

In addition $495,649 was awarded for special damages; $1,365,460 for loss of earnings; and $500,000 for psychiatric damages.

Legal costs were awarded to the claimant to be agreed or taxed.

-Barbara Gayle

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