Cleaner not liable despite not identifying spillage

Author: Peter Dovolil, Special Counsel

In a recent decision of the NSW Court of Appeal, the court considered the duty owed by a cleaning contractor, specifically in circumstances where findings were made that a spillage was present as a cleaner passed the incident area.

The claim was for personal injury allegedly suffered by Mr Al Kammessey as a result of a slip and fall whilst a patron at the Westfield Liverpool Shopping Centre. The defendant (appellant on appeal) was the insurer for Atlantic Cleaning and Security Pty Ltd, who was substituted into the proceedings as Atlantic had entered liquidation. The incident was captured by CCTV footage and there is no dispute the plaintiff (respondent on appeal) fell as alleged. Whilst the decision contains a significant discussion regarding the dispute which arose in the key facts to be determined, the reason by which the key facts were found is not relevant to the significance of the decision.

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