Graham v Commercial Bodyworks Ltd: CA 5 Feb 2015

The claimant had been very badly burned. He was covered in flammable liquid when a co-worker lit a cigarette.
Held: The claimant’s appeal failed. ‘although the defendant employers did create a risk by requiring their employees to work with thinning agents, it is difficult to say that the creation of that risk was sufficiently closely connected with Mr Wilkinson’s highly reckless act of splashing the thinner onto Mr Graham’s overalls and then using a cigarette lighter in his vicinity.’ and ‘the real cause of Mr Graham’s injuries was the no doubt frolicsome but reckless conduct of Mr Wilkinson which cannot be said to have occurred in the course of his employment.’

Longmore, Underhill, Sharp LJJ
[2015] EWCA Civ 47, [2015] WLR(D) 50, [2015] ICR 665, [2015] PIQR P15
Bailii, WLRD
England and Wales
CitedJacobi v Griffiths 17-Jun-1999
(Canadian Supreme Court) The process for determining when a non-authorised act by an employee is so connected to the employer’s enterprise that liability should be imposed involved two steps: 1. Firstly a court should determine whether there are . .
CitedBazley v Curry 17-Jun-1999
(Canadian Supreme Court) The court considerd the doctrine of vicarious liability: ‘The policy purposes underlying the imposition of vicarious liability on employers are served only where the wrong is so connected with the employment that it can be . .
CitedDubai Aluminium Company Limited v Salaam and Others HL 5-Dec-2002
Partners Liable for Dishonest Act of Solicitor
A solicitor had been alleged to have acted dishonestly, having assisted in a fraudulent breach of trust by drafting certain documents. Contributions to the damages were sought from his partners.
Held: The acts complained of were so close to . .
CitedLister and Others v Hesley Hall Ltd HL 3-May-2001
A school board employed staff to manage a residential school for vulnerable children. The staff committed sexual abuse of the children. The school denied vicarious liability for the acts of the teachers.
Held: ‘Vicarious liability is legal . .
CitedAldred v Naranco CA 1987
A co-employee pushed a wash basin against Ms Aldred in order to startle her. She turned round quickly to see what was going on and injured her back in the process.
Held: Applying the traditional Salmond test, the co-employee’s act was not so . .
CitedMattis v Pollock (T/A Flamingo’s Nightclub) CA 1-Jul-2003
A nightclub employed an unlicensed bouncer/doorman. After an altercation in and outside the club, he went home, and returned armed and seriously assaulted the customer.
Held: The club had vicarious liability for his acts. There was a . .
CitedWilson v Exel UK Ltd SCS 29-Apr-2010
A supervisor in a depot was entrusted to implement the employers’ health and safety policies. In a prank, he forcefully pulled an employee’s head back by her hair.
Held: The pursuer’s appeal against rejection of the claim based upon vicarious . .
CitedWeddall v Barchester Healthcare Ltd CA 24-Jan-2012
Parties appealed against judgments dismissing their claims of vicarious liability as against their employers after assaults by co-employees.
Held: Appeals were dismissed and allowed according to their facts.
In one case, one employee . .
CitedVaickuviene and Others v J Sainsbury Plc SCS 11-Jul-2013
A Mr Romasov was killed by a fellow employee in a Sainsbury’s supermarket; this fellow employee had, two days earlier, told Mr Romasov that he did not like immigrants and that he should go back to his own country. There was an argument when the . .

Cited by:
CitedChell v Tarmac Cement and Lime Ltd CA 12-Jan-2022
Explosive pellet not part of employee’s role.
The claimant worked on a site operated by the respondent. One of the respondent’s employees exploded two pellet targets injuring the claimant’s hearing. He asserted vicarious liability in the respondent. There had been tensions between the claimant . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Vicarious Liability, Personal Injury

Updated: 14 January 2022; Ref: scu.542263