Mattis v Pollock (T/A Flamingo’s Nightclub): QBD 24 Oct 2002

The claimant sought damages after being assaulted by a doorman employed by the defendant.
Held: The responsibility of the nightclub owner for the actions of his aggressive doorman was not extinguished by the separation in time and place from what had happened in the nightclub, and that vicarious liability was therefore established. The owner had chosen to employ the doorman, knowing and approving of his aggressive tendencies, which he had encouraged rather than curbed. The court considered closely the effect of the decision in Lister v Hesley Hall. However, ‘even if it were not necessary to be able to point to some duty owed by Mr. Pollock to Mr. Mattis which was current at the time of Mr. Cranston’s attack, there was not a sufficiently close connection between the employment of Mr. Cranston by Mr. Pollock and the assault on Mr. Mattis for it to be fair and just for Mr. Pollock to be vicariously liable to Mr. Mattis for the consequences of that attack. ‘


Richard Seymour QC J


[2002] EWHC 2177 (QB), [2003] 1 WLR 2158, [2004] 4 All ER 85, [2003] All ER (D) 10, [2004] PIQR P3, [2003] IRLR 603, [2003] ICR 1335




England and Wales


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 . .
CitedRose v Plenty CA 7-Jul-1975
Contrary to his employers orders, a milkman allowed children to assist him in his milkround. One was injured, and sued the milkman’s employer.
Held: The milkman had not gone so far outside the activities for which he was employed for the . .
CitedMorris v C W Martin and Sons Ltd CA 1965
The plaintiff took her mink stole to the defendants for cleaning. An employee received and stole the fur. The judge had held that the defendants were not liable because the theft was not committed in the course of employment.
Held: The . .
CitedHeasmans v Clarity Cleaning Co CA 1987
A contractor was taken on to clean offices and was given keys. A cleaner made expensive international telephone calls.
Held: The appeal succeeded. The contractor was not vicariously liable for his employee’s acts. There had to be shown some . .
CitedDeatons Pty Ltd v Flew 12-Dec-1949
(High Court of Australia). A barmaid employed by the appellant threw first the beer from a glass, and then the glass in a customer’s face causing injury. The company appealed a find of vicarious liability.
Held: The act of the barmaid was not . .
CitedCercato-Gouveia v Kiprianou and Another CA 17-Jul-2001
Application for permission to appeal. Granted. An employer might be vicariously liable to one employee for the acts of another employee to whom he had delegated some of his duties to the claimant employee. . .
CitedWarren v Henlys Ltd 1948
A garage attendant, as an act of personal vengeance, assaulted a customer of the garage. A customer at a petrol station was abused by the attendant as he drove off without paying. The customer then paid. He complained to the police officer he found . .
CitedBalfron Trustees Ltd v Peterson CA 2001
The court analysed in detail the decision in Lister v Hesley Hall and continued: ‘All of these passages emphasise the necessity of identifying the duty or responsibility of the employer to the victim. If such a duty or responsibility exists, the . .

Cited by:

CitedMajrowski v Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust CA 16-Mar-2005
The claimant had sought damages against his employer, saying that they had failed in their duty to him under the 1997 Act in failing to prevent harassment by a manager. He appealed a strike out of his claim.
Held: The appeal succeeded. The . .
CitedMajrowski v Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust HL 12-Jul-2006
Employer can be liable for Managers Harassment
The claimant employee sought damages, saying that he had been bullied by his manager and that bullying amounting to harassment under the 1997 Act. The employer now appealed a finding that it was responsible for a tort committed by a manager, saying . .
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 . .
CitedMohamud v WM Morrison Supermarkets plc SC 2-Mar-2016
The claimant had been assaulted and racially abused as he left a kiosk at the respondent’s petrol station by a member of staff. A manager had tried to dissuade the assailant, and the claim for damages against the supermarket had failed at first . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Personal Injury, Vicarious Liability

Updated: 07 June 2022; Ref: scu.178900