Tuesday, 18 March 2008

The grapes of wrath

The world’s gone mad – we all know that. But this story proves that there’s still a modicum of common sense left in it.

An accountant who tried to sue Marks & Spencer after he slipped on a grape and injured himself has lost his case and been ordered to pay legal costs.

Alexander Martin-Sklan, 55, sued for more than £300,000 over the 2004 incident in which he said a squashed grape from the store got lodged under the sole of his right sandal, causing him to slip and fall.

He said he suffered a ruptured quadricep, adverse psychological effects and depression following the incident, which meant that his business suffered and he could no longer ski or play tennis.

No longer ski or play tennis? The poor fella.

But the judge ruled against him, determining that while there may have been a grape or some "crushed fruit or similar" on the sole of Martin-Sklan's sandal, he was not persuaded that it "caused the claimant to slip."

The judge clearly has his head screwed on. He said: "In my judgment it was one of those accidents that could happen to anyone." Too many times these days – and especially in the USA - “accidents that could happen to anyone” result in legal action.

Martin-Sklan, who represented himself in the case, was ordered to pay the retailer's legal fees of nearly £20,000. Could he also have been fined for wasting the court’s time?

He refused to comment after the judgment. I wonder if he’s planning to appeal?

So, my question is this: Are grapes like banana skins - we all hear about people slipping on them but have never known anyone who's actually slipped on one?

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