Arlingsworth’s Victory Against Starbucks

Arlingsworth Solicitors are proud to announce that we have won against the corporate giant coffeehouse chain Starbucks in a personal injury case. The Claimant, an employee at the coffeehouse’s head office, was carrying out her duties when a precariously placed chair fell and crushed her foot.

Severely affected for 2 months with limited mobility, sleeping problems, and physical and emotional suffering, the Claimant rightly sought compensation from her employer. Astonishingly, the café chain refused to cover the costs of the medical treatment and rehabilitation and argued that the Claimant had caused the injury to herself, therefore removing the employer’s liability.

Unfortunately, such behaviour by employers is not uncommon, leaving many victims of workplace accidents feeling intimidated and left to fend for themselves.

While such cases may seem rather straight-forward, the law relating to Employers’ Liability can be complex. The case which highlights this duty was Wilsons and Clyde Coal Co Ltd v English (1938), where Lord Wright stated:

“The whole course of authority consistently recognises a duty which rests on the employer, and which is personal to the employer, to take reasonable care for the safety of his workmen, whether the employer be an individual, a firm or a company, and whether or not the employer takes any share in the conduct of the operations.”

It is this landmark case which also established the elements of what this duty means in practice. The House of Lords held that the employer must provide:

    • Proper and safe plant and equipment
    • Safe systems of work, with adequate supervision and instruction
    • Safe premises, including safe access and egress
    • Safe and competent employees.

Therefore, in order to establish that Starbucks was at fault, the Claimant had to prove that the employer owed a duty of care and that duty was breached.

In this particular case, even though the Claimant was unable to explain exactly how the chair had fallen on to her foot, Counsel was able to argue the principle res ipsa loquitur—the facts speak for themselves—therefore, negligence can be inferred through the circumstances.

Finally after a grinding 3 year battle, the Courts decided in favour of the Claimant, both during the trial at first instance and when Starbucks tried to make a long shot appeal.

Securing this major win after a long and arduous case proves Arlingsworth Solicitors remains dedicated to promoting the interests of accident victims. At Arlingsworth, our Personal Injury lawyers are experienced in dealing with all types of Personal Injury claims including road traffic accidents, clinical negligence, accidents at work and accidents caused by defective products.

For more information on our services, please visit our personal injury page: Or call our team in Brighton on 01273 696 962, or in London on 0203 358 0058.