Lessons From The Orcher Case

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In November 2012, The Daily Telegraph ran the headline:

Bouncers’ duty to anticipate violence, court rules.

Then followed a short story based on the 62 page judgment from Judge Ian Harrison. Harrison was deciding the case of John Orcher in the NSW Supreme Court. (For full Daily Telegraph story click here)

Mr Orcher had taken action against multiple parties after he’d been seriously injured in an incident near Rozelle’s Bridge Hotel. The incident involved an employee of the hotel and took place across the road from the hotel.

The judge awarded Mr Orcher $1.4m. The judgement was made against:

* Bowcliff Pty Ltd – the owners of The Bridge Hotel
* QBE Insurance – insurers of DSSS Cousins Pty Ltd employers of the security guard on duty on the night of the incident.

The judge deemed that 70% of the award was payable by Bowcliff, and 30% by QBE.

Add the legal costs (their own plus Mr Orcher’s) and this is an extremely expensive outcome for the venue. But that still may not reflect the real cost of the incident in terms of the financial and emotional impact on all the parties involved.

While the case is subject to appeal it still contains lessons for many … and especially for operators and licensees of hospitality venues.

Lesson 1 – Be Specific About Your Undertakings.

Lesson 2 – Ensure Your Agreements With Providers Are Documented And Clear.

Lesson 3 – Quality In Security Is Paramount.

Lesson 4 – Conduct Regular Security Risk Assessments.

Lesson 5 – A Final Word

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