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Man sues Indian florist for £1.5 mn

The 'victim' banker says he has been hospitalised for 6 months after he slipped on a petal from florist Bella Patel's shop.
IANS | By HT Correspondent, London
UPDATED ON JUL 18, 2007 12:31 PM IST

A man who apparently slipped and damaged his back on a floral fragment lying on the ground next to a flower shop owned by a British Indian woman, is claiming 1.5 million pounds in compensation.

A judge on Tuesday ruled in favour of bank worker Brian Piccolo, who arrived at the high court using a walking stick, saying flower shop owner Bella Patel should have kept the thoroughfare of her shop, Chiltern Flowers, clean at Marylebone Station in Central London.

Patel, 45, said the incident four years ago had already cost her 40,000 pounds and could end up ruining her. She insisted that there was no evidence that a petal from her shop was to blame.

But 50-year-old Piccolo, who has been on long-term sick leave and hospitalised for six months after the fall, said his life had been turned upside down. "My life has been turned upside down. I can't do the things that I want to do with my boys or around the house," he said.

"I have been told my condition will probably deteriorate and I may end up in a wheelchair," he added.

The court heard how the fall happened March 10, 2003 as Piccolo was on his way to work.

A security guard told Judge John Altman Tuesday that he had seen Piccolo slip on a "yellow petal" and went on to describe it as a "killer", The Daily Mail reported.

Patel said her insurance would not be able to meet the full amount of Piccolo's claim.

"I have been told that our insurance runs to something like 8,00,000 pounds. So if the judge awards Piccolo the full amount, then we will be bankrupt and I will be financially ruined. I cannot believe this has been going on for so long and the judge has now ruled against me," she said.

Altman ruled that staff at Chiltern Flowers should have cleaned up outside the shop.

"In the course of the shop's activities petals fell on to the concourse near the shop and I find that the presence of petals on this concourse floor presented a foreseeable hazard of slipping," the judge said.

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