A recruitment firm could have to pay damages of up to £1million after the company’s Managing Director punched a Sales Manager at their Christmas party, leaving him with a brain injury.
The violent attack happened in the early hours of the morning in December 2011 as employees drank in the Hilton Hotel at the Collingtree Golf Club, the Daily Mail reports.
Lawyers say John Major, the MD at Northampton Recruitment Limited where the two men worked, punched Clive Bellman who then fell over and smashed his head on the marble floor, causing him to suffer a fractured skull and a severe traumatic brain injury.
While a judge initially ruled that the company could not be held legally to blame for Major's actions, that decision has now been reversed by three Court of Appeal judges – meaning Bellman could be eligible for damages. His lawyers suggest the figure could be as high at £1million.
Lady Justice Asplin explained that Major had “misused his position” as the company's boss. “'Mr Major was purporting to exercise his authority over his subordinates and was not merely one of a group of drunken revellers whose conversation had turned to work,” she said.
“It seems to me that the attack arose out of a misuse of the position entrusted to Mr Major as managing director.”
One witness’s statement adds weight to this argument. They said that just before Mr Major lunged at Mr Bellman he said: “I f***ing make the decisions in this company, it’s my business.”
Bellman’s daughter told the court that her father was still experiencing problems years after the attack, as he had to have a metal plate in his skull and has suffered a brain haemorrhage, which left him with no feeling in his left hand.
The full amount that Bellman may receive has not yet been confirmed.