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Stabbed nightclub-goer wins damages for bouncer's attack

Leigh Day & Co's personal injury solicitor, Saira Habib, wins damages from the owner of a nightclub for the victim of their aggressive bouncer who was left paraplegic when his spinal cord was severed.

David Mattis with his wife Alison David's spine was severed leaving him paraplegic

2 July 2003

David Mattis was rendered a paraplegic after being stabbed in the back by a bouncer after an incident at a Woolwich nightclub. The Court of Appeal ruled today that Gerard Pollock, the owner of the nightclub, was personally responsible for the assault, as he had employed the doorman, Steven Cranston, knowing what he was like and encouraging his aggressive behaviour.

Spinal cord injury

David’s spinal cord was severed by the bouncer who was convicted of grievous bodily harm and sentenced to twelve years imprisonment, reduced to eight years on appeal. The stabbing happened after a disagreement in the nightclub between some friends of David Mattis and the bouncer. The fight spilled outside and the bouncer was chased away. He later returned, armed with knives, to find a group of people, including David Mattis and those involved in the earlier fight, a short distance from the club. While the others managed to run away, David didn’t and was stabbed in the back with the words “I’ll teach you to f*** with me”.

Although the stabbing happened a short distance away from the club and a while after the initial argument, the Court of Appeal agreed that it was directly related to what had gone on before and that the bouncer’s behaviour was still the responsibility of his employer.

The case was originally lost because the trial judge felt there was no close connection between the bouncer’s employment and the stabbing. However the Court of Appeal felt that the bouncer had been encouraged by the owner to be aggressive and intimidatory and that the physical injuries and public humiliation he had sustained inside the club motivated his need for revenge.

The appeal was won by personal injury lawyer Saira Habib in the Accident/Disaster Department of Leigh Day & Co.

Information was correct at time of publishing. See terms and conditions for further details.

Information was correct at time of publishing. See terms and conditions for further details.

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Who worked on this case

Sally Moore

Specialist Area

Spinal injuries