Discrimination claim - James' story
James Plummer has multiple sclerosis. In 2010 James purchased a flat at the Royal Herbert Pavilions. One of the reasons James purchased the flat was to use the swimming pool in the Pavilions’ leisure club.
The swimming pool was located in the Pavilions basement and accessed via a steep staircase. Because of James’ disability, he could not access or use the swimming pool without significant difficulty and risk of falling.
James asked Royal Herbert Freehold Limited (the company which owned the leisure club and acted on behalf of the Pavilions residents) for certain reasonable adjustments which he said could have enabled him to access and use the swimming pool without difficulty, just as all other residents could. Royal Herbert refused to provide these adjustments.
Seven years later, and three years after proceedings were issued with the support of Leigh Day, the Court ruled in James’ favour, finding that Royal Herbert had failed in its duty to provide reasonable adjustments.
The Court was critical of Royal Herbert’s conduct in respect of their handling of James’ requests for adjustments and complimentary of how James had conducted himself. The outcome also set a number of legal precedents including that Royal Herbert was a ‘service provider’, as opposed to landlord, in its management of the leisure club (which meant it had enhanced obligations in respect of a duty to make reasonable adjustments), and the highest award for damages for injury to feelings for a case of this kind.
This case was about a fundamental desire to do something we all take for granted.
Nick Webster, employment and discrimination solicitor