A man who suffered a serious brain injury after trying to get back into a shop to avoid being attacked has been awarded more than €750,000 by the High Court.
The judge said Cian McCarthy was an innocent party and had suffered a most significant and serious brain injury in an assault outside Centra supermarket on Grand Parade in Cork during the Cork Jazz Festival seven years ago.
The 32-year-old psychiatric nurse had earlier been escorted from the Centra store after a disagreement at the deli counter when somebody jumped the queue.
Mr Justice Kevin Cross said the defendants' duty of care did not stop at the door of the premises.
He said in failing to readmit Mr McCarthy, and in pushing him back towards the danger, the defendants knew or ought to have known as a matter of virtual certainty Mr McCarthy would suffer some assault and some harm.
The court heard that Mr McCarthy and his fiancée were at the Centra supermarket on Halloween night 2011 at around 2am.
CCTV showed a large crowd, some in fancy dress, inside and outside the shop.
A man with a cardboard box on his head had attempted to jump the queue at the deli counter and Mr McCarthy and his fiancée had objected.
Mr McCarthy was assaulted and a row ensued with three people who followed him from the shop as he was escorted.
The first security guard failed to tell a second security guard that Mr McCathy was the innocent party.
Outside the shop he was chased by the three people who attempted to hit him on the head.
He sought safety at the shop but the second security guard, who had not seen him being chased and did not know he was innocent, pushed him back out towards the crowd.
The judge said he was pushed back in a falling motion and was grappled by the man with the box on his head.
A young woman was knocked to the ground and her boyfriend "intervened with a massive fist to Mr McCarthy's head causing him to fall to the ground, crack his head and suffer serious head and brain injury," the judge said.
That man was later sentenced to three years in jail.
The judge said while the shop security guards were entitled to eject Mr McCarthy - though he was entirely innocent - in order to avoid confrontation, the first security guard should have noticed the three people involved in the queue jumping row following him and advised the second security guard of the situation.
"A property owner or its security staff duly entitled may lawfully evict a customer from their premises but that eviction cannot involve the person in effect being thrown to the wolves with the property owner having no concerns of legal liability for anything that occurred once the eviction had taken place," Mr Justice Cross said.
Mr McCarthy of Dwyer Road, Midleton, Co Cork had sued Herlihy Supermarket Group Ltd with offices at Patrick Street, Fermoy, Co Cork the owners of the Centra supermarket on Grand Parade and Tekken Security with offices at Upper Clanbrassil Street, Harold's Cross Bridge, Dublin, which provided security at the Centra store for removing him from the store on 31 October 2011 and for preventing in him from re-entering.
Mr Justice Cross granted a stay in the event of an appeal.