Teacher takes school to court after slipping on grape
A TEACHER who broke her leg after falling on a grape at a Maryborough school in an unfortunate accident has tried to sue her former employer.
Three years ago, Debbie Ann Deans stepped on a grape and slipped while walking through a foyer which was accessed by young children retrieving snacks for a fruit break moments earlier.
She fractured her left patella after landing on top of a large chart book she had been carrying at the time of the fall at Riverside Christian College.
Brisbane District Court heard last week that the now 56-year-old was forced out of full-time employment due to the sustained injury, and had since gained part-time employment at a different school.
Her lawsuit was unsuccessful after Judge Brad Farr found Riverside Christian College not responsible for the incident, concluding that the school did not breach its duty of care to Ms Deans.
Ms Deans' legal team argued that the foyer area should have been cleaned immediately after kids accessed it for the fruit break.
The court heard that keeping the foyer clean was up to the teachers that were responsible for the three classrooms that lead onto the foyer.
Judge Farr concluded the in-place procedure was good enough, and a more extensive clean-up would not have prevented the fall.
"I am not satisfied that even if the defendant had engaged a person to inspect the area, immediately after the children had collected their fruit, that it is probable that one grape on the floor would have been detected," Judge Farr said.
"The plaintiff must have walked through the foyer area almost immediately after the children obtained their fruit from their bags."
Since the incident, the school had changed the linoleum floor to carpet.
Former Riverside Christian College principal, Anne O'Brien, said the change was because the linoleum floor had been in place for 17 years and was due for replacement, not as a response to the incident.
Deans' legal team also suggested that children could have kept their bags in an area with less foot traffic, or skipped the fruit break altogether and waited for morning tea to eat in a designated area, to have kept the grape incident from happening.