The NSW District Court awarded Sydney resident Merle Marie McMorrow more than $140,000 in damages after ruling serious dental injuries she received at Faulconbridge Fruit House - after tripping over a pallet of potatoes - could have been prevented.
According to the court ruling, Mrs McMorrow fell on her face after tripping over the pallet on December 24, 2009, causing damage to her front teeth and severe pain levels that did not ease for at least 18 months, preventing her from working during that time.
When asked last Thursday about the court's decision, Fruit House owner-proprietor Tony Todarello told the Gazette he felt "disappointed".
Mr Todarello said he did not see Mrs McMorrow falling over the pallet but claimed "there was plenty of area of walkway" at the shop entrance that day and nobody else injured themselves, despite it being "one of the busiest trading days of the year [Christmas Eve].
"We've been here [in Faulconbridge] as a fruit shop for 30 years and the previous owners were here for about 25 years and there's been never anything like that [a customer injuring themselves after tripping]," Mr Todarello said.
"We're always very careful - we take pride in what we do here and we have a very good relationship with our customers.
"The floors get swept three times per day."
"My view is she shouldn't have been awarded that much. People should take [more] responsibility for themselves."
Mrs McMorrow will receive $140,945 in damages for dental and psychiatric expenses and past, future and non-economic loss.
The court found the accident could have been prevented if the pallet had been moved elsewhere.
Judge Brian Knox ruled "the fact she (Mrs McMorrow) was walking swiftly or even that she was in a hurry does not impact on this finding.
"She was watching where she was going in a way, and to the extent which could reasonably have been expected, and did not see, nor could she have been expected to see, the protrusion."