Tui loses food poisoning case in landmark ruling as lawyers hail the decision as “of great significance to the industry”.
Travel Trade Gazette are reporting that travel giant Tui appealed on a legal technicality, arguing it was not responsible for contaminated food eaten at a Gran Bahia Principe hotel in the Dominican Republic.
Two First Choice clients, Dennis and Margaret Wood, were awarded £24,000 after contracting acute gastroenteritis in 2011.
The original ruling by Birmingham County Court stated that as the food had been contaminated through no fault of the hotel, the claim was invalid under the Package Travel Regulations.
The ruling by the Court of Appeal, however, was in favour of the clients because the food was not of “satisfactory quality” under the Supply of Goods and Services Act.
The court decided that under the Act, food represented goods that were “transferred” and that it was not of sufficient quality because it was contaminated.
Barristers Devereux said the case was “of great significance in the travel industry”. A spokesperson explained: “If the customer can show that they have become ill as a result of contaminated food provided under the holiday contract, then the food will be bound not to be of satisfactory quality and the customer will have a claim for damages against the tour operator.”
Simon O’Loughlin from solicitors Irwin Mitchell, which acted for the clients, said: “It cannot be overestimated how important this decision in is the field of travel law.
“The Court of Appeal has confirmed that it is not necessary for a claimant to establish fault on the part of the hotel or rely on the Package Travel Regulations in order to succeed in a food poisoning claim against a tour operator.”
JULIAN BRAY +44(0)1733 345581 Aerospace & Incident Management Expert, Journalist & Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations, Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industry, NUJ, EQUITY, LIVE ISDN LINK, Broadcast ISDN COOBE ++44 (0)1733 345020 e&oe Old faithful NOKIA: 07944 217476 www.aviationcomment.com