Woman sues wedding venue for £150,000 after slipping on ‘puddle’ on dancefloor

Special needs teacher Cara Donovan, 35, from Romford, Essex, fell and smashed her elbow on the dancefloor at Leez Priory – which has been repeatedly voted the UK’s Best Wedding Venue

A teacher left in agony after breaking her elbow on a wedding venue’s “slippery” dancefloor has sued the company running the event for £150,000.

Cara Donovan, 35, was a wedding guest at Country House Weddings Ltd’s venue Leez Priory – a 16th Century Tudor mansion near Chelmsford, Essex.

The manor, which is nestled in 40 acres of parkland, has been repeatedly voted the UK’s Best Wedding Venue.

The special needs teacher is now suing the company in charge of the reception for £150,000 after slipping and breaking her elbow on their state-of-the-art “twinkling dancefloor” in September 2018.

The 35-year-old’s elbow was badly broken and she was left with constant arm pain – which still impacts all areas of her everyday life.

Despite three operations, Cara’s arm is still in agony, and she has been unable to return to teach at school.

Country House Weddings Ltd, which owns Leez Priory, were told by the suppliers of the high-tech dancefloor that it would be a slip-hazard if drinks were spilled on it, according to documents filed at the High Court.

But nothing was done to prevent guests taking liquid on the dancefloor and the company’s adverts even showed photos of people drinking and dancing, Cara’s lawyers claim.

“During the evening guests would go onto the dancefloor – either to cross it or to dance – holding glasses of drink and occasionally spilling drink onto the dancefloor,” says her barrister, Philip Goddard.

“The dance floor became wet with patches of spilt drink.

“The dancefloor’s underfloor lights made it difficult for those on the dancefloor to see spilt liquid on the surface.

“At about 10pm, the claimant went onto the floor to dance. She slipped in the spilt drink, fell and fractured her right, dominant, arm.”

Doctors have performed three surgeries on Cara’s broken arm, but none have healed her permanent pain and weakness, the lawyer claims.

The mother-of-two, from Romford, can’t write, drive, use a keyboard, or handle any two-handed machinery after her injury.

“She would like to return to teaching, but is inhibited by the injury,” says Mr Goddard.

“A fourth operation may be needed to remove a bone fragment, but its present condition is unlikely to improve.”

Cara blames Country House Weddings Ltd for her injury and the impact it has had on her life.

She claims the company didn’t follow the supplier’s “no drinks” warning and failed to enforce it by putting staff at suitable locations around the venue.

Tables were also placed at the dancefloor’s edge, which Cara claims encouraged people to drink and dance.

Staff also failed to move guests to mop up spilled drinks, it is claimed.

Country House Weddings Ltd’s defence was not available from the court.

Cara’s claim has not yet been tested in evidence by a judge.

The defence to the action by Country House Weddings Ltd was not available from the court and the contents of Mrs Donovan’s claim have not yet been tested in evidence by a judge.