A man who was hit on the head by a security guard after being ejected from a hotel for spitting out nuts, and suffered a fractured skull and bleeding on the brain, has been awarded more than $200,000 in damages, with the Supreme Court of New South Wales finding that the man was the victim of an intentional assault.
On 13 November 2012, Serkan Uguzcu went to the Macquarie Hotel in Liverpool. He ordered a beer and sat at one of the poker machines. He was eating some nuts and one of the nuts became stuck in his throat. In an attempt to clear his throat, he spat out the nuts. A security guard asked him to leave as a result of spitting the nut.
Mr Uguzcu was followed by the security guard as he walked out the door. He exchanged words with the security guard and then walked across the road towards his car. Just before reaching his car, the security guard hit him on the back of his head with the security guard’s two-way radio.
Mr Uguzcu suffered a fractured skull and bleeding on the brain as a result of the assault. He later developed post-traumatic stress disorder with anxiety and depression symptoms.
Mr Uguzcu commenced proceedings in the Supreme Court of New South Wales against various parties, including the security guard, and claimed damages.
His Honour Davies J noted that the act of striking Mr Uguzcu on the head with a two-way radio was an intentional act. Further, given the injuries that were sustained as a result of the assault, the striking must have been done with intent to cause injury to Mr Uguzcu. Accordingly, the provisions of the Civil Liability Act 2002 (NSW) did not apply.
Davies J found that Mr Uguzcu suffered a head injury as a result of the intentional assault, and awarded damages in the total sum of $236,728, to be offset by an earlier negotiated settlement as against the occupier of the hotel and the security company that employed the security guard: Uguzcu v Macquarie Hotel Liverpool Pty Ltd  NSWSC 843.
This article was written by Jackie Waugh, Wolters Kluwer Torts editor, and first appeared in the Australian Tort, Personal Injury, Health & Medical Law Tracker dated 11 August 2016.