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Clacton couple Dennis and Margaret Wood win landmark case after holiday ruined by illness in Dominican Republic

By on January 20, 2017

A Clacton couple who fell ill during a special break to celebrate their Ruby Wedding anniversary are to receive compensation after a ruling in the Court of Appeal.

Dennis and Margaret Wood were celebrating 40 years together on an all-inclusive stay at the Bahia Principe in Cayacoa, in the Dominican Republic in March 2011.

But their two-week holiday was ruined when they both developed acute gastroenteritis after consuming contaminated food or drink at the hotel.

A judge awarded Mr Wood damages which included £16,500 for pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life and his wife £7,500. However, TUI Travel plc trading as First Choice appealed against the finding of liability.

In London today, Sir Brian Leveson, Lord Justice McFarlane and Lord Justice Burnett upheld the decision given in Birmingham County Court which was based on the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982.

They said that underlying the appeal was a concern that package tour operators should not become the guarantor of the quality of food and drink the world over when it was provided as part of the holiday which they had contracted to provide.

First Choice’s counsel spoke of it being potentially liable for every upset stomach which occurred during one of its holidays.

But that was not what the judge’s finding, or the conclusion that he applied the correct legal approach, dictated.

Rejecting the “floodgates” argument, they said that the judge was satisfied on the evidence that Mr and Mrs Wood became ill as a result of food or drink which was not of satisfactory quality.

Simon O’Loughlin, of law firm Irwin Mitchell, said: “Dennis is understandably devastated by what happened to him and he has good reason to be. But we are happy that he can now put this ordeal behind him.

“Dennis and his wife went on holiday expecting an amazing relaxing break but it was ruined by the horrible illness he suffered.

“And then, to add insult to injury, the tour operator has fought them through two court hearings to avoid liability by seeking to rely on a technical interpretation of the law.

“The Court of Appeal judges have unanimously agreed in his favour and we see this as a victory for common sense.

“The couple only ate food and drank in the hotel and Dennis suffered very severe gastroenteritis as a result.

“Their holiday was ruined and they deserve a fair settlement to enable them to put it behind them and move on.”

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