By Andrew Starke

The Merivale Group headed by high-profile publican, Justin Hemmes, believes it has been ‘vindicated’ after a negligence claim was yesterday (Sept 20) settled out of court.

The group was being sued over an incident at the Hotel CBD in May 2009 in which a patron, Grant Harms, was assaulted by another man.

Harms alleged that the Merivale group and its private security company, Our Security, were negligent in an altercation at the inner city hotel that left him with a fractured eye socket.

The NSW District Court heard Merivale’s legal team dispute claims that the assailant, Sean Hogan, had been allowed to return to the bar after being evicted from the premises and accused Harms of inciting Hogan.

Despite suing for over $100,000, it is understood that Harms did not receive any damages in the settlement.

A verdict was recorded in Merivale's favour with each party agreeing to pay their own legal costs.

“Merivale is vindicated by today’s verdict in its favour in the District Court regarding the claim made by a patron of the Hotel CBD, Mr Grant Harms,” said the company in a statement.

“The security staff of Merivale acted professionally and appropriately at all times in relation to this matter.”

The result is a welcome reprieve for the group’s embattled security operations that have been subject to police and media scrutiny since bouncers at Ivy were arrested over an incident in late August at the Sydney club.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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