Twist in case of lawyer suing Woolies over slip
A LAWYER suing Woolworths for $1.3million after allegedly slipping on a shallot has been banned from contacting insurers who complained of harassment.
Ipswich mother Olga Day was the target of what a judge dubbed an "unusual application" after claims the Zurich insurance firm was menaced and its staff threatened.
Previously, Mrs Day said she did not see the shallot in time because she was distracted when an in-store demonstrator promoted a constipation aid.
Mrs Day, who qualified as a lawyer in her native Russia, said she suffered personal injuries after the shallot incident in 2014.
Lawyers for two product demonstration companies claimed Ms Day, through her husband, tried to intimidate and harass their insurer.
Retail Activation and CPM Australia alleged Zurich staff faced a cavalcade of threats.
The companies told Justice James Douglas Mrs Day's husband accused Zurich directors "of misusing shareholders' funds" by encouraging lawyers to "drag" her claim through the courts.
Justice Douglas, of Brisbane Supreme Court, was told Mrs Day and her husband threatened to contact media to disclose "appalling practices".
And the couple allegedly accused two lawyers of "corrupt conduct".
The companies alleged Mrs Day was acting in ways solicitors could not, such as by contacting an opposing client directly instead of through lawyers.
Mrs Day told Justice Douglas she had realistic chances of success in proving allegations of professional misconduct, breach of directors' duties and corrupt conduct.
Justice Douglas said Mrs Day had nearly finished a law degree, had worked for a law firm, and been involved in litigation several times before.
He said public interest in the right of free speech meant he was worried about granting the injunction the companies wanted.
But Justice Douglas agreed to ban Mrs Day from direct contact with Zurich, and must go through the insurers' lawyers.
"...If there are legitimate complaints to be made about the solicitors' conduct or Zurich's conduct, then there are other possible avenues open to Mrs Day," Justice Douglas said.