Recruitment employee set to receive £1m after MD’s punch leaves him brain damaged

A sales manager at a Northampton-based recruitment agency is set to receive £1m after he was punched in the face by his boss, leaving him seriously brain damaged.

The Metro reports Clive Bellman, a sales manager at a Northampton-based franchise of driving staffing specialist Drivers Direct Recruitment, was hit by his life-long friend and boss John Major, after an office Christmas party at Northampton’s Hilton Hotel.

Bellman, who was left seriously brain damaged following the incident in 2011 where he fell and hit his head on a marble floor, initially sued the company for which they both worked, Northampton Recruitment Ltd, of which Major is managing director. 

His claim was rejected in 2016 by judge Barry Cotter QC, who ruled the company could not be held legally to blame for Major’s actions, with the judge ruling as the office party had ended by the time Major attacked Bellman at 3am, he was no longer acting in his role as MD. 

But now three Court of Appeal judges have reversed that decision, with Lady Justice Asplin saying Major “misused his position” as the company’s boss.

She said: “Mr Major was purporting to exercise his authority over his subordinates and was not merely one of a group of drunken revellers whose conversation had turned to work. It seems to me that the attack arose from a misuse of the position entrusted to Mr Major as MD. He asserted his authority in the presence of around 50% of Northampton Recruitment’s staff and misused that authority.”

While the amount of Mr Bellman’s damages payout has yet to be assessed, his lawyers say he is claiming over £1m.

Drivers Direct were approached for comment but Recruiter was told they could not comment on the matter. Both Bellman and Major were also approached for comment but Recruiter had not heard back by deadline.

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