€40,000 for man after ear bitten in attack
A CARPENTER who had the top of his ear bitten off in a nightclub was awarded €40,000 damages at the High Court yesterday.
Darren Curneen (28) sued Lacefield Taverns Ltd, trading as Sidewalk Night Club, Upper O'Connell Street, Dublin, for breach of duty of care to him.
The company was not represented in court and the case went undefended.
The court heard Mr Curneen's attacker was arrested with blood on his lips and face and later pleaded guilty in the criminal courts to assault.
It also heard a similar incident had happened in the club just five minutes earlier on the night of February 3, 2002.
Mr Curneen told the court he was on the dance floor when he felt a sharp sensation from behind. "I just put my hand to my ear and noticed blood on it," he said.
He went to the bathroom and was asked by a doorman if he needed an ambulance. Mr Curneen replied: "Of course I do."
He said there were two security men on duty that night.
Mr Curneen, of Oakwood Grove, Clondalkin, Dublin, had been offered plastic surgery for his wound but was told there was no guarantee how it would turn out and the disfigurement could be worsened.
Mr Justice Peter Charleton said the circumstances of the case were extraordinary and distressing as the young man had part of his ear bitten off while out socialising.
The judge recalled that about 10 years ago there had been a fad where people were hitting people on the street for no reason whatsoever.
That was bad enough but going around biting pieces off people was something that should not happen in any civilised community, the judge said.
It was clear the nightclub had a duty of care to those on the premises and should have dealt with the attacker and protected patrons, he added.
The court also heard Mr Curneen had been in a lot of pain for four years after the attack.