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Wednesday 17 September 2014

Woman loses appeal over injury at Ann Summers party

Aodhan O'Faolain

Published 02/04/2014 | 02:30

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Sylvia Deehan sued the owners of a pub
Sylvia Deehan sued the owners of a pub

THE High Court has dismissed a woman's damages claim for injuries she said she sustained after being knocked down at an Ann Summers lingerie party in a pub.

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In his judgment yesterday, Mr Justice Max Barrett ruled that Sylvia Deehan was not entitled to recover damages against the owners of the Lough Inn public house in Loughlinstown, south Dublin.

The judge, describing Ms Deehan as a decent woman who was entitled to sympathy for the injuries she suffered, said he accepted her version of events as "substantively true". However, he said it had not been proven the pub "failed to take all reasonable steps to safeguard its patrons against risks and dangers that were foreseeable".

Nor could the pub be found to be negligent, he added.

Ms Deehan (46), a mother of two from Maple Avenue, Ballybrack, Co Dublin, had sued Loughlinstown Inn Ltd, trading as the Lough Inn Public House, for damages. Her claims were denied.

She alleged she was pushed by another woman who was striving to grab a prize, described "as a ring that goes around a certain part of a man", which had been thrown in the air by an Ann Summers representative at the pub.

The accident occurred as part of a ladies' night in the pub, prior to a performance by the 'Hunks of Desire' male stripper troupe on January 21, 2011.

The action came before Dublin Circuit Court last June but was dismissed. Ms Deehan appealed that ruling to the High Court. The High Court appeal was heard over three days.

Following his ruling, the judge said he was making no order in respect of the costs of the appeal, meaning that both sides will have to pay their own legal costs. The judge said he would not interfere with the costs order made against Ms Deehan in the Circuit Court.

The court heard Ms Deehan and a friend were one of several pairs that participated in a game involving bursting balloons between their bodies.

After she and her friend tied for first place with another couple the Ann Summers representative threw the prize up in the air between them.

As Ms Deehan went for the prize, she was shoved aside by another woman and fell against the leg of a loudspeaker, injuring her ribs. She was unable to breathe properly and was crouched over. Her sister took her to hospital that night and she spent a fortnight in bed recovering from her injuries.

CORROBORATED

The pub, in its defence, argued Ms Deehan did not fall as she alleged. Its lawyers argued that if Ms Deehan did suffer any injuries that night they were not sustained in the Lough Inn. It was also claimed she had been boisterous and was escorted off the premises as she had too much to drink that night.

Mr Justice Barrett said that after hearing conflicting evidence he preferred Ms Deehan's version of events. Her testimony was corroborated by a DJ who "witnessed much of what occurred". However, the judge said she was not entitled to compensation in law.

He said a person like Ms Deehan who freely elects to drink alcohol, engage in a party game and jumps for a spot prize cannot expect every part of a pub will be made injury-proof. Nor can such a person assume they are entitled to compensation should they fall.

Irish Independent

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