Monday 23 September 2019

Nurse who claimed dry shampoo aerosol turned into 'flame thrower' in nightclub bathroom settles action

Sam Clarke Kavanagh
Picture: Collins
Sam Clarke Kavanagh Picture: Collins
The damage to her hand. Photo: Collins

Tim Healy

A nurse who sued after she claimed an aerosol dry shampoo turned into "a flame thrower" when she sprayed it in a nightclub toilets has settled her High Court action.

The flames Sam Clarke Kavanagh (27) said the flames hit her hair and she had to throw the aerosol down the toilet where flames continued to emit from the can.

The nurse, of Sandymount Road, Sandymount, Dublin, sued Hilda and Jon Conway, Claremont Road, Sandymount, Dublin the owners at the time of the Bronze bar and nightclub, Lower Baggot Street Dublin over the incident on December 4 2015 after she suffered burns to her right hand , face and singed her hair, eye lashes and eyebrows.

The aerosol of dry shampoo she said was one of a number of toiletries in a box in the club bathroom and she claimed a naked flame candle was  in the area and the aerosol spray ignited.

The damage to her hand. Photo: Collins
The damage to her hand. Photo: Collins

The owners at the time of the Bronze bar and nightclub claimed the aerosol dry shampoo was not supplied by them and could have been left there by another patron.

The bar and nightclub has changed ownership since  the incident, the court heard.

On the second day of the action today, Counsel for the nurse, Ivan Daly BL told the court the case had been compromised for an agreed sum of damages and costs. He asked the court to note there was no claim for loss of earnings.

Mr Justice David Keane said he was glad the case was resolved and he wished both sides well for the future.

At opening the case, Ms Clarke Kavanagh’s counsel Michael Byrne SC said it was a very terrifying incident and there was a naked candle beside the sink.

"The aerosol turned into a flame thrower and flame continued to shoot out two feet," counsel said.

He said a selfie taken before the incident showed Ms Clarke Kavanagh had a small handbag with her which was not big enough to hold a lipstick, never mind an aerosol spray.

He said the nurse was out of work for seven weeks after the accident.

In evidence she said she had gone to the nightclub to attend her friend's birthday celebration.

She said she went with another friend and when they got there at around 11pm, they ordered drinks and then went to the toilet.

Asked by her counsel if she had brought the aerosol of dry shampoo in to the nightclub , the witness said she does not carry dry shampoo with her.

She said she made a beeline for the products and sprayed the dry shampoo.

“It very quickly became a flame thrower. I stupidly tried to blow it out and it hit my hair. The flame continued to come out. I threw it down the toilet and the flames were still going on,” she said.

She said the fire alarm went off.

Cross examined by Colm Condon SC for the nightclub owners, she said she did not believe it was a case where another patron left the dry shampoo behind.

He asked why she went in to the toilets with her friend if she was not going to use the facilities herself.

Ms Clarke Kavanagh replied: “Girls go in packs of two.”

She had claimed  the bathroom facilities at the nightclub were allegedly rendered hazardous and unsafe because of the presence of naked flame candles and highly flammable aerosol cosmetic products in close proximity.

It was further claimed there was an alleged failure to supply non flammable aerosol cosmetic products and use electronic candles rather than naked flame candles.

The claims were denied and it was contended by the nightclub side it did not supply the aerosol spray.

It was alleged there was contributory negligence on the part of the nurse because she used the aerosol spray near a candle and she was the author of her own misfortune.

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