A WOMAN sales rep has lost an action for damages over claims she injured her arm after a man fell on top of her while they were dancing at Dublin nightclub Copper Face Jacks.
Ciara O'Connell (33) was dancing backwards to a Shakira song with work colleague Noel Humphries when the incident happened at the Harcourt Street venue on August 4, 2006.
Mr Justice Sean Ryan said this was an "unfortunate" accident but he could not find Ms O'Connell's injuries could be attributed to a slippery floor and he therefore could not find the nightclub was negligent.
Ms O'Connell and Mr Humphries were engaged in modern dancing "of the kind that takes place in nightclubs and which is not easy to describe in terms that make sense". The nightclub described it as "dirty dancing" after the film, he noted.
While the floor of the nightclub was under the defendant's control, the dancing activity of Ms O'Connell and Mr Humphries was not and it was possible the accident could have happened without a slippery floor or a dangerous site, he said. Ms O'Connell and Mr Humphries were dancing backwards in close proximity in a situation that carried the risk either of them would miss a step or lose their footing.
She was moving in a backwards direction with Mr Humphries dancing similarly in unison with her and they were quite close together.
As they moved backwards like that, Mr Humphries fell back and on top of Ms O'Connell who hit the ground heavily and suffered the injury.
"I do not think that this was in any way reckless or dangerous dancing but it did carry with it the risk of falling," he said. He said there was some evidence part of the floor was wet and was satisfied the floor on which Ms O'Connell was lying was wet, it did not follow the floor area where Mr Humphries fell was wet, he said. The issue was not if the floor was wet but if it was slippery.
Ms O'Connell (33) Glenview Park, Tallaght, Dublin fractured her arm and was out of work for three months.
In her action against Breanagh Catering Ltd, trading as Copper Face Jacks, she claimed Mr Humphries slipped on the floor, which she claimed was wet, and fell on to her causing her to fall to the ground.
The defendant denied liability and also pleaded Ms O'Connell was engaged in dangerous dancing.
The judge awarded costs against Ms O'Connell to the nightclub but directed it to pay Mr Humphries' legal costs.