Sex toy fall woman loses legal bid
A judge has told a woman who suffered painful injuries in a rush to grab a spot prize at a sex toy party that bad things can happen to good people.
Sylvia Deehan, 46, of Maple Avenue, Ballybrack, Dublin, lost her legal action against a bar near her home after claiming she was shoved into a speaker when "a ring that goes around a certain part of a man" was thrown in the air.
High Court judge Max Barrett said Ms Deehan was a decent woman entitled to sympathy for her injuries suffered during a ladies' night at the Lough Inn on January 21, 2011.
But he ruled she could not expect every part of the pub to be completely accident-proof.
"Bad things can happen to good people and still no compensable event may arise," he said in a seven-page judgment.
The mother-of-two had blamed the pub owner Loughlinstown Inn Ltd for her injuries during the Ann Summers party night, which climaxed in a performance by the Hunks of Desire male stripper troupe.
In her sworn testimony, she said she was bursting balloons on the floor when in full view of at least another 62 women she went to catch the spot prize when she was pushed from behind and hit a speaker next to the disc jockey's box.
She alleged she injured her ribs.
Judge Barrett said he preferred her version of the conflicting accounts of events, which was corroborated by the disc jockey.
But it was not proven the Lough Inn failed to take all reasonable steps to safeguard customers against foreseeable dangers.
Furthermore, there was evidence it acted to put the loudspeaker in a safe place, he ruled.
"Moreover, the truth is that Ms Deehan could have fallen anywhere in the pub and the only means of effectively guarding against the risk of such a fall would have been to swaddle every available surface in the pub in protective material," he said.
"For the Lough Inn to 'accident-proof' its premises in such a manner would be both highly expensive and entirely impracticable."
The judge said anyone who freely decides to go to a pub, drink alcohol, engage in a party game and jump for a spot prize can reasonably expect to fall.
However, they can not expect compensation, he added.
"Ms Deehan impressed the court in her testimony as a decent woman who is entitled to, and has, the court's sympathy for the painful injuries that she suffered at the Lough Inn," he said.
"However, for the reasons stated, her action against the defendant in these proceedings must fail."
Ms Deehan had appealed her case to the High Court after losing an action in the lower Circuit Court.