Woman hurt at Ann Summers party loses appeal

Tuesday 01 April 2014 19.24
The judge ruled that Sylvia Deehan was not entitled to recover damages
The judge ruled that Sylvia Deehan was not entitled to recover damages

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 held at a Dublin pub.

In his judgment today, Mr Justice Max Barrett ruled that Sylvia Deehan was not entitled to recover damages against the owners of the Lough Inn pub.

Mr Justice Barrett said he accepted Ms Deehan was a decent woman who was entitled to sympathy for the injuries she suffered following her fall in the pub.

He also said accepted her version of events of what happened that night.

However, he said he could not find that the Lough Inn in Loughlinstown had been negligent.

He added that it had not been proven the pub, on the night of the incident, "failed to take all reasonable steps to safeguard its patrons against risks and dangers that were foreseeable".

Ms Deehan, 46, of Maple Avenue, Ballybrack, Dublin, 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, which had been thrown in the air by an Ann Summers representative at the pub.

The alleged incident occurred as part of a ladies night held in the pub, prior to a performance by the 'Hunks of Desire' stripper group on 21 January 2011.

The action came before Dublin Circuit Court last June, but was dismissed. Ms Deehan appealed that ruling to the High Court.

The appeal was heard over three days and involved testimony for number of people who were present on the night of the alleged incident, staff at the bar, engineering experts, as well as a friend and a relative of Ms Deehan's.

Following his ruling, the judge said he was making no order in respect of the costs of the High Court appeal, meaning that both sides will have to pay their own legal costs. 

Mr Justice Barrett said he was not interfering with the costs order made against Ms Deehan in the Circuit Court.

The court heard that before the stripper event 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 having burst the most balloons, the Ann Summers representative threw the prize up in the air between them.

As she went for the prize, Ms Deehan said 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 her sister took her to hospital that night.

She said she spent two weeks in bed recovering from her injuries.

The pub had denied her claim and argued that if Ms Deehan did suffer any injuries that night, they were not sustained in the Lough Inn.

In their defence, the owners of the pub had argued that Ms Deehan did not fall as she had alleged.

The pub’s lawyers claimed that she had been boisterous and was escorted off the premises as, it was alleged, she had too much to drink that night.

That allegation was rejected by Ms Deehan.