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Man Awarded $650k for Strip Club Injury

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By Tanya Roth, Esq. on October 21, 2010 7:03 AM

Is it retribution: man sees stripper, man goes blind in one eye? Not. It's not karmic payback, it's personal injury. A man has received a $650,000 damage award for injuries received during a dance. Couldn't make that one up if we tried. Injured party Michael Ireland was popped in the eye by stripper "Suki's" spiked high heel back in 2008, when he got up close and personal during a dance at the Cheetah Club, near West Palm Beach, Fla.

According to the Palm Beach Post, the strip club injury was sustained during a stroll along the bar by the dancer. The performer spun suddenly when she felt someone touch her and poked her metal-heeled stiletto through Ireland's face, causing serious harm to the bones around his eye and his nose, resulting in permanent double vision and dizziness. This is quite an issue for Ireland; he makes his living as a roofer. The Cheetah Club decided to come to a settlement agreement, rather than going to court and risking a higher award at the hands of a jury.

For the defendants to feel that a sizable (but not outlandish) settlement like this was a better bet than trial indicates they felt Ireland had a good chance a higher damage award from a jury. In any case, this decision by the defendants to play it safe seems to reinforce the theory that Suki the stripper (a nom de strip, the Post reports her real name is Sakeena Shageer) was acting in a careless and negligent manner when she put her stiletto through Ireland's eye.

That is correct, the duty of care we all have to act in a manner that is not likely to cause harm to others follows us everywhere, even into a strip club. Of course, the plaintiff would have had an easier time of proving negligence if Suki were shown to the jury to be drunk or otherwise under the influence of any other substances during the bar walk. (N.B. This is a hypothetical suggestion for legal purposes only, there is no inference to be made that Suki, or any other dancer, would ever commit a DUI -dancing under the influence.)

The attorney for Michael Ireland did want to emphasize to the press that his client's injuries were serious and should be taken seriously despite the climate in which they were sustained. "When this case was first filed, many people criticized it simply because it occurred at a strip club," Lake Lytal, Ireland's attorney, told NBC. "But we feel the $650,000 settlement goes to show that this was a serious case with serious injuries."

This is not the only case of strip club injury. The Post notes other cases, including one where a dancer kicked her shoe through a mirror during her pole dance, shattering a mirror and cutting a patron. He sued.

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