Woman sues after punch bag falls on foot

A woman was floored by an “indestructible” boxing machine while socialising in a Co Limerick nightclub with her boyfriend, a court heard.

A reveller at Club Mission in Newcastle West was striking the punch bag machine with his fist to test his strength when the accident happened.

In a negligence claim at Limerick Circuit Court, Maureen McGrath, aged 29, from Courtbrown, Askeaton, sued Declan O’Grady, of 27 Kilcoleman Drive, Newcastle West; Michael Hayes, of Castlemahon (of O’Grady’s Bar and Club Mission Nightclub, Newcastle West); and Liam Lyons, of Farmers Bridge, Tralee, the supplier of a boxing punch bag machine.

Peter Clein, counsel for Ms McGrath, said she went to the nightclub on April 9, 2012, during the Easter Weekend holiday, to meet her then fiancé, now her husband.

She entered the nightclub at around 12.45am.

At about 2am, she and her fiancé were standing near a coin-operated boxing punch bag machine.

Mr Clein said these entertainment machines were usually seen in seaside amusement arcades.

When a coin was inserted, a punch bag could be lowered and punched.

The machine then measured the strength of the punch.

Mr Clein said a patron of the nightclub was using the machine when it tilted and rocked, and part of it fell on Ms McGrath’s right foot.

She was not expecting this and was in considerable pain. After being attended to by staff in the club, she was brought to University Hospital Limerick by ambulance where she was treated for a crush injury.

Ms McGrath was claiming damages for negligence, alleging the machine was on an inappropriate surface, and in a location at 2am where people would be under the influence of drink, creating an entirely foreseeable risk.

Mr Clien said the overall issue related to the common sense of locating such a machine where it was.

Judge Eugene O’Kelly, looking at photographs of the scene, said the punch machine carried an advertisement as being “indestructible”. It was located in an environment, he said where people with drink taken were effectively testing what they could do against the machine.

After an adjournment, the court was told the case had been settled.


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