Siobhán Hoskins of Bluebell, Bartlemy, Co Cork, brought a case to Cork Circuit Court yesterday suing the Vineyard Café Bar on Market Lane off Patrick Street, Cork, where the dance class was held.
Judge James O’Donoghue said the plaintiff was injured, she was not someone who exaggerated her evidence and while he sympathised with her, he had to dismiss the case as he ruled that Ms Hoskins had not proved any case for negligence against the owner of the premises.
The judge did not require to hear any defence evidence.
Asked what the owner of the premises should have done, she said: “They should have put up signs or posters saying what you should do and not do.”
Ms Hoskins described what happened during the class given by instructor, Conor O’Donovan, on the night of August 22, 2002.
“He threw me back. I was not expecting it at all. It was a sudden jerk, the music was fast. When that happened I went into a daze. I knew something was not right… Afterwards he said to the class: ‘By the way girls, you could do yourself an injury if you don’t go back the right way,’” Ms Hoskins testified.
Defence barrister James Duggan sought to define the activity: “The nearest thing in Irish dancing would be the jive. You have hands on hands or hands around the waist or hands to shoulder and you are moving energetically. Your case is that he did something you did not expect?”
Ms Hoskins replied: “Yes, yes.”
“But that is something you had to expect because it is energetic, you should anticipate he would twirl you right or left, backwards or forwards?” the barrister suggested.
The plaintiff replied: “You are not supposed to predict a guy’s moves anyway. The problem is I hurt my neck and suffered a lot. I didn’t realise he was going to do that move.”
The judge said he was surprised that the soft tissue injuries to her neck had not resolved and that she was still suffering five years later.
Ms Hoskins was asked why it took her two years to bring proceedings and she explained that she was fed up being out of pocket for all her medical expenses as a result of the injury. She also said she gave up her job as a chef two years ago because it was too painful to work with the neck injury.
She travelled to Medjugorje and spent a few months there but that did not cure her pain. “That is God’s reason, if he wants to heal me he will heal me, it is my cross,” she said.
Mr Duggan BL said there was no case against the Vineyard. The judge agreed.