Nurse who suffered burns in nightclub toilet after using aerosol dry shampoo settles court case

A nurse who sued after she claimed an aerosol dry shampoo turned into "a flame thrower" when she sprayed it in a nightclub toilet has settled her High Court action.

Nurse who suffered burns in nightclub toilet after using aerosol dry shampoo settles court case

A nurse who sued after she claimed an aerosol dry shampoo turned into "a flame thrower" when she sprayed it in a nightclub toilet has settled her High Court action.

The flames, Sam Clarke Kavanagh said, hit her hair and she had to throw the aerosol down the toilet where flames continued to emit from the can.

The nurse had sued the Bronze bar and night club, Lower Baggot Street, Dublin, after she suffered burns to her right hand, face and singed her hair, eyelashes and eyebrows.

The aerosol of dry shampoo, she said, was one of a number of toiletries in a box in the club bathroom and she claimed a naked flame candle was in the area and the aerosol spray ignited.

The owners at the time of the Bronze bar and nightclub claimed the aerosol dry shampoo was not supplied by them and could have been left there by another patron

The bar and nightclub has changed ownership since the 2015 incident, the High Court heard.

On the second day of the action today, Counsel for the nurse, Ivan Daly BL, told the court the case had been compromised for an agreed sum of damages and costs. He asked the court to note there was no claim for loss of earnings.

Mr Justice David Keane said he was glad the case was resolved and he wished both sides well for the future.

Opening the case, Ms Clarke Kavanagh’s counsel, Michael Byrne SC, said it was a very terrifying incident and there was a naked candle beside the sink.

Counsel said:

"The aerosol turned into a flame thrower and flame continued to shoot out two feet."

He said a selfie taken before the incident showed Ms Clarke Kavanagh had a small handbag with her which was not big enough to hold a lipstick never mind an aerosol spray.

He said the nurse was out of work for seven weeks after the accident.

In evidence, she said she had gone to the nightclub to attend her friend's birthday celebration. She said she went with another friend and when they got there at around 11pm, they ordered drinks and then went to the toilet.

Asked by her counsel if she had brought the aerosol of dry shampoo to the nightclub, the witness said she does not carry dry shampoo with her. She said she made a beeline for the products and sprayed the dry shampoo.

It very quickly became a flame thrower. I stupidly tried to blow it out and it hit my hair. The flame continued to come out. I threw it down the toilet and the flames were still going on.

She said the fire alarm went off.

Cross-examined by Colm Condon SC for the nightclub owners she said she did not believe it was a case where another patron left the dry shampoo behind.

He asked why she went into the toilets with her friend if she was not going to use the facilities herself.

Ms Clarke Kavanagh replied: "Girls go in packs of two."

Sam Clarke Kavanagh (aged 27), Sandymount Road, Sandymount, Dublin, had sued Hilda and Jon Conway, Claremont Road, Sandymount, Dublin, the owners at the time of the Bronze bar and nightclub, Lower Baggot Street, Dublin, over the incident on December 4, 2015.

She had claimed the bathroom facilities at the nightclub were allegedly rendered hazardous and unsafe because of the presence of naked flame candles and highly flammable aerosol cosmetic products in close proximity.

Injuries sustained to the right hand of Sam Clarke Kavanagh of Sandymount Road, Sandymount, Dublin. Pic: Collins Courts
Injuries sustained to the right hand of Sam Clarke Kavanagh of Sandymount Road, Sandymount, Dublin. Pic: Collins Courts

It was further claimed there was an alleged failure to supply non-flammable aerosol cosmetic products and use electronic candles rather than naked flame candles.

The claims were denied and it was contended by the nightclub side it did not supply the aerosol spray.

It was alleged there was contributory negligence on the part of the nurse because she used the aerosol spray near a candle and she was the author of her own misfortune.

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