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Wednesday 26 September 2018

Judge tells dancer her high kicks were too risky in €60k injury case

Jekaterina Bulgakova
Jekaterina Bulgakova

A "high-risk" high-kicks manoeuvre by a professional dancer in a Dublin nightclub caused her to fall off a chair and injure her back, a judge decided yesterday when he threw out her €60,000 damages claim.

Mother-of-three Jekaterina Bulgakova (33) claimed in the Circuit Civil Court that the uneven placing of mats under the chair on which she performed had made it unstable.

Ms Bulgakova, of Swords Road, Malahide, Co Dublin, told her counsel Noel Cosgrove that the mats had been placed on stage to mask an overspill of baby oil used by body builders the night before her accident in August 2014.

She sued nightclub owners Wrights Cafe Bar, Airside, Swords, for damages for personal injuries on the grounds staff had been negligent in placing the mats and causing an instability to her stage prop.

Barrister Shane English, counsel for the nightclub, told Judge James O'Donohoe that Ms Bulgakova had performed a manoeuvre that had put herself in danger and had been responsible for her own fall. Mr English, who appeared with Gore and Grimes, said the nightclub owners were unaware even today of whether or not a thin mat had been placed on stage under the chair and suggested it would have made practically no difference to its stability.

Unstable

Ms Bulgakova, who had worked weekends at the club for five years, earning €100 a night, said that with her bottom resting on the seat of the chair she had thrown her legs in the air and had finished up draping them over the back of the chair. She said the chair had become unstable and had wobbled. She had fallen backwards on to the floor, which she had hit feet first although in a backwards bending position.

She told Mr English she had not gone back to work at the club following the accident.

Judge O'Donohoe said he had viewed "unsatisfactory" video evidence of Ms Bulgakova's fall, but it had shown her coming in contact with the stage floor.

"She is clear and I think she has established that there was a matted area underneath her chair following a baby oil spillage on the night before the accident and claims her fall had been caused by the destabilisation of the chair," Judge O'Donohoe said.

Dismissing her claim with an order for costs in favour of the nightclub, Judge O'Donohoe said he was satisfied, despite accepting there was an area of matting under the chair, that no negligence could be attached to the club.

"I accept she has had an injury to her back and that there was no element of fraud," he told Mr English. "However, her manoeuvres were so high risk the defendant cannot be reasonably expected to have been in a position to prevent such an accident."

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