A former patron at the Coyote Ugly Saloon in Nashville has sued the entity, claiming she was injured when she fell off a slippery bar. She claims that the bar surface should have been kept dry (and therefore safe) because she was invited to dance on it by employees. She suffered a head injury and lost her sense of smell.
Here is a big surprise for you: the plaintiff "had had a few drinks." Her lawyer claims she was not intoxicated, a fact that, if true, may actually hurt her case if in fact she was invited to dance of the bar by Coyote Ugly employees as she claims. Why would that hurt her case? If she was obviously intoxicated one could argue that the employees should not have invited her to dance on the bar because they should have known that she could not do so carefully. If she was sober and appeared that way, they will argue that (a) she had the ability to make a judgment about whether she wanted to do so and assumed the risk of falling; and (b) she had the ability and opportunity to see what hazards, if any, existed on the bar and either avoid the hazards or stop dancing.
I have never been to the Coyote Ugly Saloon, in Nashville or any of its other locations. I have never seen the Coyote Ugly movie. But I have been in lots of bars in lots of places, and a fair number of bars where, from time to time, patrons jumped up and danced on the bar. I have tended bar in four different places, and indeed I was known in my youth to occasionally grab a bottle of booze and walk up and down the length of the bar, pouring booze down the throats of blurry-eyed but eager college students, their necks protruding and mouths wide open, like baby birds in the nest waiting for mama bird to bring a juicy grub home for breakfast. My point: there is little I haven’t seen in some bar somewhere at sometime.
But if this case can be won in Nashville, Tennessee I will be shocked. Oh, I am sure it can be settled for medical bills plus several thousand dollars. But a jury in Nashville – a federal court jury, at that – giving a verdict in this case for the plaintiff? Nope, it ain’t going to happen. Ain’t no way. Ain’t no how.
This is a case I would not take if I was the sole beneficiary of an eight-figure trust fund. Other than the injury, it has no jury appeal. I can foresee a scenario where the entity could be apportioned some fault for inviting patrons who had been consuming alcohol to dance on the bar. But my judgment is that the patron will be assigned fifty percent or more fault for doing so.