Ouch: Lawsuit Claims Stripper Apparatus Amputated Thumb

Ouch: Lawsuit Claims Stripper Apparatus Amputated Thumb

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 Ouch: Lawsuit Claims Stripper Apparatus Amputated Thumb


A woman who had trained to perform in aerial acts including circus trapeze acts is suing a Philadelphia strip club after her thumb was severed by an apparatus during a stripping competition.  According to Sarah Berry, 35, the club had not adequately inspected, designed, built, or tested the metal prop she used to perform a routine in July 2011.

The strip club, Delilah's, holds an annual “Delilah's Diamond G-String” competition, and offers a cash prize of $10,000 for the woman who wins the contest.  Women participating in the competition were allowed to use a wide variety of props in order to help them out-dance other competitors.  In addition to traditional stripper apparatus like the stripper pole and a wide variety of hand-held props to facilitate dances, the club offered what is known as a “half moon apparatus.”

The half moon apparatus, a crescent shaped bar hanging from the ceiling above the dance floor at Delilah's, had not been tested with sufficient dancers, according to the lawsuit, and had a sharp edge.  While Berry practiced her performance in advance of the G-string competition, the sharp edge caught her thumb and she fell to the floor.

When she fell, she discovered that her thumb had been nearly completely severed by the edge of the bar, and she required surgery on her thumb.  The half moon apparatus, according to the lawsuit, had been installed by a drywall contractor who had also designed and built the apparatus himself.

Berry is suing Delilah's for damages totaling $50,000, alleging that her disfigurement and humiliation was the result of negligence on the part of the dance club.

The amount is higher than it might otherwise have been, Berry says, because she is no longer able to work in her chosen profession because of the injury she incurred.  Berry is not a stripper by profession, but instead had entered the open contest because she was an aerialist hoping to use the prize money to fund additional training and performance opportunities.  

Berry's attorney says that Berry, who now works as a photographer, had actually attended classes to help her perform on aerial apparatuses including both in circus acts and stage shows.  Because of the improperly built and installed bar, it is unlikely that Berry will be able to continue as an aerialist without risking significant additional injury to her hand or thumb.


Sources: uscourts.gov, philly.com

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