Bucking Bull Target Of Yet Another Lawsuit
Jocelyn Burmeister, 33, was just looking for a good time when she attempted to mount a mechanical bar bull at the Midtown Manhattan, New York, restaurant Johnny Utah’s on March 18th. The intoxicated patron swung her leg around to secure her spot on the bull’s back, but instead of successfully taking a seated position, she fell and tore her ACL. Needless to say, she wasn’t very happy about the injury. This month, Burmeister made the bull the target of her lawsuit filed in the Manhattan Supreme Court against the bar for allowing her to ride. She is seeking damages for the injuries sustained and related medical bills. She underwent surgery this month for the torn ligament.
Burmeister alleges in the court filing that she was “visibly intoxicated” that night and “was violently thrown off the bull before having a chance to mount the device, causing life debilitating injuries and surgeries.” Burmeister’s attorney, Alexander Karasik, said, “She was permitted to mount this device. In fact, she didn’t even have a chance to get situated and the bull was thrust into action. She didn’t get a chance to get her other leg onto the bull.” Since the bull is operated by an employee, a person has control over when the ride begins and how fast the device goes.
Evidently, this isn’t the first time the bar bull has bucked a rider and been made the target of a suit. The ornery animal has been the target of at least two other lawsuits over the past six years. In 2011, Christopher Haynes suffered a fractured left tibial plateau after flying off the mechanical device before he had a chance to settle on its back. “The ride was about to commence,” said Neil Fuhrer, his attorney. “And as he was seating himself on the bull, they cranked it up and threw him off. He was in bad shape. He’s going to have a problem with that leg for the rest of his life.”
Haynes, who was in his late-thirties at the time of the injury stated he was “permanently disabled” and “confined to a bed” as a result. “Before he was actually seated or had obtained a grasp on the grip, the operator started up the mechanical bull and Haynes was immediately and violently thrown off,” the lawsuit reads. The bar patron sought damages, and claimed the Johnny Utah’s lacked the proper liability insurance and licensing to have the bar bull there to being with.
In 2014, Leonard Barstein, 28 at the time, rode the bar bull once without injury. But, when he attempted to board it again, it was a different story. “The first time I got up and I was fine but the second time I landed awkwardly,” he stated, after breaking his ankle and tearing a ligament. Barstein filed a lawsuit alleging he was “caused to be violently thrown off the mechanical bull” and he “didn’t have a chance to grab onto the straps.” He, too, underwent surgery, and had a metal plate inserted in his left ankle. “I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t work,” he added. “I couldn’t walk for two months. I had to use crutches.”
Johnny Utah’s makes anyone who decides they want to give the dangerous device a spin sign a waiver warning riders of the possibility for life-altering injuries, paralysis or even death. Those who dare ride the bar bull must be 18 or over.