Night at Hamburger Mary’s Leads to Unique Injury Lawsuit

At Hamburger Mary’s, a popular chain known for its drag queen entertainment, a night out is always a unique time. With events like drag queen bingo and  weekend shows, Hamburger Mary’s is for people who like their meals with a side of quirky entertainment.

Performance Gone Bad

But according to a lawsuit over a 2015 incident, the fun can get a bit out of hand. The lawsuit, filed against the Ybor City location, claims that a drag queen caused permanent injury to one of the restaurant’s patrons during a dance routine. The plaintiff, a 53-year-old woman from Denver, claims that she was at the restaurant for a friend’s birthday when the performer approached her from behind. She says that the performer grabbed her by the neck, and “violently pounded” the plaintiff’s head against their chest.

The woman immediately sought treatment for head and spinal pain. She now claims she suffers from irreversible spine damage as a result of the incident. After learning that her insurance company would not cover the injuries, the woman decided to sue Hamburger Mary’s.

Types of Restaurant Injuries

This situation is pretty unique. Other types of restaurant-related injuries, however, happen more frequently than you might think. Common causes of injury or damage at restaurant include:

  • Slip and falls on wet, uneven, or badly lit surfaces
  • Food poisoning
  • Burns from unreasonably hot dishes
  • Car accidents resulting from the overserving of alcohol
  • Negligent handling of allergens
  • Foreign materials in foods

Handling Liability Claims

Restaurant owners, like hotel or store owners, are inviting guests onto their premises. Therefore, they are liable for any foreseeable injuries or damages. This means that the injury or damage must have been predictable or preventable. If a restaurant knowingly serves a soup at a dangerous temperature, the injury to a patron might be foreseeable.  On the other hand, if a drink is spilled and a patron slips on the spill within minutes, the restaurant might not be liable. The event was unforeseeable, and the staff would not have had time to prevent the injury.

In a lawsuit like the one against the Ybor City Hamburger Mary’s, determining liability can be tricky. Since the restaurant is known for its shows, one argument is that the plaintiff should have known about the risk of being approached by a performer. On the other hand, if the force used by the performer was excessive, it might have been outside of reasonable expectations. Since “injured by drag queen” is not a common injury, this case is unique, and it will be interesting to see how it plays out. While the circumstances of this lawsuit might seem satirical, it’s an important reminder than injuries do happen in the most unlikely of place— even at vibrant, carefree places like Hamburger Mary’s.


The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.


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