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Posted on Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 7:26 p.m.

Injuries from mechanical bull at Ann Arbor bar prompt lawsuit

By Lee Higgins

A woman who was struck in the face by the head of a mechanical bull after being thrown from it at an Ann Arbor bar in 2008 is alleging that she was injured because the bar didn't do enough to ensure the safety of customers riding the bull.

Stephanie Fraser of Wixom is suing The Fifth Quarter, a bar that used to operate on South Fifth Avenue, but closed in the spring after a string of problems with police.


The suit, filed Nov. 23 in Washtenaw County Circuit Court, seeks an unspecified amount of money.

According to the suit, Fraser was ejected from a mechanical bull Dec. 5, 2008, after riding it for about 10 seconds at the bar, where she was attending a friend’s birthday party. As she attempted to stand, the suit says, the bull continued to move and buck, and its head struck her "forcefully in the face." It then moved "wildly" for another five to eight seconds, the suit claims.

Fraser suffered a closed head injury, fractured nasal bone and abrasion that resulted in permanent scarring, the suit says. She's alleging that the bar was negligent.

The suit claims the business had a duty to use “reasonable care and caution to prevent injuries to its patrons” while they were riding the bull. The suit says the bar breached that duty by failing to operate the bull in a careful manner, failing to stop the bull after Fraser fell or by not having employee-operated controls in place to stop the bull in an emergency.

According to the suit, Fraser has suffered physical and mental pain, lost wages, humiliation and embarrassment.

Attorney David Rosenberg, who has represented The Fifth Quarter in the past, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Lee Higgins covers crime and courts for He can be reached by phone at (734) 623-2527 and email at



Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 3:26 p.m.

I see that you happily forgot the food safety violations that that McD's was cited for numerous times because their coffee was too hot to make that fit your just world.


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 6:46 p.m.

Yes, Peter, I do think the McDonald's Hot Coffee suit was a cash grab. Yes, I saw the cable documentary about it and saw the horrendous 2nd and 3rd degree burns on the woman's thighs, but, like this bull (both of them), we as "victims" due bear a certain amount of risk in certain situations. Fact: the woman at McD's was operating a motor vehicle. Fact: she ordered hot coffee (too hot or not, we expect our coffee to be hot). Fact: she stuck it between her legs and drove off. Fact: I'm not a physicist but something about force tells me that as she accelerates and moves forward, said coffee will go the opposite direction. Fact: most car seats are at an angle thus said coffee is not level and is going to fall and will probably not feel good on one's skin. The point I'm making, and trust me, I'm no fan of McDonald's or big corporations and their deep pockets and powerful political lobbies, but this driver assumed a risk by putting hot coffee between her legs while operation a motor vehicle. As a general rule, I don't text and drive (I won't say I've never done it), but the one and only time I swerved and was a danger to myself and others on the highway was from eating and driving. It's a risk. My point here is this person got on a mechanical bull. Even thinking about that presumes a risk, however fun it might sound at the time. This isn't Meijer's mechanical pony; it's a ride fraught with risk and danger. Use at your own risk. Thus the waiver. I won't say I've never done stupid things before; but I think it takes a lot of gall and quite frankly, I'd be embarrassed to come back and sue for my own stupidity. So long story short, yes, I see this as a money grab, IMHO.


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 5:57 p.m.

You guys probably think that the McDonald's/Coffee lawsuit was a cash grab too, eh?


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 4:52 p.m.

should of stuck to the penny horse at the front of Meijer.


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 3:38 p.m.

If she was dumb enough to get on the bull in the first place this is her problem.

Ron Granger

Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 2:08 p.m.

Whew. For a moment I thought this was going to be another Jenny's Farm Market story.


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 1:38 p.m.

If I ever try riding one I hope they remove my straight jacket first.


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 1:38 p.m.

Get my drift?


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 1:24 p.m.

What's with all the bad math? 4 years? It hasn't even been 3.


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 1:20 p.m.

Assumption of the risk. Case closed.


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 1:16 p.m.

I love this statement: "The suit says the bar breached that duty by failing to operate the bull in a careful manner," The whole idea is to see if you can stay on the bull and you should have high expectations of being thrown off. If you are worried about "careful" don't get on the darn thing.


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 1:15 p.m.

Since my last comment got deleted in like thirty seconds let me rephrase it. What I meant to say in a lively, respectful and constructive manner was that those riding mechanical bulls after POSSIBLY having consumed alcohol POSSIBLY took unnecessary and imprudent risks and therefore (gasp) POSSIBLY bear some responsibility for what happened to them. In a totally hypothetical situation where I myself might have consumed alcohol and then attempted (for whatever reason) to ride a mechanical bull, and were then thrown off and slightly injured I would have said to myself "gee, I think I just thwarted natural selection - that was lucky".

Alison Abbott

Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 1:11 p.m.

Hind sight is 20/20 as they say, but she should have stayed down until the 'bull' stopped or rolled away before getting up. I'm sorry she was hurt but this is user error, she had to have seen that the machine was still in motion..unless she came off and landed on her feet which is highly unlikely.


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 8:53 a.m.

This is a lame attempt to swindle money. She took four years to file this action. This bull is on her, lol.


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 4:26 a.m.

It has been 3 years, not four, well almost three. The statute of limitations for this kind of claim is threee years. The attoreny filed the claim and is waiting to see if he can get to a policy. I'm wondering if sued the landlord to, only makes sense to bring them in.


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 4:03 a.m.

Bar, alcohol, bull. Trifecta.


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 3:58 a.m.

This bar is such a jinx. Never have heard anything good from this place. So many injuries. The operators obviously have no control over their business.


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 3:37 a.m.

I used to manage the Urban Cowboy Bar in Westland on Ford Rd. We always made patrons sign a waiver before attempting to ride our mechanical bull. There is a deadmans switch that as soon as the operators hand leaves the power button it shuts all power down to the bull. Sure there will be accidents and thats why we were required by law to carry a 2 million dollar liability insurance policy just on the bull. The 4 year part seems fishy to me.


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 3:22 a.m.

The Fifth Quarter is still there!?


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 2:44 a.m.

I am sure she signed a waiver, and why almost four years later. Seems like a cash grab to me, and the business is outnof business and she's gonna have to go through layers and layers to find any money. If there is any to be had.

Jake C

Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 2:10 p.m.

I've been to the Fifth Quarter and rode this bull on October 31, 2008,, and I can guarantee you there was no waiver in place at that time.


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 2:36 a.m.

Seems like the bar owners would have enough sense to have the patrons sign a wavier before getting on.

5c0++ H4d13y

Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 12:43 a.m.

You'd think these things would have a dead man switch on them that turned them off when someone was no longer on them?


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 2:13 a.m.

exactly... treadmills do. so should these "bulls"