New York’s oldest bar faces public liability issue over cat injury

One of the oldest and most famous bars in New York, McSorley’s Old Ale House, has reportedly been sued by a customer who was ‘attacked’ by the establishment’s resident cat.

The lawsuit has been brought by Cheryl Sibley, 53, who claims that the bar’s resident tabby cat – called Minnie the Second – inflicted “serious injuries” on her, to the extent that she had to go to hospital for treatment.

Named as defendant in the lawsuit is Matthew Maher, the owner of the 156-year-old McSorley’s Old Ale House (believed to be the oldest in New York). Maher, who has previously received a $1,000 (£640) fine for allowing the cat to walk on the bar, denies all recollection of the animal attacking a customer.

Nonetheless, Ms Sibley is demanding compensation from Mr Maher for her injuries and any distress caused.

Most businesses which deal with members of the public have some level of professional insurance for injuries and accidents which occur on the premises (public liability insurance). It is likely that an injury caused by a cat would be seen in the same way as a trip or a fall due to something like a loose floorboard – in which the owner can be held liable – but the business owner would have to check with his/her insurers.

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