NEW YORK, Oct 13 (Reuters) - A woman who suffered burns when a bartender poured Bacardi 151 rum onto the bar and lit it on fire can proceed with claims against the alcohol company, a panel of judges ruled Thursday.
Lauren Sclafani said she sustained severe burns at Brother Jimmy's BBQ, in Manhattan, when the bottle itself caught fire and shot flaming liquid onto her. She sued both Bacardi and the bar in 2008.
On Thursday, the Appellate Division, First Department, upheld a 2010 ruling by Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Emily Jane Goodman declining to dismiss the claims against the rum maker.
The court noted that although Bacardi included warning labels on its bottles of Bacardi 151 and installed a removable flame arrester, "it did so while actively promoting the very pyrotechnic uses that caused plaintiff's injuries."
Sclafani's lawsuit contends that Bacardi either knew or should have known that its rum was frequently used for fiery displays and that the arrester was poorly designed.
A call to Bacardi's lawyer was not immediately returned on Thursday afternoon.
The 151 in the rum's name refers to its level of alcohol, which at 75.5 percent is higher than most conventional rums.
The case is Sclafani v. Brother Jimmy's BBQ, Inc, et al, Appellate Division, First Department, New York State Supreme Court, No. 2011-01784.
For Bacardi: Jeffrey Gutchess of Hunton & Williams.
For Brother Jimmy's: Daniel Mevorach of Gallo Vitucci & Klar.
For Sclafani: Matthew Gaier of Kramer, Dillof, Livingston & Moore.
(Reporting by Joseph Ax)
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