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Florida Diner's Drag Encounter Sparks Injury Claim, $1.5 M Lawsuit

by Kilian Melloy
Monday Mar 12, 2018

A woman who dined at a Tampa Bay Hamburger Mary's has filed a lawsuit, claiming that a drag performer injured her while doing a show at the eatery, the Miami Herald reported.

The plaintiff, identified as Neldin Molina, says that she went to Hamburger Mary's while on a trip to Tampa Bay from Denver, where she lives, in 2015. Molina says she went to the restaurant for a birthday celebration without knowing that drag shows are part of the establishment's offerings.

The Tampa Bay Times reported that Molina came away from her visit to the establishment with "irreversible spinal damage."

During Molina's dinner, the suit claims, a show began on the stage behind her. "At about 9:40pm, Plaintiff Neldin Molina turns around and sees Defendant Amanda D'Hod look and point her finger at her during her performance and starts to walk toward her table. Plaintiff Neldin Molina immediately turns around to ignore the Defendant Amanda D'Hod just to not draw attention towards her," the suit reads.

"A couple minutes later, Plaintiff then feels someone touch her shoulders from behind her and notices it's the Defendant," the suit continues, and goes on to say that D'Hod "walks in fron of the Plaintiff... and unexpectedly Defendant grabs her head and wiggles her breast against Plaintiff's face and head 8 times."

The suit goes on to allege that D'Hof went on to "grab... [Molina's] head and neck and violently pound... [Molina's] head against [D'Hod's] chest up to 9 times."

The suit says that Molina immediately told the restaurant's management that "her neck was in excruciating pain and she was beginning to experience headache." The suit says it took weeks for the restaurant to provide Molina the insurance information, only for the carrier to deny her coverage.

The suit claims that Molina suffered "permanent injuries and permanent pain and suffering" and seeks $1.5 million dollars.

Molina told the Tampa Bay Times that she prepared the suit on her own. "Because I live in Denver, it was too difficult to coordinate with a lawyer in Tampa," Molina said. "So, I went to a law library and wrote it myself."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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