AT THE ninth annual Delilah's Diamond G-String Competition, dancers used all kinds of props - swords, footballs, hula hoops, stripper's poles and, of course, G-strings - to prove their sex appeal in hopes of winning a $10,000 cash prize.
Sarah Berry used a "half-moon aerial apparatus" - but her thumb was amputated while she rehearsed before the July 20, 2011, contest, according to a lawsuit filed Friday in Common Pleas Court.
Berry, 35, of Roxborough, claims that Delilah's, the competition's host and creator, failed to ensure that the apparatus was properly designed, built, inspected and tested, and didn't warn users of its dangers, the lawsuit says. She's seeking more than $50,000 in damages for "pain and suffering, disfigurement, humiliation and embarrassment."
The digit disaster happened July 18, 2011, at the club on Spring Garden Street near Front, when a sharp edge on the apparatus - a crescent-shaped metal bar suspended from the ceiling - severed her thumb, and she fell to the ground, according to her attorney, James D. Golkow.
"The show must go on, so they had the show without her, because she had amputated her thumb by then," Golkow said.
Berry's injury required surgery, but Golkow didn't know details. Berry couldn't be reached.
Berry, who now works as a photographer, wasn't a professional exotic dancer, but entered the contest at a friend's invitation, Golkow said.
"My client actually studied in school to train on this sort of aerial apparatus, with hopes of performing in Broadway shows and circus acts," Golkow said.
Photos abound on Berry's Facebook page of her dangling, in acrobatic poses, from various ceiling-mounted devices - including a performance during Delilah's 2010 Diamond G-String Competition.
The lawsuit names Seth Donkochik, whose company SD Design advertises on Angie's List as a drywall contractor, as the designer and builder of the dismembering apparatus. He couldn't be reached.
Delilah's managers didn't respond to a request for comment.
Freak injuries at strip clubs are more common than one might think. In October, a Lansdale man sued the Penthouse Club, on Castor Avenue in Port Richmond, claiming that a dancer slid down a stripper pole and landed on him with such force that his bladder ruptured.
On Twitter: @DanaDiFilippo