Saturday, December 31, 2016

Victim shot, stabbed in Sports On Tap attack filing civil lawsuit (Rochester, NY)

Rochester, N.Y. (WHAM) - One of the men who was shot and stabbed outside of a bar in Charlotte said Friday he is filing a lawsuit against the business.

Police arrested Flor Rivera and Heriberto Rivera-Mateo for a violent fight outside Sports On Tap bar earlier this month.

Three people were stabbed in the fight; one of those three, 31-year-old Keith Larkin, was also shot.

Police said Scott Richardson, 27, Melanie Christmas, 40, were treated and released from the hospital.

Larkin is filing a civil lawsuit against Sports On Tap.

"I believe that, based on my investigation, they are liable for having an unruly premises allowing individual in the premises with weapons knives and guns, inadequate security and so forth," said Vincent Merante, Larkin's attorney.

Merante said Larkin was released for the hospital, but had to be readmitted due to an infection.

The New York State Liquor Authority is in the process of filing violations against Sports On Tap.

Last week, Rivera and Rivera-Mateo were indicted by a Monroe County grand jury on attempted murder and assault charges.


Quick thoughts from Steve:  Fights can happen everywhere, the three questions I always ask myself:   Was their a history of altercations and or bad business practices that the city was aware of?  Did they do anything to prevent this incident from brewing or occurring or was it quick to develop?  And the million dollar question, what was your plan?  

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Family of man killed in crash sues bar that served drunk driver, DOT (Santa Fe, NM)

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The family of a young man killed in September in Santa Fe by a woman drunkenly driving the wrong way on I-25 is suing the bar that served her, along with the state’s Department of Transportation.
Read the full lawsuit here »

It was a horrific crash. Anton Gress, 23, became trapped in his burning vehicle. Deputies say he had been hit by 44-year-old Clara Avina, who had been drinking and driving. Avina reportedly merged onto the interstate going the wrong way and collided with Gress’ vehicle. Both were killed.

KRQE News 13 has learned Gress’ family is now suing multiple people for their alleged responsibility in the crash that late September night.

The suit targets PC’s Restaurant and Lounge, where Avina consumed alcohol before the crash. It says the employees at PC’s should have never served Avina because she was obviously intoxicated when she entered the lounge.

It also says the PC’s staff shouldn’t have allowed another customer, who did not know Avina personally and had also been drinking, to take her car keys.

The lawsuit goes on to name the Department of Transportation, citing a lack of safety precautions to keep drivers from going the wrong way on the interstate in the area where the crash happened.

It says numerous similar crashes on that stretch of the freeway over the last 10 years should have prompted the DOT to make changes.

Even Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales recently pointed out the recurring problem and asked the DOT to do something to try and fix it.

The DOT sent the statement in response to the lawsuit:

Our number one priority is keeping our families safe on our roads, and that is a duty we take seriously. After this tragic crash, we deployed a team to several ramps in the Santa Fe area to make sure the interchanges were designed, signed, and striped properly. In addition, we also found ways to make them safer. Already, we’ve placed more “Do Not Enter” and “Wrong Way” signs, as well as reapplied the paint striping and pavement reflectors at the U.S. 285 interchange. And we plan to do the same at other ramps in the area. In addition, we will also continue our efforts to educate New Mexicans on the dangers of drunk driving.”

All signs indicated PC’s was supposed to be open Tuesday, but no one was there. A call to PC’s went unanswered as the phone only rang and never went to voicemail.

The Gress family lawsuit also largely focuses on insurance claim issues, naming Liberty Mutual and Progressive Direct.

Gress’ family and attorneys were unavailable for comment.


Quick thoughts from Steve:  How can you hold a venue accountable for actions that happened after they left, when they weren't driving?  Was she over served?  It sounds like it. But how can you hold the bar accountable for actions after she left, when she wasn't driving when she left? 

I've been down this path before with one of my first companies...I was told in 2002 that we had never lost one of these types of lawsuits (because they don't correlate, they don't match up) according to our head of legal.  Keep in mind, we had over 50+ different bars and nightclubs at one imagine the lawsuits that floated around that legal office. 

Obviously we need to hear more, but it's not like she was driving when she left, so I would blame the man.  Attorneys always look for any insurance policies available when trying to collect money for's their job. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Eva Longoria's Hollywood restaurant sued by patron 'beaten up by security at movie after-party' (Los Angeles, CA)

Eva Longoria's Hollywood restaurant Beso has been hit with a lawsuit over an alleged assault that took place there earlier this year.

Michael Paul Flores filed legal documents in Los Angeles claiming he'd been beaten up by a member of the eatery's security staff while attending a movie after-party in June.

The actress has not been named in the lawsuit, TMZ said.

Eva Longoria's restaurant Beso is being sued by Michael Paul Flores after he claims he was assaulted by a security staffer during a post-premiere party in June. Longoria is pictured arriving at the event for her movie Lowriders. She is not named in the suit, TMZ reported.

The actress, 41, opened the Latin eatery on Hollywood Boulevard in 2008

According to TMZ Wednesday, Flores alleged he was struck him in the mouth, face and head multiple times before the assailant fled the joint, and that staff admitted his attacker worked there and was prone to violence.

Flores was at Beso to party following the screening of the movie Lowriders that starred Longoria.

According to the filing, Flores asserts that the restaurant should have been prepared for violence since the film 'dealt with the lowrider subculture of East Los Angeles.'

He also claims producers hired actors for the movie from car clubs that had rival gang ties.

Not a care in the world: Eva Longoria is currently enjoying a beach vacation in Mexico and shared this bikini snap on social media Tuesday

Read more:

Friday, December 16, 2016

Family files suit against suspect, bar (Morgantown, WV)

MORGANTOWN — The family of a girl killed in a hit-and-run filed suit against her accused killer and the establishment where he drank before driving.

This week, Brent Sears filed a lawsuit against Alexander Salvatore Hambrick. The suit also names, DC LLC, which does business as Jameson’s Annex, the business owner Michael S. Shuman and property owner Thomas H. VanLandingham as defendants.

A grand jury previously indicted Hambrick, 20, with leaving the scene of an accident with death and DUI with death. Police say in January 2016, Hambrick was driving his vehicle when he went onto the Stewart Street sidewalk.

There, he struck Carli Sears, 20, who was in Morgantown visiting friends. Sears died as a result of her injuries. Brent Sears is Carli’s father.

The suit alleges negligence by Hambrick who had a responsibility to not drive while intoxicated. He was reckless and caused his truck to violently collide with Sears.

The other defendants had a duty to provide care in running their establishment, according to the filing. They also failed to exercise care when they served to someone under 21 years old and at the point of intoxication.

Hambrick’s and the bar’s actions directly led to the death of Sears, the suit states.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

'Big Ang's' estate sued for $1 million over punching death outside bar (Staten Island, NY)

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- The death of a 46-year-old Elm Park man fatally punched outside the West Brighton bar then affiliated with the late reality-TV star Angela "Big Ang" Raiola of Mob Wives fame, has spawned a $1 million wrongful-death lawsuit.

Thierno Cisse, as temporary administrator of the estate of Abdou Salam Cisse, has sued Raiola's estate; Stephen Fasano, the Midland Beach man convicted of throwing the deadly punch; and SallyAnn Lombardi, Raiola's cousin who held the tavern's liquor license, stemming from June 8, 2014 incident outside the former Drunken Monkey bar on Forest Avenue.

Besides wrongful death, the three-page legal filing alleges liability under the Dram Shop Act.

The Dram Shop law holds establishments that sell alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person responsible for damages or injuries that person subsequently causes.

The suit was filed in state Supreme Court, St. George.

"The family is devastated," said Obayomi Awoyinfa, the Queens-based lawyer for Cisse's estate. "They believe they should be compensated for the defendants' negligence."

Lombardi and Raquel Scotto, listed in the lawsuit as the executor of Raiola's estate, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Authorities said Abdou Salam Cisse lost his life while trying to act as a peacemaker.

Cisse was trying to calm down Fasano outside the bar, around 3:30 a.m., after a dispute inside that Fasano and a friend had with another man. Fasano, who stood 6-feet, 1-inch tall and weighed 175 pounds, responded by punching Cisse in the face, said officials.

Cisse was knocked to the ground, fracturing his skull in the fall, and causing bleeding in his brain, said prosecutors.

In November 2014, Fasano, now 25, pleaded guilty in state Supreme Court, St. George, to second-degree manslaughter, the top count against him. In doing so, he admitted to recklessly causing Cisse's death.

Fasano, who is currently serving a prison sentence of three to nine years in Five Points Correctional Facility in Romulus, N.Y., expressed remorse at his sentencing.

"I'm very sorry to the family," Advance reports quoted him as saying. "It was not intentional at all ... To everyone, I'm sorry."

Awoyinfa, the lawyer, contended the bar "should not have been operating" when Cisse was killed.

"It was an illegal sale," he said. "The bar was owned by someone convicted of a crime and should not have served alcohol. That's why we believe they should be held responsible."

According to Advance reports, the State Liquor Authority ordered the Drunken Monkey's liquor license cancelled as of March 6, 2015.

A probe determined Raiola, a convicted felon, was the bar's silent owner, the Advance learned.

Raiola had pleaded guilty in 2003 to a felony in a federal drug-distribution case and could not own a bar without special permission from the state, an SLA official said. She never applied to be on the license, the official said.

Lombardi, her cousin, was listed in public records as the liquor license holder.

Nevertheless, Raiola was listed as a signatory in a bank account affiliated with the bar, and she was given power of attorney over the place, according to information obtained by the Advance about the SLA's investigation.

Lombardi told the SLA she was the bar's sole owner, but got into a car crash in 2009 and allowed Raiola to operate the bar thereafter, giving her signatory authority and power of attorney, according to the findings of the investigation.

The SLA charged the bar with "availing," which means a liquor license holder has allowed a third party to use or profit from the license. It was also charged with "improper conduct" for Raiola's business interest in the tavern.

Lombardi asked the SLA to reconsider the cancellation, but the agency denied the request.

Later, in January of this year, the watering hole reopened as the Funkey Monkey under new ownership and liquor license holder.

Raiola attended the grand opening about a month before succumbing to lung cancer at age 55.

For more videos related to Big Ang, see our YouTube playlist below.


Brother of man killed outside Halifax bar added to lawsuit launched by parents (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

The brother of a man killed outside a downtown Halifax bar in 2011 has been added to a lawsuit launched by his parents at the request of the Toothy Moose cabaret and the man who admitted to delivering the fatal blow.

The Argyle Street bar and Jason Whitehead petitioned the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia to add Daniel Mattatall to the lawsuit last year. The court approved the addition Dec. 7.

Originally, the suit named only the bar and Whitehead, who pleaded guilty in October 2014 to manslaughter in the death of James Mattatall and was sentenced to three years in prison.

During Whitehead's sentencing, the court heard James Mattatall, 23, was punched in the jaw after trying to prevent a fight between his brother Daniel Mattatall and Whitehead outside the bar on Dec. 17, 2011. James Mattatall of Dartmouth was knocked to the ground where he hit the back of his head and died of blunt force trauma.
Parents say bar failed their son before his death

Legal action against the Toothy Moose and Whitehead was filed by the victim's parents on Dec. 24, 2014.

James Mattatall was killed on Argyle Street after an early morning fight outside the Toothy Moose bar. (CBC)

Lawyers for the parents and Daniel Mattatall could not be reached for comment. But in a letter to the Supreme Court dated Sept. 28, the parents' lawyer, Trevor Wadden, said his "clients take no position on this motion."

In their notice of action, the parents said the Toothy Moose breached its duty of care to their son James "in that it failed to take appropriate steps to ensure he was not assaulted or placed in a situation of foreseeable harm, while on or leaving the defendant's property."

Specifically, Mattatall's parents said the Toothy Moose failed to "recognize foreseeable harm in that Daniel and Jason were clearly intoxicated, as observed by video surveillance."
Funeral and legal costs sought

The notice of action said the two men should have been escorted to separate areas outside of the bar's property and given "sufficient time of separation" to ensure they "would not continue their altercation in front of the property." It also said negligence on the bar's part ultimately caused or "materially contributed" to James Mattatall's death.

The parents, who want funeral and legal costs covered, are also suing for general aggravated damages.
Case to add Daniel Mattatall to lawsuit

Both the Toothy Moose and Whitehead petitioned to add Daniel Mattatall to the lawsuit.

Whitehead, in a statement of defence dated Oct. 23, 2015, said Daniel Mattatall started the altercation that led to James Mattatall's death. He said Daniel Mattatall assaulted him by throwing a beer mug, "striking him without rational reason, legal excuse or justification."

The statement said Whitehead didn't know the brothers before the incident.

It said when Whitehead asked Daniel Mattatall why he threw the mug, he responded with words "to the effect of 'because I f---ing wanted to.'" It was then Whitehead said the two were asked to leave the bar.
Whitehead's defence

According to the statement of defence, Whitehead said Daniel Mattatall taunted him and made gestures outside the bar, causing him to believe the Mattatall brothers were threatening to attack him or challenging him to a fight.

The document said that when Whitehead approached the brothers, they each raised their fists as if to fight. It said that's when Whitehead struck James Mattatall.

Whitehead said if the parents "suffered any injury, loss or damage ... then such was caused or contributed to by the actions and/or negligence and/or contributory negligence" of the brothers.

Jason William Whitehead pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the December 2011 death of James Philip Mattatall.

Whitehead wants the parents to drop their suit against him, with costs.

Furthermore, Whitehead said in a statement of cross-claim dated Oct. 23, 2015 that the Toothy Moose not only let himself and the brothers into the bar knowing they were all intoxicated, but continued to serve them drinks once inside. He said continuing to serve liquor was in violation of the Liquor Control Act.
Toothy Moose's defence

In its statement of defence filed Nov. 12, 2015, the Toothy Moose denied it was responsible for any part of James Mattatall's death, saying the acts happened outside its premises.

The statement said James Mattatall placed himself in a dangerous or careless situation and failed to take reasonable care for his own safety. The bar also said James Mattatall consented to his interaction with Whitehead.

The bar has also denied allegations that it over-served the brothers and Whitehead.
Daniel Mattatall's defence

In his statement of defence dated Nov. 18, 2015, Daniel Mattatall denied engaging aggressively with Whitehead.

The document goes on to say that had Daniel Mattatall "assaulted, acted aggressively towards, taunted, provoked or physically challenged the defendant ... such actions did not justify the defendant, Jason William Whitehead, from committing a sudden assault and battery upon James Mattatall."

It also said Daniel Mattatall denies owing any duty of care to his brother and that if he did, he denies breaching that duty.

Daniel Mattatall is seeking to have the action against him dropped.


Drunken driver, Junction City bar sued by crash victim’s father (Junction City, OR)

The father of a Junction City man killed last year in a high-speed, drunken-­driving wreck has filed a $4.6 million lawsuit against the driver who caused the crash, the driver’s employer and the tavern where the victim and driver had met on the night of the collision.

Gary Barnett’s suit against Lee Volgardsen, Telgian Corp. and Bugsy’s Inc. was filed Tuesday afternoon in Lane County Circuit Court.

Barnett’s 29-year-old son, William Thomas Barnett, died Nov. 25, 2015, when a car driven by Volgardsen crashed into a utility pole off Washburn Lane, west of Junction City. Authorities said the car was traveling much faster than 100 mph just before the collision.

Volgardsen, 41, of Eugene was sentenced to more than seven years in prison after pleading guilty in January to charges of second-degree manslaughter, failure to perform the duties of a driver to an injured person and driving under the influence of intoxicants.

William Barnett and Volgardsen were strangers before the night of the wreck, when they crossed paths at Bugsy’s, a tavern in Junction City. Authorities said surveillance video shows the men leaving the bar together shortly before the crash.

Gary Barnett’s lawsuit alleges that Bugsy’s employees served alcohol to Volgardsen when he was visibly intoxicated, and that they knew or should have known that Volgardsen planned to drive away from the bar. The tavern’s alleged negligence put William Barnett in harm’s way and “was a substantial factor in causing his injury and death,” the suit alleges.

Gary Barnett also is asserting negligence and wrongful death claims against Volgardsen and his then-employer, Telgian Corp., a fire protection consulting firm based in Arizona.

The lawsuit alleges that Telgian “provided” Volgardsen with the 2016 Dodge Charger involved in the crash. Authorities previously said the car had been rented for use by Volgardsen.

Officials with Bugsy’s and Telgian could not be reached Wednesday morning for comment on the lawsuit.

After the crash, Volgardsen fled the scene and ran three miles to his girlfriend’s residence.

Authorities tracked down Volgardsen there hours later, and he admitted to them that he had crashed the car after drinking a fifth of rum and multiple beers, a prosecutor said at the Eugene man’s sentencing hearing.

Volgardsen’s blood-alcohol content was measured at 0.04 percent nine hours after the crash, the prosecutor said. Oregon law presumes a driver is under the influence if his BAC is 0.08 percent.

State police recovered a data recorder from the vehicle that showed its speed was 117 miles an hour seconds before the crash.

Gary Barnett said at Volgardsen’s sentencing hearing that he doesn’t know why his son got into the car with Volgardsen.

He said William Barnett had in the past walked home from the bar, and that his son “hated hot rodding.”

William Barnett was a 2004 graduate of Junction City High School who later worked for the University of Oregon’s athletic department and as an independent landscaper, according to his obituary.

The lawsuit filed by his father is the second this month in Lane County in which a member of a traffic crash victim’s family has sued not only the driver responsible for a wreck but also a tavern at which a driver allegedly had been drinking before a collision.

Last Wednesday, Springfield resident Julio Ortiz Ahumada filed a $3.9 million lawsuit against Isabel McDaniel of Veneta and the Keg Tavern in Eugene.

The suit alleges that the tavern served alcohol to a visibly intoxicated McDaniel before her vehicle struck him and his father as they crossed Main Street in Springfield on Dec. 11, 2014.

McDaniel, 32, was sentenced to nearly eight years in prison after pleading guilty in January to eight charges, including intoxicated driving and criminally negligent homicide, in the death of 67-year-old Daniel Ortiz-Reynaga.

Prosecutors said evidence in the case showed Ortiz-Reynaga and his son were crossing the street against a red light when they were struck by McDaniel’s station wagon.

The impact of the crash flipped Ortiz-Reynaga onto the top of McDaniel’s vehicle. She drove 11 blocks before dumping Ortiz-Reynaga — who died of his injuries — along a side road.


Monday, December 12, 2016

Columbia bar files lawsuit over shared door access (Columbia, MO)

COLUMBIA, Mo. - A bar in downtown Columbia is suing its neighbor over access to a shared door the bar uses as an emergency exit.
The lawsuit, filed by Harpo's on South Tenth Street, claims the owner of the property near it, Varose, LLC, blocked access to two doors, by building a concrete wall and the main stairwell on or around November 17, creating a breach of contract to the agreed upon easement from 2010.

This act also keeps Harpo's from meeting city safety codes. According to court documents, the city required the owner to stop using a "substantial portion" of their property until access is restored.

The Columbia Fire Department was aware that the property had some violations prior, which prompted them to inspect the property.

ABC 17 News got a hold of the Columbia Fire Department's inspection report. It said the emergency exit door was locked, there was no mention of a concrete wall being built.

The city told ABC 17 News the owners of Harpo's had to close Ten Below, a business they also own and operate in the same building. ABC 17 News called Harpo's and confirmed that Ten Below will remain closed.

According to the fire department Harpo's is working on building a new emergency exit to be in compliance with the safety codes.The city also said the property owner next to Harpo's apparently received complaints from its tenant about the door being used for more than just emergencies.

The lawsuit claims Harpo's has suffered a loss of revenue by not being allowed to use a significant portion of its property.

ABC 17 News called Harpo's for a comment on the lawsuit Tuesday, they had no comment. ABC 17 News also reached out to the attorney for Varose, who also said the company had no comment.


Friday, December 9, 2016

$3.9 million wrongful death lawsuit filed against Eugene tavern in 2014 hit-and-run (Eugene, OR)

A Springfield man has filed a $3.9 million, wrongful death lawsuit against a local tavern and a woman who struck and killed his father two years ago in a bizarre hit-and-run case.

Julio C. Ortiz Ahumada alleges in the lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Lane County Circuit Court, that the Keg Tavern in Eugene served alcohol to a “visibly intoxicated” Isabel McDaniel before her vehicle struck him and his father as they crossed Main Street in Springfield on Dec. 11, 2014.

McDaniel, 32, of Veneta was sentenced to nearly eight years in prison after pleading guilty in January to eight charges, including intoxicated driving and criminally negligent homicide, in the death of Daniel Ortiz-Reynaga, 67.

Prosecutors said evidence in the case showed Ortiz-Reynaga and his son were crossing the street against a red light when they were struck by McDaniel’s station wagon.

The impact of the crash flipped Ortiz-Reynaga onto the top of McDaniel’s vehicle. She drove 11 blocks before dumping Ortiz-Reynaga — who died of his injuries — along a side road.

Ortiz-Reynaga’s son required surgery for the injuries he suffered in the incident, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit accuses McDaniel of negligence, for driving while intoxicated and failing to control her vehicle, and says The Keg’s employees were negligent in serving alcohol to McDaniel “when she was visibly intoxicated, under circumstances when they knew or had reason to know that defendant McDaniel was likely to operate a motor vehicle.”

The Keg’s owner, Chris Coleman, declined to comment when reached Thursday by telephone.

Mark McDougal, of the Portland law firm Kafoury & McDougal that represents Ortiz Ahumada in the lawsuit, said Thursday that criminal charges “are never brought against the bars in these situations” but that “one might conclude (McDaniel) was overserved” based on her actions.

Prosecutors said that evidence in the case showed McDaniel had been drinking at the west Eugene bar before she returned to her Veneta home, picked up her 17-year-old niece, and drove back toward Eugene.

A short time later, McDaniel’s Honda Civic station wagon collided with another vehicle near the intersection of West 11th Avenue and Willow Creek Road. McDaniel drove away from the fender-bender, then 25 minutes later struck Ortiz-Reynaga and his adult son as they walked across the intersection of Main and 54th streets in Springfield.

Ortiz-Reynaga lived in Mexico and was in Springfield to visit his son when the crash occurred.

The collision knocked Ortiz-Reynaga into the Civic’s windshield and then onto a luggage rack on the car’s roof. McDaniel then drove more than a mile with the victim atop her vehicle before turning onto Smith Way, off 42nd Street, and removing Ortiz-Reynaga from the car.

She then drove to her husband’s nearby workplace. He hid the Civic, drove his wife home in another vehicle and later used a trailer to take McDaniel’s car back to the family’s Veneta home, authorities said.

Police found Ortiz-Reynaga lying in the road on Smith Way after someone called 911 to report seeing a body there. Medics took Ortiz-Reynaga to PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend in Springfield, where he was pronounced dead.

Acting on multiple tips after requesting the public’s help to identify the hit-and-run driver, police went to the McDaniels’ home two days after the collision. Isabel McDaniel was arrested and her husband, Gary McDaniel, was issued a citation for tampering with evidence, a misdemeanor.

Gary McDaniel was sentenced to four months in prison after pleading guilty in February to an evidence tampering charge. He told police that he tried to rinse blood from the station wagon before he parked it in his garage, according to an investigator’s affidavit filed in court.


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Man punched by off-duty officer at Portillo's files suit alleging cover-up (Chicago, IL)

Terrence Clarke and his family were celebrating the Blackhawks' 2015 Stanley Cup win with burgers at Portillo's when a burly security guard approached their table and told them to leave.

It was nearly midnight, and Clarke said he told the man, an off-duty Chicago police officer, that he would go once his wife and son finished their food. What started as a verbal encounter, however, quickly turned violent when the officer removed their food and repeatedly punched the Canadian patron, according to video taken of the incident.

A year and half after the altercation at the River North restaurant, Clarke on Wednesday filed a lawsuit accusing Officer Khaled Shaar of instigating the fight, making false statements to get him arrested and covering up his excessive use of force with the help of other officers.

The lawsuit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court, alleges that the Portillo's manager made false statements and that four responding officers conspired to stop further investigation and protect Shaar.

Speaking at his attorney's office with his wife, Gail, by his side, Clarke, now 61, said the incident eroded his trust in authority. Pointing to a scar over his right eyebrow left by the blows, the businessman and former Chicago resident said it was his first hostile encounter with a cop.

"(Shaar) needs to be prosecuted; he's unfit to be a police officer and he's a menace to other police officers who have to cover up for him," Clarke said. "The city of Chicago needs to stop its policy of overcharging the victims of police brutality with felonies to cover up the criminal acts of the officers."

Terrence Clarke was beaten by off duty Chicago Police Officer Khaled Shaar at a Portillo’s Hot Dogs June 16, 2016, in River North. Shaar was working security for the restaurant and began verbally and physically attacking Clarke according to Clarke's attorney. (Abel Uribe/Chicago Tribune)

The lawsuit alleges that Shaar, who has at least 15 police misconduct complaints against him since June 2007, placed his handcuffs over his right hand as "brass knuckles" to intensify his punch. Clarke was arrested on felony charges of aggravated battery on an officer, which prosecutors later dropped, court records show. A judge found him guilty of disorderly conduct during a bench trial and sentenced him to supervision.

Reached on his cellphone Wednesday, Shaar said he could not comment because of an investigation by the Independent Police Review Authority into the June 15, 2015, incident.

Shaar was stripped of his police powers pending the outcome of the IPRA investigation, according to police spokesman Frank Giancamilli.

Giancamilli would not answer questions about whether the agency is investigating the allegations of a cover-up by the four responding officers, who are also named in the suit.

Video released by IPRA shows an altercation between Chicago Police Officer Khaled Shaar and 59-year-old Terrence Clarke at Portillo's on June 16, 2015.

Mia Sissac, a spokeswoman for IPRA, said the investigation into Shaar is ongoing. The case was reassigned after the investigator left the agency, she said.

The city released some videos of the incident in June as part of a data dump of cases IPRA has investigated.

In Portillo's surveillance cameras and cellphone videos, Shaar paces around the Clarkes' table, leans in to talk with them and removes an item from the table.

Shaar then called 911 and reported that he needed more officers because Clarke was being belligerent and swearing and threw something at him, according to a recording of the call.

A struggle ensued after Shaar, still talking on his cellphone, reached down to grab Clarke's wrist. The 6-foot-2 Clarke stood up, pushing Shaar, who hit Clarke in the face at least seven times. By the end of the fight, blood was pouring from Clarke's face, and he would later need stitches.

Shaar wrote in a police report that Clarke struck him with a chair, punched him and threw a cup of cheese at him. Clarke disputes fighting back against the officer.

Clarke appears to throw something in the Portillo's surveillance video, which doesn't have audio. His attorney, Kevin O'Reilly, said Clarke flung something toward the officer when he took his food away.

"Officer Shaar was swearing and using profanity during the incident. Mr. Clarke was using profanity, but come on, swearing does not warrant being punched in the head repeatedly with handcuffs," O'Reilly said Wednesday.

Two customers called 911 as the encounter escalated. One man told dispatchers that Clarke was "resisting arrest." A woman, however, said Shaar assaulted Clarke first.

The lawsuit also lists Portillo's Hot Dogs LLC and the security firm that contracts with the company as defendants.

Shaar has been named in at least two federal lawsuits since 2008. One was settled for an undisclosed amount of money over a road-rage incident in which Shaar pistol-whipped another driver and screamed profanities at him, court records show. Shaar also punched the man, held the gun to his head and didn't identify himself as a police officer, according to the complaint.

O'Reilly called for a criminal investigation into Shaar, saying the latest incident involving Clarke should spawn aggravated battery and perjury charges.

Clarke "was acting professionally under the circumstances, but he was being singled out," O'Reilly said. "It was out of line for Khaled Shaar to come up to him and act in that manner."


Matt Barnes & Demarcus Cousins Sued Over Nightclub Brawl (NY, NY)

Matt Barnes and DeMarcus Cousins have just been SUED over the nightclub brawl at Avenue in NYC this week ... with the alleged victims claiming they were brutalized by the NBA stars.

TMZ Sports broke the story ... the Sacramento Kings teammates were involved in a violent altercation with two people at the VIP booth next to them around 3 AM on Dec. 5.

According to the lawsuit filed in NYC, Jasmine Besiso and Myrone Powell claim they were innocently hanging out when Barnes approached Jasmine and began to choke her.

In the suit, Powell says he saw the attack and tried to intervene but that's when Cousins stepped in and punched him in the face.

At that point, Barnes allegedly released Jasmine's neck and elbowed her in the face -- knocking her unconscious. Myrone claims he was taken to the ground and Barnes and Cousins proceeded to kick and punch him in the head and body.

The NYPD was called to the scene but Barnes and Cousins had left by the time they arrived.

A rep for the alleged victims calls the incident a "vicious and unprovoked attack" And says Cousins' initial blow was a "blindside punch."

The rep also says the two were transported by ambulance to a nearby hospital where they were treated for "serious injuries."

A rep for Barnes has previously told us that the NBA stars were the real victims -- who were attacked by the other clubgoers over an accidental bump in the VIP section.

TMZ Sports obtained video of Barnes and Cousins in the moments after the fight -- rehashing their version of what happened inside.


A Brief Commentary from Steve Guidry...

Rest assured, if the lawsuit continues, I would almost bet that the nightclub's security procedures will be in question...and the venue will get attached to the lawsuit as well.  If there is an insurance policy and they are suing, I would almost guarantee they will be next!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Children of woman killed at popular St. Louis cop hangout blame lax security in lawsuit (St. Louis, MO)

ST. LOUIS • Two children of a woman killed in a robbery and shootout at a popular St. Louis cop bar are suing the owners over her death.

The suit by Jody and Charles Lombardo says owners of Pooh’s Corner, 6023 Virginia Avenue, failed to provide a guard, surveillance or a secure entry system and didn’t prevent armed patrons from drinking.

“My mother said she was safe at Pooh’s Corner bar, unaware of the lack of security and violent history that took place in that bar,” Jody Lombardo said in an emailed statement. She added, “If Pooh’s Corner bar had proper security put in place after past shootings and numerous violent incidents, our mother would still be alive.”

The suit, filed Nov. 14 in St. Louis Circuit Court, names the bar, owners Debra and Leonard King and S&K Holdings Inc. The Kings could not be reached for comment.

Derreaun Davis, Corey Wade and at least one other man burst in shortly before 11 p.m. on Dec. 2, 2014, and ordered everyone to the floor, police said. One robber fired a shot into the ceiling and a shootout followed.

The Lombardos’ mother, Diana Lawrence, 63, was hit in the head and died the next day. Three others, including retired St. Louis Officer Danny Atkins, were wounded.

Atkins had been drinking at the bar and shot and wounded Davis and Wade, who are now serving two consecutive life sentences with the possibility of parole.

The suit claims Atkins was “visibly intoxicated” and that Pooh’s should not have served him knowing he was armed. Atkins could not be reached for comment.

Debra King has credited Atkins with saving lives, saying in 2014: “I do believe had he not been there, everyone would be dead.”

Police were called to the bar 44 times from 2004-14 for incidents including thefts, fights, burglary, assault and arson, the suit claims. It also mentions an attempted holdup in 2008, when Atkins was bartending and shot one of two robbers.

Jody Lombardo is the mother of Nicholas Gilbert, 27, who died in police custody in December 2015 after struggling with St. Louis officers in a holding cell at department’s Central Patrol Division. She and the man’s father have filed a federal lawsuit over that, claiming the department and 10 officers were responsible for Gilbert’s death.


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Lawsuit blames XYZ bar, American Legion for 2015 death of Mulberry motorcyclist (Lakeland, FL)

LAKELAND — The brother of a Mulberry man killed in a hit-and-run crash in 2015 is suing XYZ Liquor Inc. and the American Legion in Mulberry for serving alcohol to a man charged with leaving the scene of a crash involving death.

The lawsuit filed in October describes John Anthony Stone as an alcoholic who drank at the two bars on Nov. 6, 2015, before the crash that killed Paul Wooten Jr.

Companies selling alcohol are not liable for injuries or damages caused by a drunken driver unless the driver was under 21 or they served "a person habitually addicted to the use of any or all alcoholic beverages."

"As a result of long-term alcohol use and abuse, Stone was able to consume large quantities of alcohol without demonstrating signs and symptoms of impairment," the lawsuit states.

Mark Sessums, lawyer for Corey Wooten, said bartenders at XYZ on South Florida Avenue near County Road 540A said that Stone was a frequent drinker at both establishments. Stone lived close to one of the bartenders at XYZ, Sessums said.

Sessums said bartenders at XYZ have said that Stone, who was also named in the lawsuit, had five drinks before leaving.

Wooten was riding a 2012 Honda motorcycle south on Bailey Road near Wells Road about 11:15 p.m. when a pickup driving directly behind him failed to slow or attempt to avoid the motorcycle, according to the Polk Sheriff's Office.

The truck struck Wooten’s bike from behind, and he was ejected from the motorcycle onto the road. The driver of the pickup continued south on Bailey Road without stopping, sheriff's deputies reported.

Stone was arrested two days later. He told deputies he fell asleep then felt an impact to the front of his truck, deputies reported. He said the next thing he remembered was waking up inside his home.

Stone faces charges of leaving the scene, a first-degree felony, and tampering with physical evidence, a third-degree felony. He told deputies during an interview that he repaired damage to the truck after the crash. He faces a maximum of 35 years in prison.

Jury selection in the criminal case is scheduled for Nov. 28.

An employee who answered the phone at American Legion said Stone wasn't there the night of the crash and hasn't been there in years.

Sherman Auger, owner of XYZ, said he only recently received the lawsuit. He said he's passed it on to an attorney.

Auger, who also owns a XYZ store on Memorial Boulevard, emphasized that a "high standard needs to be met for lawsuits like this to go through." He said the property where XYZ was once located on South Florida Avenue was sold earlier this year to a company that runs a gun range.

The lawsuit does not specify an amount that Corey Wooten is seeking other than medical and funeral expenses.

Two of the counts in the lawsuit are claims filed under Florida's Dram Shop Act, which passed in 1980. It allow for bars to be held liable under situations that result in death or injury from intoxication. A dram is a small alcoholic drink.

It's also hard to prove, Bartow lawyer John Liguori said.

Liguori said he represented a bar owner and bartender who were threatened with a lawsuit related to the Dram Shop Act. Liguori said he sent a copy of the statute to the opposing lawyer and it was dropped.

"I don't care if the guy comes in every day, how do you know if he is addicted?" Liguori said. "It works in favor of the owner."


Friday, November 11, 2016

Husband sues drunk driver who killed trooper, bar that served him (Castle Rock, CO)

CASTLE ROCK - The husband of the Colorado State Trooper killed by a drunk driver in November 2015 while she was directing traffic on Interstate 25 near Castle Rock is suing the driver and the bar that served him alcohol, 9Wants To Know has learned.

In a wrongful death lawsuit filed in Douglas County District Court last month, the attorney for Didzis Jursevics, his young daughter and Trooper Jaimie Jursevics’ estate is seeking unspecified damages from driver Eric Henderson and Brooklyn’s at Invesco.

The suit alleges Henderson, who is from Payton, Colorado, broke a number of laws resulting in Jursevics’ death and that Brooklyn’s served a visibly drunk man. It’s unlawful to sell, serve or give alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person.

“We are honored to seek justice for Jaimie’s husband and daughter, who continue to fight for Jaimie as a wife, mother, and law enforcement officer who dedicated herself to the safety of the community and the State of Colorado,” Jursevics’ attorney Chris Hoffman said. “We hope this lawsuit will not only result in accountability, but also act as a reminder to everyone that drinking and driving has no place in our community and can have devastating consequences that change lives forever.”

According to court records, Henderson, a decorated Army Colonel, drank before, during and after a Broncos game on Nov. 15, 2015.

In June 2016, he pleaded guilty vehicular homicide and tampering with the evidence. He’s serving an eight-year prison sentence.

Henderson’s first of three blood tests showed a 0.150 BAC -- three times the level at which a driver is considered impaired and nearly twice the level at which a driver is considered intoxicated.

According to the civil lawsuit, Henderson’s friend brought a cooler with 20 or more beers, one water and two Pepsis with them to the game. Henderson drank before and during the game, wrapping up the night at Brooklyn’s, which is located near the football stadium.

The lawsuit says Henderson was “visibly intoxicated and displayed body language, behavior and speech consistent with significant alcohol intoxication. While at Brooklyn’s, Defendant Henderson was willfully and knowingly sold or served alcoholic beverages by Brooklyn’s employees while he was visibly intoxicated.”

Henderson left the bar and drove home on I-25. Court records say several drivers reported him to CSP, saying he was weaving and suspected he was drunk.

While Henderson was coming down I-25 after 8 p.m., the criminal and civil complaint says Trooper Jursevics was on the highway assisting another trooper with a crash.

Dispatch gave her the cell number for one driver following Henderson. Jursevics was on the phone with him while she was on the highway trying to direct Henderson to stop with her flashlight. One car prior to Henderson saw Jursevics, her flashlight and her lit-up patrol car and stopped. Henderson didn’t. He ran over Trooper Jursevics, drove around her body and left the scene, later trying to cover up the fact he was drinking, according to court records and court testimony.

In his District Court filing in the civil case, attorney for Jursevics says Henderson failed to “exercise reasonable care” in operating his car, drinking and driving, failing to obey Trooper Jursevics’ signals to pull over and stop.
9Wants To Know reached out to Brooklyn’s. They said they can’t make a comment at this time.


Comments below by Steve Guidry

I've seen so many articles like this since I began this sales, safety, and security journey.  I first think about the venue my partners and I were a part of in St. Louis, Missouri from 2006-2014, The Outfield at Mike Shannon's...where 40,000+ people walked by our front doors on Cardinal home games 81 days a year, many of whom who stopped to enjoy a beer, cocktail, or shot before and after the ballgames.

The bottom line and the barrier we as operators must break through: WE absolutely have to make it a part of our hammer it through the staff's this case that when you probably see 500-1000+ people a day in your's ok to refuse 2-10 people, or the door or at the bar.  This tiny group of intoxicated people that squeak past bar staff and or security, do nothing for your bottom line and usually cause more problems inside with good customers, and often will be the ones who end up starting fights.  We must teach our staff to be on the lookout for intoxicated customers and prevent them from even coming inside our venues...unfortunately for many staff that requires being confrontational and it's natural for employees to shy away from this if they aren't trained otherwise. 

Confrontation is not fun, but you must embrace it and put a plan in place...because it's what we signed up for!  You absolutely must have a plan in place, rehearse that plan, and teach people to get comfortable refusing entry or service customers...and to get comfortable doing it.  The key to success:  GET COMFORTABLE BEING UNCOMFORTABLE

I am confrontational weekly with customers out front of a venue that I still consult I was the confrontation king at the front doors of our bars,  hell I have been for nearly seventeen years...I mean that's how I made my living for god sakes!  Make no mistake, we're in the business of "negotiating with drunks" I always tell people.  The difference between me and so many people I've seen in this business or whom I've worked with?  I was excellent at "stepping on people's shoes without messing up the shine" so to speak...very non-confrontational.  I was so excited about it matter of fact, that I decided I wanted to change our business for the better and I just finished a 694 page book that I converted into an incredible e-course on the topic (you can register at

The key takeaway, this small group of visibly intoxicated people that arrive at our doorsteps daily and nightly, will do nothing for our bottom lines and will just cause problems for us in the venues or in lawsuits down the road...or maybe even cost a life or our business?  

It's a very sad story, the one above involving the trooper.  It's not the first and won't be the last.  

What's your plan?  #CALMbarsafety

Steve Guidry 
Twitter: @steveguidry

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Shooting victim sues Mainstage club (Morgantown, WV)

MORGANTOWN — The shooting victim at a downtown Morgantown nightclub has filed a new lawsuit against the establishment.

Last month, Dorian Banks, 26, filed suit against TNT WV LLC, which does business as Mainstage Morgantown. The shooter, listed as John Doe, was also named as a defendant. Banks’ daughter was also named as a plaintiff in the case.

Morgantown Police Chief Ed Preston said they are still investigating the shooting and there have been no arrests in the incident.

According to the filing: Banks was at a concert at Mainstage Morgantown in September when he was shot following an altercation.

The filing alleges that Mainstage was negligent in its hiring and failed to monitor and supervise employees. That included a pre-concert security plan, concert security, removing people involved in a fight, crowd control, security checks and other measures.


Friday, October 28, 2016

Woman Sues NE Houston Nightclub After 2015 Shooting Claims Husband (Houston, TX)

HOUSTON – The widow of a man fatally shot in the parking lot of a Northeast Houston nightclub last year is suing the establishment, per Harris County District Court records.

Humble resident Sabrina Olarosa-Garcia filed a lawsuit against Escapade Houston Corp. on Oct. 25 on behalf of the late Ruben Acosta Lozano’s children in the Harris County 190th District Court. Rubio Acosta, another child of the decedent, is also a plaintiff in the case.

Per recent court papers, Olarosa-Garcia witnessed the moment her spouse perished on the premises of Escapade 2001 the night of Apr. 10, 2015.

The complaint asserts that the defendant knew the area surrounding the business, located at 11903 Eastex Fwy., was dangerous but failed to take action that would have prevented the Apr. 10, 2015, death of Lozano.

“Within one mile of this entertainment complex, there were numerous previous crimes, that were recent, frequent, similar, and made public to Escapade,” the original petition says.

“This incident was foreseeable to Escapade and the plaintiff was a foreseeable victim of this attack.”

Lozano’s surviving relatives consequently seek unspecified monetary damages.

They are represented by attorney Jeffrey N. Todd of The Law Firm of Alton C. Todd in Friendswood.

Harris County 190th District Court Case No. 2016-73824


Monday, October 24, 2016

Patron Alleges Bar Operators, Employees, Customers Caused Injuries (Huntingtion, WV)

HUNTINGTON — A Mason County man is suing a Huntington bar and its patrons, alleging their negligence caused the plaintiff to be wounded by a gun shot.

Roger Lee Trippett of Glenwood filed a lawsuit Sept. 12 in the Cabell Circuit Court against Whiskey Rocks, Steven Daniel Lynch, John B. Flint, Timothy Paul Miller, Damon Shawn Bailes, et al, alleging failure to maintain a peaceful environment.

According to the complaint, on Sept. 13, 2014, Trippett was a patron at Whiskey Rocks bar in Huntington when an altercation took place followed by a series of gun shots from the defendants. In an attempt to escape the gunfire, the suit says, Trippett made his way to the exit but before reaching the door, he was struck in the abdomen by one of the gun shots caused by the defendants.

The lawsuit states Trippett sustained injuries resulting in paralysis and medical expenses, plus losing the ability to join life. The plaintiff alleges Whiskey Rocks negligently trained and supervised its employees, and the employees acted recklessly and disregarded the safety of their patrons.

Tripplett seeks trial by jury, judgment, jointly and severally for his injuries, plus punitive damages and all other relief deemed appropriate by the court. He is represented by attorney Timothy L. Eves of Eves Law Firm PLLC in Huntington.

Cabell Circuit Court Case number 16-c-585


Judge Issues Order on Fontaine Bleau Lawsuit (Portland, OR)

A pending lawsuit against the city of Portland, alleging a conspiracy against the Fontaine Bleau nightclub will go before a jury – denying motions from the city and individually named plaintiffs to dismiss the conspiracy claims.

The lawsuit names the city, the Portland Police Bureau and the Oregon Liquor Control Commission – as well as Mayor Charlie Hales, former Portland Police Captain Mark Kruger and several individual police officers – as participants in a campaign against Black nightclubs, particularly those playing hip-hop music.

Judge John Acosta’s order does grant relief to the defendants relating to a few aspects of the original complaint. Moving forward, the suit won’t address initial claims that the defendants violated Fontaine Bleau patrons’ right to freedom of association. The initial tort claim also includes several case histories of Black-owned clubs being shuttered by the city, and alleges a historical pattern. Acosta ruled the historical allegations are immaterial to the substance of the case.

“The court finds Plaintiffs’ allegations relating to the City’s treatment of other nightclubs owned by and catering to black individuals, and playing music that attracts primarily black patrons, are material and pertinent. However, Plaintiffs’ purely editorial comments…are not relevant to a nightclub but, rather, relate to the treatment of black citizens of the City in general and are stricken,” the order reads. However, a paragraph of the complaint establishing that music is protected speech will not be stricken from the suit.

But the other motions to dismiss were denied. Attorney Jesse Merithew, who represents DeWalt Productions, which owned the club in the case, told The Skanner he expects to confer next week about scheduling a jury trial.

“We’re happy with it,” Merithew said. “The whole case is still there. We’re looking forward to getting this case before a jury.”

The city of Portland did not respond to a request for comment on this case.

The Fontaine Bleau, owned by African American promoter Rodney DeWalt, closed in 2014 following the fatal shooting of Portland resident Durieul Harris inside the club. The suit alleges the city and police bureau had information about known risks of violence inside the club, but withheld them from DeWalt. The suit also notes the club was blanketed with noise complaints, despite being in an area with very little residential development, and that all the complaints were generated by a single neighborhood resident.

DeWalt Productions seeks economic damages in the amount of $2.5 million, non-economic damages in the amount of $5 million and punitive damages in the amount of $15 million, as well as attorneys’ fees and costs.


Publicist charged in bashing woman with beer bottle at NYC nightclub blames medication (NY, NY)

John Jannarone, 36, was arrested on assault charges for allegedly whacking Princeton grad Erin Jennings over the head repeatedly with a beer bottle at Southside, a pricey lounge.

A financial industry publicist accused of bashing a woman on the head with a beer bottle at a tony Nolita nightclub claims he was unexpectedly incapacitated by a “new medication” that evening, new court documents say.

John Jannarone, 36, was arrested on assault charges in May 2015 for allegedly whacking Princeton grad Erin Jennings over the head repeatedly with a beer bottle at Southside, a pricey lounge frequented by finance professionals, located on Cleveland Place near Broome St.

On May 17, 2015, Jannarone walked up to Jennings and hit on one of her friends. After Jennings told Jannarone to leave them alone, he walked away — only to come back and strike her “at least twice” with the bottle, according to a May 2016 lawsuit filed by Jennings against Jannarone and Southside in Manhattan Federal Court.

The lawsuit claims Southside’s bouncers didn’t intervene — and even helped Jannarone flee the scene by getting him a cab.

Jannarone denies Jennings’ allegations in the new court papers, which were filed in response to her civil complaint.

His lawyer states that “Jannarone lacked any intent to harm plaintiff, and his actions, with respect to the matters alleged in the complaint, were solely the result of a sudden, unexpected and unforeseeable incapacitation due to a new medication he was taking.”

Jennings, who collapsed to the floor, bleeding “profusely,” needed seven staples to close her head wound. She suffered a concussion and still suffers from headaches and nightmares, she claims.

A friend who stayed at Southside to ensure bouncers got the attacker’s name saw Jannarone plead with them “to ‘protect’ him and not ‘let (him) go to jail.’ ”

“Help me out. I need you to protect me,” Jannarone allegedly said to a witness, according to the criminal complaint. “I can’t believe I did this. I hit this girl with a bottle.”

Jannarone is due in court in December on the assault charges.His civil lawyer did not respond to requests for comment.

Lawyers for Southside said Jennings’ suit “changes nothing.”

“We dispute the complaint allegations and will vigorously contest them,” they said in an email to the Daily News.

Woman Sues Florida Club Over Shooting Injuries (Ft. Myers, FL)

FORT MYERS, Fla. (CN) - A woman wounded in a July nightclub shooting in which her brother and another teen died claims in a lawsuit that lax security at the club during a teenage "Swimsuit Glow Party" led to the tragedy.
Sharrell Strawder, 19, was shot in the leg during the melee that ensued at the club the night of July 25.
Strawder's younger brother, 18-year-old high school basketball star Stef'an Strawder, was shot in the abdomen and died after undergoing emergency surgery.
The other teen killed, Sean Archilles, was only 14 years old.
At least a dozen other victims, some as young as 12 years old, were injured.

At the time of the shooting, Club Blu, a restaurant and lounge in Fort Myers, Fla., was hosting a "Swimsuit Glow Party," where teenagers were told they need only pay $5 admission if they wore a bathing suit.

Shots broke out at the club as the event was ending and parents were picking up their kids in the parking lot, according to the Fort Myers police department.
Strawder's complaint is far from the first lawsuit filed in the wake of the shooting, and her complaint echoes those filed by other plaintiffs.

She claims the club "failed to implement reasonable security" in light of "a substantial amount of violent criminal activity" that had occurred at the premises in years past.
The club also failed to warn attendees about the club's history of violence, the complaint alleges.
The office of Strawder 's attorney, Joseph North, told Courthouse News that her complaint was refiled last week after being previously disposed. North's firm would not specify why the earlier case was discharged.
According to North, the Swimsuit Glow Party should have been cancelled, or never should have been scheduled in the first place, given the history of criminal activity at the club.
North is representing a majority of the surviving victims in litigation over the Club Blu shooting, as well as the estate of Strawder 's brother Stef'an. His clients' lawsuits say the reason for the shooting remains "unknown."
Dennis Webb, another Fort Myers-area attorney, is representing the estate of Sean Archilles, according to court records.

All told, more than ten lawsuits have been filed in Lee County alleging that Club Blu is liable for the bloodshed. The cases starting flowing into the circuit court within three days of the incident.

Terry Pannell and Brandy McLaughlin, two of the plaintiffs, say they were caught in the gunfire while providing security for the club. Pannell purportedly suffered a non-life-threatening gunshot wound.

The day after the shooting, the club apologized and said it had taken extensive precautions to prevent violence at the event.

"We are deeply sorry for all involved. We tried to give the teens what we thought was a safe place to have a good time. Ages 12-17. There were armed security as well as full security, inside and out," the club wrote on its social media page. "There was nothing more we could [have] done."
Shortly before the shooting, Club Blu's liquor license was reportedly revoked for failure to properly maintain business records. The revocation made alcohol-free teen parties an important source of revenue for the club.

No one has been charged directly with the shooting, and police have not pinpointed a motive, save to say that the incident was "not an act of terror ... or terrorism."

Speculation has run rampant as to who was responsible, with some blaming gang activity in the Fort Myers area, and others pointing to a group of teens "beefing" as a possible trigger for the carnage.

McLaughlin for one told local reporters that the shooting was simply the product of "an idiot with a firearm."
Three men -- Derrick Church, Demetrius O'Neal and Tajze Battle -- were arrested after an encounter with the Fort Myers Police Department and the Lee County Sheriff's Office on the night of the shooting.

Church, the driver of a car in which the men were riding, allegedly fled when officers tried to pull him over in a neighborhood near the club, based on a call about a suspicious vehicle in the area.

Once the chase ended, O'Neal and Battle bailed from the car and tried to escape on foot, the sheriff's office claims.
They were caught and charged with resisting an officer without violence.

A deputy shot Church, claiming the man drove toward him in a threatening manner.

Church was booked for alleged aggravated assault on an officer, though neither he, O'Neal nor Battle faced charges for the Club Blu attack.

A MasterPiece Arms pistol, believed to have been used in the attack, was found near Club Blu and was traced back to its original buyer, Jazmin Barron of Lehigh Acres, police say.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives slapped Barron with federal charges for listing an incorrect address on her paperwork for the gun purchase in 2015.
A torched car that turned up a few blocks away from the club was reported to be tied to the shooting, though Fort Myers police have not commented on the connection.
Two additional parties are named as defendants in the lawsuits over the shooting: Carrell Corners West (the operator of the plaza where the club was located) and IMC Property Management and Maintenance.

Jennifer Burby, the attorney for Carrell Corners, declined to comment when reached by phone.

Club Blu has reputedly been the site of gun violence in the past, as two men are said to have been shot there in May 2015.


Saturday, October 8, 2016

Stony Point restaurant must defend claims it was negligent in serving man who nearly killed judge’s daughter with car (Brooklyn, NY)


An appellate court in Brooklyn has allowed a lawsuit to proceed brought by Alysoun Sherwood against the Fireside Steak Pub, claiming that the bar served a visibly intoxicated person who later struck her vehicle.

Sherwood sustained serious injuries on February 22, 2013, when her vehicle was struck by Michael Coyle, the driver of a vehicle that crossed a double yellow line on Route 9W and struck her vehicle. Police immediately arrested Coyle and discovered he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.18, more than twice the legal limit.

In her lawsuit, Sherwood claimed that Fireside Steak Pub in Stony Point was liable for her injuries since Coyle spent most of the day drinking at the bar and staff continued to serve him despite being visibly intoxicated. Under New York law, any person injured by an intoxicated person has a claim against anyone who sells, procures or contributed to a person’s intoxication. This law is commonly referred to as the Dram Shop Law. Coyle eventually pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular assault and is currently serving a 3 1/3 – 10 year prison sentence.

Fireside sought to dismiss Sherwood’s claims by submitting testimony from its bartender that Coyle was not visibly intoxicated. The bartender claimed he only served Coyle two beers. However, Sherwood submitted the transcript of Coyle’s plea where he admitted he drank at least 13 beers and seven shots of whiskey at the Fireside.

Additionally, Sherwood submitted a statement from the arresting police officer that stated Coyle exhibited signs of intoxication, had glassy eyes, impaired speech and poor motor coordination. The appeals court ruled that there were issues of fact that required a trial on Sherwood’s claims. The court ruled that Judge Gerald Loehr of the Rockland Supreme Court properly denied Fireside’s motion to dismiss Sherwood’s claims.

The case’s next hearing is scheduled for November 16, 2016 at which time a trial date will likely be set.

Sherwood is the daughter of former New York State Supreme Court Judge and Stony Point Supervisor William Sherwood (R) and his wife Susan Sherwood, the current Rockland County commissioner of Human Rights. Coincidentally, one of then-Supervisor William Sherwood’s running mates in the 2011 electoral cycle was Karl Javenes, brother of Fireside’s owner Tom Javenes.


Friday, October 7, 2016

Lawsuit Says Aqua Nightclub Overserved Woman who Jumped Out of Moving Vehicle (St. Paul, MN)

The family of a woman who died after she jumped out of a moving vehicle is suing Aqua Nightclub, saying she had been overserved.

Nan Vang of Andover was at Aqua Nightclub on Saturday, Aug. 8. The lawsuit says Vang was in the VIP room and was served alcohol from 11 p.m. Saturday until 2 a.m. Sunday when she was “obviously intoxicated.”

The lawsuit said Vang was intoxicated, incapacitated and debilitated when she got into a vehicle driven by Daravadee Khue.

Khue drove from downtown Minneapolis to Interstate 94 and was at the Dowling Avenue exit when Vang jumped out of the window of the moving vehicle and landed on the pavement. She later died from her injuries at North Memorial Medical Center, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit says Vang’s drunkenness was caused by “the violation of the liquor liability law” by Aqua Nightclub and that the violation was the “sole and direct cause” of Vang jumping out of the window.

The lawsuit was filed by Vang’s father, mother, five brothers and three sisters, who are asking to be compensated for their losses.

We have reached out to Aqua Nightclub for a response and are waiting to hear back.

Former Downtown Bend bar sued (Bend, OR)

The owner of a now-defunct bar in Downtown Bend is facing a $2.6 million lawsuit stemming from a fight in 2014 that left a patron with severe head and neck injuries.

Lee Works filed the lawsuit Sept. 30 in Deschutes County Circuit Court against PTC Inc., which operated the Bond Street Grill. The lawsuit states that Works and Chauncey Day were drinking at the Bond Street Grill on the morning of Oct. 2, 2014. Day was visibly intoxicated when he and Works entered the bar, the lawsuit states. The bar was located at 932 NW Bond Street, the current home of J Dub.

A representative for PTC Inc. could not be reached for comment. The corporation was dissolved in 2015, according to the Oregon Business Registry.

According to the lawsuit, the bartender asked Works to escort Day outside, where he fought and injured Works, who suffered a fractured neck, and severe bruising and swelling of the brain. The lawsuit alleges PTC Inc. is liable for continuing to serve Day despite his intoxication, and for instructing Works to remove Day despite the possibility of violence.

—Bulletin Staff Report


A few thoughts from Steve Guidry...
Wait, what? What I'd be thinking if I owned the bar:

"'re suing my bar (strike one) because your friend beat your a** on a night you were out drinking together (strike two)? And the bartender asked you to take him outside because he had too much to drink and felt it was time for you to go (strike three)? See you in court!"

Obviously I have not seen the facts in this case, but that's what the former bar owner in me is thinking. 

Plaintiffs, defendants, or legal teams for insurance companies: To contact me about your own hospitality based lawsuit, please reach out to C.A.L.M. Legal Consulting in St. Louis, Missouri:

Strip club, bar sued over ex-Linden cop's deadly wrong-way crash (Linden, NJ)

The former Linden cop who survived the wrong-way crash where his fellow officer was allegedly driving drunk and the family of one of the men who was killed in the crash are now suing the two bars the men visited.

Lawyers for crash survivor Patrik Kudlac, 25, and the family of Joseph Rodriguez, then 28, a passenger in the car who was killed in the crash, have filed "dram shop" complaints against both bars, claiming they recklessly over-served Pedro Abad while Abad was visibly intoxicated. (See both complaints, below.)

Authorities said that on March 20, 2015, just before 5 a.m., Abad was driving his Honda Civic the wrong-way on the West Shore Expressway when he crashed head-on into a tractor-trailer. They said Abad visited Roselle bar Central Park and Curves, a Staten Island strip club, before the crash. Abad's blood alcohol content was three times the legal limit at the time of the crash, authorities said. Another Linden officer, Frank Viggiano, 28, was also killed in the crash.

Abad has pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated vehicular homicide and manslaughter. His next court hearing is on Oct. 18. Abad's lawyer has suggested that strippers at Curves may have drugged Abad.

"The New Jersey and New York dram shop laws specifically say that a tavern keeper cannot serve alcohol to someone who exhibits signs of intoxication," Kudlac's lawyer, David Wikstrom, told NJ Advance Media. "According to witnesses we have, Pedro was visibly intoxicated while he was provided with drinks, as well as free drinks, at both Central Park and Curves."

In the complaint, Wikstrom, whose office is in Springfield, asks for judgment against both bars for Kudlac's "pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment in life."

Kudlac's injuries also forced him to resign as an officer, Wikstrom said.

Calls to Curves and Abad's lawyer for comment were not returned. A manager at Central Park denied the bar had been sued and said she would not comment.

NJ Advance Media also reported that Abad has been back to Central Park since the crash. Abad also was charged in two DUI crashes before the double-fatal crash, but was only convicted in one.

Blood test to see if a former Linden cop had been drugged prior to a double-fatal Staten Island crash are moving ahead.

Angelo Rodriguez, Joseph's father, and Roseann, his sister, are still "in a very, deep grief," according to their lawyer Donald Caminiti, whose office is in Hackensack.

"Joseph was on track to become a firefighter or policeman, and but for the absolutely reckless conduct of Curves and Central Park, Joseph would be here," Caminiti told NJ Advance Media. "With the amount of alcohol apparently found in Mr. Abad's system he had to be exhibiting signs of intoxication, and he shouldn't have been served."

After Abad's last court hearing, Roseann Rodriguez yelled at Abad in the hallway,saying, "This is no joke" and "You're done!"

"They go to court every single time because they want to see that the matter is handled properly and that Mr. Abad is disciplined properly for his conduct," Caminiti said.

Both parties have already settled with Abad's car insurance, receiving the maximum benefit, though they can't disclose the amount.

Though Wikstrom had initially filed a tort claim against Linden police after an investigation determined they were deficient in disciplining Abad, it was decided that there was not enough evidence to include the department in the claim.

"After reviewing the law at this time we don't have enough basis to bring a claim against Linden Police or any other police department," Wikstrom said. "That could change through discovery, however."