Sunday, December 31, 2017

Parents file wrongful death lawsuit in death of daughter

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - The parents of a woman who died Jan. 1, 2017, are suing the Fairbanks Police Department, the Alaska Department of Corrections and an Alaska nightclub for sharing blame in the death of their daughter.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports Michaela Kitelinger died after she was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and released on her own recognizance. She walked away from the Fairbanks Correctional Center about 6 a.m. She later was struck by a vehicle.

An autopsy revealed her blood-alcohol level was 0.157. The legal limit for driving is .08.

Kitelinger drank at Kodiak Jack's on New Year's Eve 2016.

Deborah Kitelinger says her daughter made mistakes but personnel at the nightclub, police department and jail did also.

The entities are being sued for wrongful death.


Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Victim in bar shooting files lawsuit against the business

MERIDEN, Conn. (AP) — A man who was shot in the neck at a Connecticut bar has filed a negligence lawsuit against the now-defunct business.

The Record-Journal reports that Christopher Durant says in his lawsuit that 105 Restaurant & Lounge in Meriden failed to protect him, hire security guards, and prevent the suspect from entering the premises with a gun. Court documents show Durant is seeking more than $15,000 in damages.

Durant was shot March 18 after an altercation during a St. Patrick's Day event. Police have charged a 29-year-old Meriden man with the shooting.

The bar's owner could not be reached for comment.

The business closed shortly after the shooting when it withdrew its application for a state liquor permit.


Wrongful death lawsuit filed in fatal drunken-driving crash

LE CENTER — The family of a Lakeville man who was killed by a drunken driver in Le Sueur County is suing both the driver and the bar that served her alcohol.

Catherine Lipscomb filed a wrongful death lawsuit earlier this month in Le Sueur County District Court against Kimberly Stangler of Kilkenny and White Front Saloon in Montgomery.

Stangler killed Catherine Lipscomb’s husband, 65-year-old Ed Lipscomb, in October 2016. She was driving on County Road 3 north of Killkenny when she drifted into the wrong lane and struck Ed Lipscomb’s motorcycle, according to court documents.

Stangler admitted she had been drinking and had a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.17 shortly after the crash.

She pleaded guilty to criminal vehicular homicide and was sentenced in October. The sentence included 17 months in jail and $28,000 in restitution.

The lawsuit filed by Catherine Lipscomb, on behalf of Edward Lipscomb’s next of kin, seeks more financial restitution.

In addition to Stangler’s admitted crime, the lawsuit accuses White Front Saloon of illegally selling Stangler alcohol. The suit claims the bar violated a state law that prohibits bars from selling to an “obviously intoxicated person.”

Attorneys for the plaintiff and defendants did not respond to requests from The Free Press to provide comments about the case.

White Front Saloon’s attorney submitted a response to the court denying it illegally served Stangler and denying any liability in Ed Lipscomb’s death.

“White Front actions were not the cause in fact or direct and proximate cause of the accident,” the response states.

The bar asks the judge to dismiss the business from the lawsuit and require the plaintiff to pay its legal fees.


Friday, December 22, 2017

Man blames Houston bar for attack by security personnel

HOUSTON – An evening at a bar along the city’s Washington Corridor earlier this month ended in an assault on a patron, according to a lawsuit filed on Dec 21 in the Harris County 125th District Court.

Houston resident Luis Carmona faults 5110 Washington LLC, doing business as Lincoln Bar, for one of its security personnel attacking him last Dec. 2.

Carmona claims the worker, whose name is reportedly Jordash Sparks, attempted to take his drink away without any given reason. According to the original petition, Sparks then began beating the plaintiff.

After a short chase around the bar, the suit says, Sparks put Carmona in a headlock and gouged both of the complainant’s eyes.

The purported manager of the establishment requested Carmona refrain from calling the police and promised to cover future tabs, to which he refused, court documents add.

Consequently, the plaintiff seeks unspecified monetary damages.

He is represented by attorneys James R. Edwards and Jeffrey R. McCarthy of the law firm McCarthy & Edwards PLLC in Houston.

Harris County 125th District Court Case No. 2017-84582


Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Lancaster man facing charges after pushing police officer during bar fight

LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa.– A Lancaster man is facing charges after fighting at a bar and then pushing a police officer.

Jayson Rodriguez-Irizarry, 31, is facing aggravated assault and disorderly conduct charges for the incident.

On December 17 around 2:05 a.m., police were in the area of Catalina’s at 40 W. Orange St. during the bar closing.

Police saw that a fight had broken out in a group of people that had exited the bar.

Police attempted to stop the group from fighting when Rodriguez-Irizarry grabbed an officer and pushed him backwards into other officers to continue fighting.

Authorities were able to place Rodriguez-Irizarry into custody and he was released on $10,000 unsecured bail.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Lawsuit says Galveston hotel bar manager assaulted female patron

GALVESTON – An alleged assault at a Galveston hotel bar in late 2015 is the subject of a Harris County woman’s lawsuit.

In court papers filed on Dec. 12 in the Galveston County 405th District Court, Lisa A. Barfield claims an employee of The Tremont House Rooftop Bar refused her service and physically attacked her on Dec. 12, 2015.

Wyndham, the hotel’s parent company, and the employee in question, Ashley Nicole Jasper, are listed as defendants in the case.

Barfield reportedly went to the bar while her husband went to buy a Christmas present for her. According to the suit, the plaintiff originally inquired about an electrical outlet, but the bar staff were busy and unavailable to acknowledge her.

The original petition further states that Barfield then approached the counter only to be refused service though she was not intoxicated. She requested to speak to the manager, which was supposedly Jasper.

Documents assert that Jasper immediately became aggressive towards, and confrontational with, the plaintiff. Barfield tried to leave, but the manager blocked her path and proceeded to assault her, per the complaint.

The attack purportedly continued even as Barfield’s husband came to fetch her and guide her out of the hotel. The complainant later learned that a Galveston police report was filed in response to the event in question with her implicated as the instigator.

Consequently, Barfield seeks unspecified monetary damages.

She is representing herself.

Galveston County 405th District Court Case No. 17-CV-1491


Friday, December 8, 2017

Family of man shot outside Suite suing nightclub, property managers

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The family of a man shot and killed at Suite Night Club earlier this year is suing the former club and the company that managed the property for not providing adequate security.

Toray Ricketts is accused of killing 24-year-old Sina Sharifai in March.

Sharifai's family said he was breaking up a fight outside the club at the Markets at Town Center when he was shot twice by Ricketts.

Police said an argument in the club spilled over into a fight in the parking lot, and witnesses said Ricketts, 25, went to his car, got a gun and returned before shooting Sharifai.

Just over a week after Ricketts' Stand Your Ground petition was denied by a judge, Sharifai's family filed a a lawsuit against Suite and the Hines company, seeking at least $15,000.

According to the lawsuit, Hines, which runs the Markets at Town Center, didn’t have enough properly trained security guards to keep the club safe.

The lawsuit claims two rapes, several batteries and other violent crimes happened on the premises of Suite Nightclub from 2012 to March 2017.

It also states that many crimes that happened inside the club and in the parking lot, where Sharifai was shot, were not reported to police.

Suite has since closed down.

Ricketts is set to go to trial Jan. 29 on charges of second-degree murder and having a concealed firearm.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Innocent bystander says he was stabbed at restaurant, sues Moonlight Cuisine

PHILADELPHIA – A man allegedly stabbed at a restaurant in the Oak Lane neighborhood of Philadelphia has sued the establishment, for not maintaining a safe and secure premises or providing adequate security to protect its customers.

Khalif Moshe Spencer of Philadelphia filed suit in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas on Nov. 21 versus Moonlight Cuisine, Inc., also of Philadelphia.

According to the lawsuit, Spencer was a patron of Moonlight Cuisine on Dec. 6, 2015, when an argument erupted among other patrons of the restaurant. In the melee, Spencer was stabbed in both the chest and abdomen.

In the process, Spencer sustained a collapsed lung, shortness of breath, pain in his chest and abdomen, in addition to suffering other physical, emotional and psychological injuries, the full extent of which are not yet known, the suit says.

Spencer’s suit accuses Moonlight Cuisine of failing to keep the premises safe for all patrons, failing to provide adequate security and proper protection of its patrons, failing to take proper and adequate precautions to screen employees and customers for potential violent misconduct, failing to prevent a knife-wielding patron from entering the premises and serving alcohol to visibly-intoxicated patrons, among numerous other charges.

For multiple counts of negligence, the plaintiff is seeking judgment for and exemplary/punitive damages in excess of $50,000, plus interest, costs, attorney’s fees, delay damages and such other relief as the Court deems just and reasonable.

The plaintiff is represented by Lauren Levin Geary in Philadelphia.


Couple suing Astro Lounge, DJ after alleged assault

A husband and wife are suing the downtown Bend bar Astro Lounge and one of its regular DJs for more than $300,000, claiming the DJ struck and injured the husband with a pipe when he tried to re-enter the bar after being asked to leave.

Keven and Heather Bennett are accusing Jason Harlowe, also known as DJ Harlo, of hitting Keven Bennett in the wrist and in the face with a pipe, causing extensive injuries.

The incident occurred after midnight April 23. Bend Police responded; no criminal charges were filed.

Bennett reportedly suffered lacerations and abrasions to his face, mouth and arm, tooth fractures and neck strains and sprains, according to the lawsuit filed Tuesday in Deschutes County Circuit Court.

Emmanuel Miller, a Bend attorney representing the Bennetts, said Keven Bennett is recovering from his injuries. Bennett has spent more than $7,000 on medical expenses and anticipates having to spend an additional $29,000, according to Miller.

“As a further result of his injuries, plaintiff Keven Bennett has and will continue to suffer physical, mental and emotional pain,” Miller wrote in the lawsuit. “His right to enjoy life has been diminished because of his inability to engage in his normal activities without pain.”

The Astro Lounge and Harlowe were notified Oct. 20 that a complaint would be filed. They have 30 days to respond.

Astro Lounge management was not immediately available for comment Thursday.

Miller would not say what the Bennetts were doing or saying that prompted the Astro Lounge to ask them to leave.

The Bennetts were drinking alcohol at the Astro Lounge before they were asked to leave, according to the lawsuit. Miller would not say how much the couple had to drink but said their intoxication level is no reason for being assaulted.

“My clients were asked to leave the Astro Lounge, and when they attempted to return to the bar, he was smashed in the face,” Miller said Thursday.

According to Bulletin archives, Harlowe moved from San Diego to Bend in 1998 and became a regular DJ at bars in downtown Bend, including the Astro Lounge. The lawsuit states Astro Lounge was “vicariously liable,” because Harlowe was working for the bar the night of the incident.

The lawsuit alleges negligence, battery and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress from the Astro Lounge and Harlowe.

It includes two claims seeking economic and noneconomic damages to be proven at trial, with a total sum of $302,724.17.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Doc Holliday’s Sued By Comedian Alleging Wild West Behavior

Doc Holliday’s is facing a lawsuit from a Los Angeles based-comedian who said he was attacked by a member of the staff late last year.

Julian McCullough – who has appeared as a guest comic on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and The Late Late Show with James Corden – filed suit in October in New York Supreme Court against Wishbone Productions, which owns the East Village dive, along with an unnamed employee of the bar. McCullough contends that on Dec. 18, 2016, the employee physically battered and assaulted him without any warning.

The complaint alleges McCullough “sustained severe and permanent injuries, personal injuries to his head, limbs, body and nervous system and has been rendered sick, sore, lame and disabled.” It contends that Doc Holliday’s and Wishbone Productions, both owned by former Community Board 3 member David McWater, failed to provide a safe place for customers and failed to prevent the alleged assault.

(Shana Ravindra for NY Mag)

Doc Holliday’s is an East Village institution. Back in 1998, the Times described the bar as “the area’s premier venue for penny-ante dustups,” immortalizing the “Rowdy Crowd at a Roadhouse in Trendyville.” At the time, McWater estimated there was about one fistfight a month. McWater did not reply to our request for comment.

McCullough confirmed he was the one who filed the lawsuit but said there’d be no comment on the case. The comedian hasn’t specified an amount in his complaint but is seeking all relief the court deems “just and proper.”

Could a wrongful death lawsuit be on the horizon after a fatal robbery at a westside wine bar?

Barcelona Wine Bar on Howell Mill Road in Atlanta reopened Saturday, almost a week after manager Chelsea Beller, 29, was shot to death in a robbery. Police say three masked robbers stormed in as employees were closing in Sunday's early-morning hours, restraining workers with electrical tape and forcing Beller to open the safe before shooting her.

Beller was one of at least two restaurant employees who had raised concerns with management about gaps in security there--leading to speculation that her family might want to seek civil retribution against the company, which has restaurants in several states.

WSB legal analyst Phil Holloway says while that might make for a sympathetic victim in a lawsuit, that same fact also makes for a convincing argument for the defense.

"The plaintiffs would argue that, 'Hey, these people knew that this was a dangerous situation, we've got e-mails to prove it, and they didn't do anything about it,'" says Holloway.

"On the other hand, the defense will say, 'Yeah, well, the e-mails also prove that the victim knew about it, yet she chose to come to work anyway--therefore, we're not liable."

Holloway says Georgia's premises liability law is "about as clear as muddy water." He says the number of potential legal issues could cause a judge to get rid of the case before a jury even sees it, but if it gets that far, Holloway says, a settlement would be likely because Beller makes a sympathetic victim. Still, he says, liability isn't clear.

"The real issue here is foreseeability," says Holloway. "Was it reasonably foreseeable that something like this might happen?"

The reward in the case has grown to $20,000. Tipsters to Crime Stoppers (404) 577-TIPS (8477) can remain anonymous.


Saturday, November 18, 2017

New Cameo negligence suit to be filed against club manager, police, city

CINCINNATI - A second lawsuit will be filed Monday over the Cameo Night Club shooting, and this one is from the estate of the man shot dead inside.

O'Bryan Spikes, 27, was one of two men killed and among the total 17 shot in the Kellogg Avenue club the early morning hours of March 26.

Hundreds of patrons were inside when a gunfight broke out during a dispute among several people in two feuding groups from Madisonville and Price Hill, authorities have said.

The club was supposed to be checking patrons for weapons, but at least three different guns made it inside, Cincinnati police have said.

The gross negligence lawsuit alleges the club manager Julian Rodgers created a secretly unsafe atmosphere for patrons by, among other things, permitting some to bypass the security protocols at the entrance and enter without passing through metal detectors or otherwise being screened for weapons.

Rodgers extracted an additional cover charge from clubgoers to enter through an alternate side entrance where they were permitted in with weapons, according to the suit.

"Faced with the choice of complying with the law or creating an unsafe environment without warning would be patrons of the danger, Rodgers chose profit over people," the suit states.

The suit also alleges the four off-duty Cincinnati police officers who were working security details outside the club and the city also were negligent, accusing the officers of "turning a blind eye" to the side entrance and patrons paying more to get in with weapons.

Cameo Night Cub has a history of gun violence including a shooting inside the club on New Years Day 2015 and a shooting in the parking lot in September of the same year.

Police were called to the club upwards of 100 times since the beginning of 2016, city documents show.

Rodgers turned his liquor permit over to authorities the day after the shooting.

The club permanently shut down March 31.

The landlord, The Kellogg Group LLC, failed to terminate its lease with JRODG and/or Cameo despite knowing of repetitive and criminal activity occurring on the premises, or take any reasonable measures to prevent it, the suit alleges.

Rodgers, Kellogg Group and/or lawyers on their behalf could not be immediately reached for comment Saturday.

Telephone numbers listed for Rodgers and the club are no longer in service. No phone number could be immediately found for the Kellogg Group.

After the shooting, Rodgers released a statement rejecting claims that people paid to get into the club without being checked.

A woman, who declined to give her name, is consoled as mourners pray for O'Bryan Spikes and the 16 injured following the shooting at the Cameo nightclub during a vigil Tuesday, March 28, 2017, in Linwood. Police say two groups of people were arguing much of Saturday and into Sunday, with the fight escalating into a shooting inside the club. That night four off-duty Cincinnati police officers were working a detail in the parking lot when the shooting broke out at 1:30 a.m. Kareem Elgazzar

"There have been untrue reports that certain patrons were allowed to enter the Club without passing through security. This was not permitted," his statement read.

"There was no side door entrance. As is customary, two of the four privately paid uniformed Cincinnati Police officers that I hired who were working the off-duty detail were stationed at the door and had a clear view to observe our security procedures. They also assisted with the flow of the lines."

Spikes, who was with one of the two arguing groups, was hit with a stray bullet, the suit states.

He was not directly involved with the violence, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters has said.

Spikes also was not targeted and did not fire or have a gun.

He entered the club through the entrance that screened for weapons;

"Had the Armed Patrons been required to enter through the main entrance and pass through security, the Armed Patrons would not have been armed inside of Cameo, and Spikes would not have been shot and killed," the suit alleges.

Maikel Steele, administrator of Spikes' estate and the mother of his three children, is the plaintiff in the suit being filed by the Chris Finney Law Firm.

Named as defendants are:

• The club

• Cameo manager Julian Rodgers

• Jrodg Group LLC

• Building owner Kellogg Group

• The City of Cincinnati

Four Cincinnati police officers working off-duty security details outside the club: Diondre Winstead, Joehonny Reese, David Dozier and Brian Brazile.

The officers "breached their duty to protect patrons, including Spikes, by turning a blind eye to the Security Bypass despite their knowledge of its use and likelihood of harm resulting from the Security Bypass," the suit states.

A spokesman for Cincinnati police, Lt. Steve Saunders, deferred comment Saturday to the city's law department.

A spokesman for the City of Cincinnati, Rocky Merz, said the city will not comment on ongoing litigation matters.

In an interview Saturday, attorney Chris Finney added: "Cincinnati police actively colluded with this club owner to allow the kind of policies that we are talking about. Again, this club has a history of violence. The police knew exactly what was going on and they colluded with the club owner to allow the guns to come into the facility.

"It's unfortunate. Cincinnati police, we think, had full knowledge of what was going on and whether you call it turning a blind or whether it was actively colluding with the security forces of the club owner, it is sort of immaterial. They knew what was going on. They allowed the dangerous situation to happen that endangered lives that night."

An analysis of Cincinnati Police Department off-duty logs by the Cincinnati Enquirer showed three of the four officers working outside the club were familiar with operations there.

The Enquirer analysis showed:

• Three of the officers worked such details for the owners of Cameo almost every Saturday night over the previous 12 months.

• Officer Dozier worked almost every Saturday night dating back to April 2016, leading up to the shootout.

• Officer Brazille worked at the club for nine straight Saturdays early this year before March 26.

• Officer Reese worked Cameo 10 Saturdays in 2017, including the night of the shootings, and the shift 14 times in 2016.

• Officer Winstead worked Cameo for two Saturdays prior to the shootout and worked that night, but had not worked at Cameo before.

Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac has praised the officers for their quick response in helping the victims of the shooting.

Isaac also previously has said that the club did not have a formal agreement with CPD to check for weapons, but that such a procedure would not have been the responsibility of the off-duty officers.

The officers were "responsible for outside security," he said back in March.

The officers were not allowed inside the establishment during their shift under CPD regulations.

The department does not permit those working an off-duty detail to be stationed inside any business that serves or sells alcohol, including bars, restaurants and liquor stores.

CPD policy also prohibits officers from participating in private security operations at such businesses.

PREVIOUSLY: Cincinnati police officers worked off-duty at site of Cameo shooting for months prior

The suit demands a jury trial and compensatory and punitive damages suffered by Spikes' next of kin as a result of his death in an amount to be determined at trial but in excess of $25,000, together with court costs, attorney fees and any further relief the court sees fit.

Spikes left behind three small children: two daughters, O'Bryanna, 7 and Arielle, 1, and a son, O'Zayvion, who turned 6 on Saturday.

"The hope is that his kids get taken care of," said their mother, Maikel Steele. "I feel like whatever comes in is for their father's support, in my eyes, because he always took care of his kids. He never skipped a beat with taking care of his kids, so I feel like this is justice for him that he gets the justice he needs and can rest easy and that his kids can have a future, from college to whatever they need, they have."

Finney said the ultimate goal of the lawsuit is to effect change to try to ensure a mass shooting like the one at Cameo never happens again.

He said he hopes to learn more about exactly what transpired - who knew what and when - during the lawsuit's discovery process and ultimately "change the city and police department's policies and procedures to be more vigilant in working with these club owners or shutting down the bad clubs to make sure that these kind of bad situations don't reoccur."
Steele said she has been to Cameo before and saw patrons paying to get in without being checked for weapons.

"I've been to Cameo several times," she said. 'It could be somewhere between $50 to $100, just depending how the security feels."

This is the second lawsuit filed over the shootout.

Eight shooting victims sued back in June, alleging the shooting could have been prevented.

The other man who died in the shooting, Deondre Davis, 29, succumbed to his injuries days later at University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

Davis and Cornell Beckley, 27, were charged with murder in Spikes' death.

Police also have said they are searching for a third, unidentified suspect.

Under Ohio's "transfer of intent" laws, anyone shooting in the club that night will be charged with Spikes' murder, Deters has said.

Investigators have said they believe Beckley fired the first shots.

Beckley stood on the club stage and fired least four shots from a .25 caliber revolver into the crowd, according to Deters.

Davis then fired a .40 caliber Glock at least eight times.

Beckley and Davis were not legally allowed to carry firearms, according to Deters.

Police recovered both guns, along with a 9mm weapon believed to have belonged to the unidentified third suspect.


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Chicago Fire actress Alexandra Metz files lawsuit against LA hotel as she claims she was 'put into choke hold by bouncer at bar'

Los Angeles, CA - Chicago Fire actress Alexandra Metz has filed a lawsuit against the Ace Hotel in Los Angeles, claiming she was put into a choke hold by a bouncer outside a bar at the establishment last summer.

The actress alleges in the suit that a bouncer grabbed her and forced her into the elevator of the hotel's rooftop bar and lounge, Upstairs, according to a Tuesday report by TMZ.

Metz alleges that the bouncer twisted her wrist, placed her into a choke hold, and threw her onto the elevator floor.
Lawsuit: Chicago Fire actress Alexandra Metz has filed a lawsuit against the Ace Hotel in Los Angeles, claiming she was put into a choke hold by a bouncer at the bar last summer (pictured 2012)

The actress says the alleged incident left her injured and humiliated, causing her to experience anxiety attacks.

The suit does not provide an explanation for what caused the alleged incident, according to TMZ, and Metz's attorney, Neil Steiner, has told the website he is working to uncover the identity of the bouncer.

The website reached out to the hotel but have not heard back.  Metz is an actress who has appeared on Chicago Fire and How To Get Away With Murder.
Uncovering: Her lawyer, Neil Steiner, is working to find out the identity of the bouncer, according to TMZ (stock image of the Upstairs bar at the Ace Hotel)

Read more:

Friday, November 10, 2017

Restaurant sued after deaths of three East Kingston friends in 2016 crash

BRENTWOOD, NH — A Stratham Chinese restaurant and its owner are now facing two civil lawsuits that seek $1 million in attachments and damage awards after three young friends from East Kingston were allegedly over-served alcohol and died following a crash in Kensington last year.

Alan Yang Inc., which operates Jade Palace, and its owner, Alan Tianci Yang of Malden, Mass., are named as defendants in suits recently filed in Rockingham County Superior Court by Debra Vars, the mother of Hunter Vars, and Brenda Keith, administrator of the estate of Malachi Davis.

Both suits stem from the deadly crash that followed a dinner on Feb. 29, 2016, at Jade Palace during which Vars, Davis, and a third friend, Jack Perreault, were allegedly served alcoholic beverages.

Vars and Davis were 21 and Perreault was 20 at the time.

According to the suits filed through Londonderry attorney Peter Solomon, the three young men were initially served alcohol and then each was later served three Zombie drinks within an hour and 15 minutes. The Zombie drinks contained four ounces of alcohol and were served to the men directly by Yang, the suits said.

After their night of drinking, the three left the restaurant at 8:26 p.m. in Perreault’s vehicle with Perreault behind the wheel, according to the suits.

Perreault lost control of the vehicle on Route 108 in Kensington at 10:05 p.m. and struck a tree.

The three men were all thrown from the vehicle and died of their injuries. The suits said Perreault’s blood alcohol level was .10 approximately an hour and 45 minutes after the accident.

Yang Inc. and Jade Palace were recently indicted by a Rockingham County grand jury on four felony counts of prohibited sales. Yang also faces four misdemeanor counts of prohibited sales.

Yang declined comment when reached at the restaurant Thursday.

The suits accuse the restaurant and Yang of serving alcohol to Perreault when they should have known that Perreault was “in an obvious state of intoxication which rendered him incapable of safely operating a motor vehicle…” and that the alcohol created an “unreasonable risk of physical harm” to Vars and Davis.

In addition to damages, the suits seek $1 million to attach the restaurant’s kitchen and cooking equipment, furnishings, fixtures, cutlery, and flatware.

The suit said Yang and the restaurant have no liquor liability insurance to satisfy any judgment.


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Patron’s Beating Adds To Legal Problems For Owners Of Parlare Night Club In Sacramento

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — An Elk Grove man says his life was almost taken by a security guard during a night of dancing.

It happened at the former Parlare Euro Lounge in Downtown Sacramento before that club shut its doors for good. Now, several patrons are suing.

“Life has never been the same ever since this happened.”

Leroy Iyere says his life almost ended last April, when he claims he was brutally beaten by a bouncer at downtown Sacramento’s Parlare Euro Lounge.

“Hit me so hard again, that I just gave up,” said Iyere.

It happened during his sister’s birthday celebration. Iyere says a security guard started harassing a man in the group about his hat and then put that man in a choke hold until he passed out. Cellphone video then shows him being dragged out of the club. That’s when the man’s girlfriend, Nakia Vaughn, claims she too was attacked by a guard, choked and dragged downstairs by her hair.

“It’s a long flight of stairs and I felt every step that I hit,” said Vaughn.

When Iyere defended the woman, he says the bouncers turned on him.

“They hit me so much that I passed out.”

Iyere suffered a shattered eye socket and a broken nose. He now has metal plates in his face and permanent damage.

“I cannot feel the right part of my lips anymore.”

Iyere, Vaughn and three others are now suing the owner of the club on multiple allegations, including assault and negligent hiring.

Attorney Daniel Del Rio said, “You’re not protecting the public at this point. You are the threat.”

It’s not the first time violence erupted at Parlare. In August, four months after the fight, the club’s liquor license was revoked following a shooting that injured two people.

Bryan Harrison is also representing the alleged victims.

“This establishment is essentially a public nuisance.”

CBS13 reached out to the owner of the nightclub for a response but did not hear back. The property owner is also being sued in the case, and attorneys say they plan to name the individual security guards as soon as they can identify who they are.


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Family names Unity Township bar in lawsuit over fatal crash

COOK TOWNSHIP, Pa. —Nearly two years after a crash that ultimately claimed a woman’s life, the family of Janet Zellers has filed a lawsuit in the case.

It was Nov. 4, 2015, when Janet Zellers was involved in a head-on crash with Joshua Hunka along State Route 711 in Cook Township. Hunka had reportedly been driving erratically at the time of the crash and in 2016 pleaded guilty to charges that include aggravated assault by vehicle while DUI.

Zellers died of the injuries she suffered in the crash on June 23, 2016.

Last week, Zellers’ family filed a lawsuit naming the Pleasant Corner Inn and its owner Paul Kobistek, Jr. as defendants.

In the lawsuit the family says, among other things, Hunka was visibly intoxicated while at the bar and nothing was done to keep him from getting behind the wheel.

Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 placed calls to the Pleasant Corner Inn for comment early Tuesday morning but there was no answer.


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Ruby Tuesday, local bar over-served cop driving in fatal crash, lawsuit claims

FLORENCE -- The parents of a woman who died last year when an off-duty, intoxicated police officer crashed his car are suing the former officer and bars where he drank that night.

Ariana Williams, 27, of Florence, was killed in a September 2016 crash when her friend, then-Burlington Township police officer Justin Rodriguez, veered off the roadway and struck a pole.

Rodriguez, 26, was driving nearly twice the speed limit at 86 mph with an open can of Coors Light at the time of the crash, authorities said. He was thrown from the vehicle and critically injured, while Williams was pronounced dead at the scene.

He had a blood alcohol level of .17 percent.

Rodriguez pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter in June, and is serving a four-year prison sentence.

The suit, brought by Ariana's parents Ronald and Chavella Williams, was filed in Burlington County Superior Court. It names Rodriguez, as well as Ruby Tuesday in Hamilton and the Brickwall Tavern in Burlington Township.

"Justin Rodriguez's guilty plea of vehicular homicide and driving under the influence in the recent criminal case against him was only the start of the Williams family's pursuit of justice in their beloved daughter's tragic death," Fritz Goldenberg & Bianculli lead partner Brian Fritz said in a statement.

Evidence presented in court revealed Rodriguez ordered three beers, a margarita and a mix drink made with tequila at Ruby Tuesday that evening before moving on to the Brickwall Tavern in Burlington just after 9 p.m. He drank several more beers and shot of Jose Cuervo over the course of several hours there, purchasing a drink as late as 1:40 a.m., just before he and Williams got back into his car.

"Ariana's family said from the outset of this nightmare that they intended to hold accountable every individual and every establishment involved in their young daughter's tragic death," Fitz's statement continued. "We will not cease until we have gotten justice for Ariana."

A request to comment sent to Ruby Tuesday corporate was not immedaitely returned. A call to the Brickwall Tavern Wednesday morning was not answered, and an email seeking comment was not immediately returned.


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Family sues Austin bar, accusing them of overserving driver who killed their son

ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — The father of a man killed by a drunk driver in 2015 has filed a lawsuit against the bar where the driver was a few hours before the deadly crash.

The lawsuit claims Homer’s Bar and Grill, located along Wells Branch Parkway in north Austin, overserved John McClintock, 33. The lawsuit claims Homer’s Bar was negligent by serving McClintock, who was already intoxicated.

According to the lawsuit, McClintock left the bar just before 2 a.m. on Nov. 11, 2015. McClintock drove northbound in the southbound lanes of Interstate 35 for 11 miles before crashing into motorcyclist Domonick Turner, 25, in Round Rock around 4 a.m. Turner died at the scene.

According to the affidavit, McClintock said he made a “wrong turn,” as he was driving home to San Marcos. McClintock told police that he drank five beers and three shots of whiskey between the hours of 10:30 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. Officers noted a strong smell of alcohol on his breath after the crash and in official documents said that McClintock’s clothes were covered in vomit.

Last month, a jury sentenced McClintock to 12 years in prison for intoxication manslaughter.

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission just submitted its investigation findings involving the McClintock case to its legal department, which is expected to make a decision within a few weeks.

“We’re determining first if the business had policies that would’ve prevented any service of alcohol to an intoxicated person, and if they did, did they follow those policies and did they sell alcohol in a way that did contribute to the loss of life,” explains Chris Porter, public information officer for TABC.Domonick Turner was killed in a wrong-way crash on IH-35. (Courtesy: Turner family)

The TABC opened an investigation into Homer’s Bar and Grill after seeing media reports on the crash in 2015. “We rely upon media reports, tips from law enforcement, we rely upon tips from citizens who are concerned about any possible public safety violations,” said Porter.

TABC must investigate every complaint. “We do open and undercover inspections where we can go in to identify if the alleged behavior is happening again,” said Porter. “We can also look at bank records. For example if someone is accused of buying alcohol when they’re intoxicated, we can look at their credit card records.”

Bars must renew their licenses every two years, and there are a lot of factors TABC considers before approving an application.

“If the establishment has had a number of public safety violations in the past, and there’s not a set number but we look at the significance and severity of those accidents,” explains Porter. “If there was a loss of life, if there was some sort of risk to public safety.”

Since getting its liquor license in 2006, Homers Bar and Grill has received three violations from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. In 2008, Homer’s had to go through mandatory education courses and pay a $2,400 fine for selling to a minor. In 2011, the bar received a written warning for failure to report something. In 2014, a $1,200 fine was issued and a suspension for selling to an intoxicated person.

Homers Bar and Grill is in the midst of trying to renew its liquor license. The bar’s license expired on Oct. 4, but the commission says it gives establishments a 30-day grace period to re-apply. Ultimately, the commission can protest a license renewal before a judge. The agency says at any given time, they’re protesting about five or six establishments across the state.

To file a complaint with TABC, you can download the TABC mobile app for Apple or OIS devices, or you can email the agency.

KXAN reached out to the attorney for the Turner family, but she declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Homer’s Bar and Grill sent KXAN this statement:

“We express our deepest sympathies to the Turner family for their loss,” said the owner of Homer’s Bar and Grill. “As to the lawsuit that was recently filed, we will let the legal process play out and have no further comment at this time.”


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Wife of man killed in Livermore accident sues nightclub, others

AUBURN — The wife of a man who was killed when a car driven by a Farmingdale woman rear-ended another on New Year’s Day in Livermore is suing that driver and the local nightclub where she had been drinking.

Sarah Clark, 30, of Farmingdale and Giovanni Delvecchio had been drinking alcohol for hours at the Sapphire Nightclub and Event Center on Center Street the night of Dec. 31, according to a civil complaint filed in August in Androscoggin County Superior Court.

The nightclub features drinking games such as “beer pong” and advertises “bottle service” and “shot girls,” all designed to “actively encourage its customers to purchase and consume additional amounts of liquor,” according to the lawsuit.

When they were at the nightclub, Clark and Delvecchio “were obviously intoxicated,” according to the suit filed by Kathleen Berry, personal representative of the estate of Shawn R. Berry, who was killed in the crash.

When they left the nightclub, Clark and Delvecchio climbed into his 2013 Ford. Shortly after, the car was traveling northbound on Route 4, or Federal Road, in Livermore, according to the suit.

Snow was falling, covering the roadway and reducing visibility and traction, the suit says.

At roughly 1:20 a.m. on Jan. 1, the driver of Delvecchio’s car ran into the rear of a 2006 Toyota that was parked to the right of the northbound lane, the suit says.

Berry had been a passenger in the Toyota, which was owned by Brady Romano, then-37, of Livermore Falls. When the crash occurred, Berry had been attempting to exit that car.

“As a result of the collision … (Berry) was thrown violently around inside the vehicle causing serious injuries including, but not limited to, fractures of his thoracic spine … multiple fractures to his bilateral ribs and a ruptured aortic arch.” He died from his injuries at the scene “following a period of conscious pain and suffering, during which he was aware of his imminent death,” according to the suit.

The nine-count suit claims negligence on the part of Clark, Delvecchio and Romano. It also claims negligent and reckless service of liquor to Clark and Delvecchio by the nightclub. A claim of conscious pain and suffering is lodged against all defendants.

An attorney for the nightclub responded to the suit last month, filing a motion seeking to dismiss the complaint claiming Kathleen Berry failed to follow requirements for giving written notice to all defendants.

The nightclub replied that it had insufficient information to form an opinion on most of the points cited in Berry’s complaint. The nightclub denied it served Clark “multiple alcoholic beverages, allowing her to become highly intoxicated and unfit to operate a motor vehicle safely.” It also denied the nightclub was negligent in serving Clark that night and that the fatal crash was “a direct and legal result of the intoxication of Clark caused by the negligent service of alcohol” by the nightclub.

Clark was arraigned in July in Androscoggin County Superior Court on related criminal charges of manslaughter, aggravated criminal operating under the influence and driving to endanger, to which she pleaded not guilty.

Convictions for the crimes are punishable by up to 30 years, 10 years and five years in prison, respectively. She is free on personal recognizance.

Romano had pulled over to the side of the road when Shawn Berry had become sick, police said. Clark and a passenger had performed CPR on Berry at the scene, police said.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Willoughby Brewing Co. sued for $3 million over man’s assault

A Willoughby Hills man has filed a $3 million lawsuit against the Willoughby Brewing Co. over injuries he suffered during a melee that occurred after closing time outside the restaurant/bar.

Matthew Drake’s complaint claims he was injured outside the Erie Street business the evening of July 23, 2016.

According to the suit, filed Sept. 25 in Lake County Common Pleas Court by attorney E. Tasso Paris:

• Drake was at the bar on a Saturday night while the live band Tricky Dick played to a capacity crowd.

“The Defendant … failed to provide any security at its main entrance, thereby permitting a large altercation to go uninterrupted, endangering any and all patrons who had to come into its vicinity,” Paris stated in the lawsuit. “… As a result of Defendant’s negligence, … Plaintiff was violently struck by an individual permitted to engage in unabated criminal conduct on Defendant’s property.”

• As a result of the bar’s negligence, Drake suffered bleeding between his skull and brain cover near the left transverse sinus.

• The injury caused Drake to permanently lose his ability to taste and smell, and forced him to incur medical costs and loss of income.

Brewing Co. Managing Partner Jeremy Van Horn said he feels bad for what happened to Drake, whom he has known for 10 years.

However, Van Horn said he feels betrayed by the lawsuit because he and other restaurant employees went out of their way to help the victim that night — even though no verbal or physical altercations occurred inside the premises.

“It happened around 2:30 in the morning after we were closed and our doors were locked and everybody was out,” Van Horn said. “Matt was standing in the parking lot of Olivor Twist’s and got shoved over. One of my managers saw what happened and scaled a fence on the front patio to get to him. My manager actually put himself in the middle of a six-person ordeal to help him out. Matt left our premises, and we still got involved. The guy who did that to him was never even in our establishment. I remember I wouldn’t let that group of people in that night because they were rude and I got a bad vibe. None of these altercations happened inside.

“I was actually part of a chase to help Matt. We chased the guy down that did that to him and made sure he got arrested for it, and then we restrained him until the police came. We also made sure Matt got into an ambulance, and we followed through the next day to see how he was doing. We also donated money to his GoFundMe account for his medical expenses. We even testified for Matt at the (criminal) court hearing to help him.”

Van Horn questioned why the man who assaulted Drake is not named in the civil suit.

Derik Horton, a 25-year-old former Elyria man, is serving four years in prison for the beating. A Lake County Common Pleas Court jury found Horton guilty in June of felonious assault and two misdemeanor assault counts.

Besides damages, Drake is also seeking a jury trial, court costs and attorney fees.

The civil case has been assigned to Judge Eugene A. Lucci.


Saturday, September 23, 2017

MPD officer sues bar, drunk driver who hit him

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - An MPD officer is suing a Memphis bar after saying it didn't do enough to protect him from an alleged drunk driver last December.

Officer Jacoba Boyd was injured when a man left the bar Electric Cowboy drunk and slammed into Boyd's car in the parking lot.

Police have identified the alleged drunk driver as 24-year-old Landon Harding.

Boyd had also been at the bar and was off-duty at the time.

Now, Boyd is filing a lawsuit for $150,000 suing Harding, Electric Cowboy, and its management company.

“We are asking to hold them [Electric Cowboy] responsible,” said Boyd's attorney Murray Wells.

The lawsuit claims the bar "negligently and/or recklessly served alcohol to Harding, who was visibly intoxicated."

It also says the bar "owed a duty to provide a reasonably safe and secure environment to patrons."

“We're a little outraged at how someone gets to the point that they're able to leave in such condition,” Wells said.

Wells claimed Boyd, who is also a Marine, suffered back and neck injuries and had to be cut from his car. He also said Boyd was off work for more than a month as he recovered.

“It was so grossly out of bounce and the driving was so incredible, we think they share responsibility to the serious injuries to my client,” Wells said.

WMC Action News 5 reached out to Electric Cowboy on Friday but were told the owner was not available.

However, WMC5 spoke by phone late Friday to a supervisor, who said all of their bartenders are fully trained and make sure customers leave safely.

Owners at the bar said they were not aware of this lawsuit.

Harding was charged with DUI and reckless driving but has not been tried. WMC5 also reached out to him Friday but did not get a response.


Friday, September 22, 2017

Intoxicated Elderly Woman Falls, Breaks Hip, Sues Red Lobster For Serving Her Too Much Alcohol

An elderly Houston woman has filed a lawsuit against a national restaurant chain claiming she was given too much alcohol, causing her to fall and break her hip.

Marlene Spencer, 82, visited a Red Lobster restaurant in March, the Houston Chronicle reports. She had walked over to the eatery from a nearby senior living community, where she lives. Spencer fell in the parking lot, breaking her right hip and right arm, and hitting her head on the ground, according to the lawsuit.

The suit filed in Harris County on Monday says the 113-pound woman had a 0.31 blood alcohol level when she walked out of the restaurant.

It was not the first time Spencer or other residents of the senior living center had been over-served at the restaurant, the suit says. Spencer’s daughter had multiple conversations with the Red Lobster management about over-serving her mother, according to the lawsuit.

“This was an ongoing problem that Ms. Spencer’s daughter tried to quell, but to no avail,” the suit says. “This has been a recurring problem with multiple Brookdale residents.”

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Family of Tallahassee man killed at El Patron files lawsuit

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - The family of a man who was shot and killed at El Patron two years ago has filed a lawsuit against the restaurant.

The suit against the restaurant and company that was in charge of security, Heavy Hitters, was filed on Sept. 19.

The family of Ira Brown, the man killed at El Patron, alleges that the security restaurant was negligent. The suit alleged that the night of December 8, 2015, the restaurant had been "significantly overcrowded," so much so that patrons could hardly move.

The document says that though the El Patron hired a private security bouncers for the night, there were no pat downs or metal detectors used to check for potential weapons.

Not long after midnight, a fight broke out in the club, leading to a shooting.

The suit says that while Brown was not a part of the fight, he was killed by a stray bullet.

The document asserts that "the premises was so crowded that the shooter was able to escape without being apprehended." The shooter, Isaiah Robinson, was later arrested and charged for Brown's murder.

The suit alleges that El Patron had a duty to maintain its grounds to protect attendees from danger.

It asserts that allowing the premises to become overcrowded, failing to take proper security precautions, and failing to have procedure for violent situations makes the restaurant and the security company negligent.

The lawsuit claims that Brown was shot and killed a direct result of their negligence, demanding judgement against El Patron and Heavy Hitters for wrongful death damages.

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Monday, September 4, 2017

Family Sues Hotel For Serving DUI Driver Alcohol

There are legal statutes known as Dram Shot laws that allow for a restaurant, bar, or other venue that serves alcohol to be sued if one of their patrons is afterwards involved in a DUI. Most, but not all, states have something similar to a Dram Shot law. In California, the family of a man killed by two drunken drivers is suing the hotel that served them the alcohol, as the West Hollywood Patch reports.

Eliezer Malahi, 58, of Hollywood, California, was struck by two vehicles in the late afternoon of August 15, 2015 after her got out of his vehicle in the 300 block of North Crescent Drive. Beverly Hills police officers called to the scene found Malahi unconscious and began to administer CPR. Unfortunately, Malahi was pronounced dead at the hospital a short time later.

48-year-old Sue Yong Sohn of Irvine and Tony Sun Jae Jung of Santa Clarita were implicated in the accident. Jung has since passed away and Sohn was arrested in October of 2015 at Los Angeles International Airport as she awaited her one-way flight to Seoul, South Korea. She had purchased the ticket the previous day. In 2015, Sohn was charged with murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, hit and run driving resulting in the serious injury or death of another person, driving on a suspended or revoked privilege because of a DUI conviction and driving with a privilege that was suspended or revoked due to a failed blood alcohol test.

On June 12, Sohn pleaded no contest to a charge of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.

The family of the deceased Malahi has filed a lawsuit implicating Sohn, the estate of Jung, and the hotel in which the two were drinking on the day of the incident.

According to the lawsuit, the Montage Beverly Hills Hotel served the equivalent of approximately three bottles of wine to Sohn and Jung. Most of the alcohol was consumed by Sohn. Sohn was later seen stumbling and slurring her speech. The valet refused to retrieve her car and offered her a taxi, which was declined. Jung was able to get the vehicle 30 minutes later and the pair drove off.

About 150 feet from the hotel, Jung got out of the driver’s seat and allowed Sohn to take control of the vehicle. Jung got into another vehicle and the pair drove off. About a half-mile away, Sohn struck Malahi and shortly afterward, so did Jung.

According to the lawsuit, the hotel staff failed in their obligation to ensure that neither Sohn nor Jung would be able to drive while intoxicated.

Have you been charged with DUI? You will want a skilled attorney to represent you. Our attorneys are all experienced in the defense of DUI charges. Call us today.


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Nightclub Ignored Woman's Complaints About Drunk Man Who Attacked Her: Suit

CHELSEA — A 10th Avenue nightclub failed to boot a drunk patron who had harassed a woman at the popular venue despite her warnings to security staff, leading the boozed-up club-goer to attack the victim after being fed more drinks, a new lawsuit charges.

Manhattan resident Sarah Pepe had just left Avenue, at 116 10th Ave. near West 17th Street, on March 16 when she was “physically attacked and beaten” by another patron, a lawsuit filed last week against nightclub operator Chelsea Hospitality Partners in Manhattan Supreme Court claims.

Earlier that night, the man who attacked Pepe had been “verbally harassing her” inside the venue, her attorney Daniel Niamehr told DNAinfo New York.

“My client just tried to really avoid the man, but as the night went on, he got more and more intoxicated and started to get worse — he started getting aggressive toward her,” Niamehr said.

Pepe told a security guard at the nightclub about the man several times — saying she was “scared for her safety" — and security checked in with the man but didn’t boot him from the club, the attorney added.

The suit claims Pepe’s attacker was “visibly intoxicated” inside the club, but that the venue kept serving him alcohol anyway.

Chelsea Hospitality Partners had a duty to protect its patrons and prevent “foreseeable risks of criminal attacks,” but “failed to take adequate or reasonable steps to prevent or stop the attack upon [Pepe],” despite being “on notice that [Pepe’s] attacker posed a specific threat to [her] safety,” the suit adds.

While Niamehr declined to go into detail about the injuries Pepe sustained, the suit says she suffered “severe personal injuries” and still has medical expenses to pay off.

Pepe is seeking unspecified damages, the suit adds.

The club — which claims to be the “go-to meeting place for bold-faced names and scenesters alike” — has hosted events for celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Derek Jeter, according to its website.

Late last year, NBA player Matt Barnes was accused of attacking a woman inside the club in an incident that he ultimately only plead guilty to disorderly conduct charges.

The venue didn’t immediately respond to request for comment on the suit.


Monday, August 21, 2017

Mom of slain M’ville student sues pub

The mother of Robby Schartner, a Manhattanville College student who was struck and killed last year after returning to campus from White Plains, has filed a lawsuit against the driver and the bar where she allegedly consumed alcohol for hours.

Donna Juliette Ann Hall, Schartner’s mother, is challenging that The Pub, a bar located on Elm Place, continued to serve the driver, Emma Fox, while she was “visibly intoxicated,” just before the incident.

On Oct. 9 last year, Schartner, of Fishkill, was walking along Westchester Avenue, returning from a night out in downtown White Plains, before Fox, 24, struck and killed the 21-year-old with her car, a 2012 Nissan Sentra.

Fox, who has been charged with an aggravated DWI and first-degree manslaughter for striking and killing the student, was traveling eastbound at around 5 a.m. when the incident occurred.

At the time of her arrest, police measured Fox with a blood alcohol level of 0.21; the legal limit in New York state is 0.08.

The lawsuit, filed on Aug. 11, states that the bar “carelessly and unlawfully” provided alcohol to Fox, who was “unable to walk properly, had slurred speech, had bloodshot eyes, and openly and obviously smelled from consumption of alcohol,” between approximately 12 a.m. and 4:30 a.m.

After Schartner’s death, the Manhattanville College administration decided to modify its shuttle bus service in response to criticism from the student body about the safety of its schedule, which made its final return to campus at 1:30 a.m.

The college reinstated Friday and Saturday late night hours for the Valiant Express, which had been nixed in 2015. Typically, the shuttle bus returns to campus as late as 3:30 a.m. under that current schedule.

Fox is due to reappear in White Plains City Court on Aug. 31, after a number of her previous court dates were adjourned. She was released from Westchester County Jail last November on a $100,000 bail.

Stephen Lewis, an attorney representing Fox, did not respond to a request for comment.

James Finneran, the owner of the bar, and Anthony Mamo, and attorney representing Hall, could not be reached for comment as of press time.


Friday, August 18, 2017

Attorney for family of late U of L cheerleader speaks out about lawsuit against Louisville bar

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- An accused drunk driver and the bar that served him alcohol are being sued.

This week, attorneys filed a lawsuit on behalf of the family of a former University of Louisville cheerleader. Shanae Moorman, age 25, was thrown from a car and died after a crash last year on the Gene Snyder Freeway. Police say 34-year old Bradley Caraway was driving drunk and left the scene.

Attorneys for Moorman's family have included Gerstle's Place on Frankfort Avenue in the lawsuit. They say both Moorman and the bar are responsible.

"We think that responsibilities aligns with both of them," said John DeCamillis, one of the family's attorneys.

The suit claims Caraway was nearly 3-times the legal limit several hours after the crash, and employees of the St. Matthews bar didn't do enough to stop him from getting behind the wheel.

"You're not making them count every person's drinks or asking who is driving, but you can not continually serve someone to the point that they are falling down drunk and just let them walk out and not know where they're going," said attorney Steve Romines.

Caraway entered a not guilty plea and has been released on bond.

Gerstle's Place denies liability in a claim filed in the civil case.


Thursday, August 17, 2017

Lawsuit targets St. Matthews bar in deadly DUI case, reignites liability debate

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Employees at a St. Matthews bar 'knew or should have known' a man they served alcohol to was already drunk before police said the man caused a deadly crash, a new lawsuit against the bar claims.

The lawsuit, filed in Jefferson County Circuit Court last month and obtained by the WHAS 11 News i-Team, names the suspected driver in the crash, Brad Caraway, and Gerstle's Place, a bar on Frankfort Avenue. It was filed on behalf of the estate of Shanae Moorman, a former University of Louisville cheerleader, who died in the August 6, 2016 crash.

The suit came nearly one year after the early morning crash near where the Gene Snyder Freeway meets Interstate 64.

According to records in Caraway's criminal case file, police said Caraway walked away from the scene after the vehicle flipped over, pinning Moorman. Officers found Caraway barefoot and shirtless, smelling of alcohol and appearing to be 'very intoxicated,' the records show.

"Mr. Brad Caraway's ethanol level was at least two times the legal limit at the time of the fatal collision," Louisville Metro Police Surgeon Dr. Bill Smock wrote in a report after reviewing forensic blood samples and medical records.

The lawsuit says Gerstle's employees were negligent and careless in serving alcohol to Caraway.

"A reasonable person under the same or similar circumstances should have known Bradley A. Caraway was already intoxicated at the time of serving," attorney Robert Mattingly wrote in the suit.

The criminal case records show investigators went to Gerstle's and another bar, which was not named in the lawsuit, days later to review and gather surveillance video from the night of the crash, however, those videos were not included in the files reviewed by the i-Team.

Those videos could provide context to several bar receipts from Gerstle's charged to both Caraway and Moorman's bank accounts. The videos could also support the defense by Gerstle's attorney Gregg Thornton.

"Its a very unfortunate situation, a very bad accident," Thornton said by phone from Lexington, "But it appears that they were only at [Gerstle's} for a short time and we're investigating whether or not they consumed alcohol at other locations that night other than Gerstles."

Answering the lawsuit with a crossclaim, Thornton denied any liability on the part of Gerstle's or its employees.

For many, the lawsuit sparked memories of the 2002 deaths of teenage sweethearts Cory Stauble and Jamie Parsley, who died when Mark Eberenez drove drunk and slammed into a car the teens were driving. All three died in the collision.

Eberenez had been drinking for several hours at a TGI Friday's and another bar before getting behind the wheel.

In June 2003, Friday's and its parent company settled the lawsuit for $21 million.

In an emailed statement, John DeCamillis said every 53 minutes, someone is killed by a drunk driver, adding, in Kentucky alone, drunk drivers kill over 200 people a year.

“As a society, we all possess a responsibility to do our part in keeping drunk drivers off the road. And, bars, as servers of alcohol, possess a heightened duty,” the statement said, “By holding bars responsible, our law firm is doing our part – with the hope of saving even one more life. “

One difference in the new civil case, the suspected driver survived. Brad Caraway's murder case is still pending in Jefferson County Circuit Court.

Also in the crossclaim, Thornton wrote if Gerstle's was found to be liable, the company wanted Caraway to pay for any damages Gerstle's was ordered to pay. The civil case is still in its early stages, Thornton said.

Layers for Caraway could not be reached for comment.

Amanda Hartley, one of the attorneys representing the Moorman estate, said the lawsuit speaks for itself and declined to comment further.


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

2 Methuen men sue popular bar near Fenway

SALEM, Mass. — Two Methuen men have filed a lawsuit against a popular Boston bar and restaurant near Fenway Park, alleging that the establishment's employees severely beat them in May of 2015.

Michael Pino and Stephen Merrick filed the suit against Oliver Twist, Inc., the parent company of Cask 'n Flagon, on Aug. 7. Also named as defendants are former Cask employees Luis Mercado and Sean McKenna, and two unidentified employees named only as John Doe 1 and John Doe 2.

The plaintiffs say that as a result of an altercation they had with Cask employees, they suffered injuries including a concussion, fractured facial bones and broken teeth. They are seeking damages, including interest, and submitted paperwork that shows their medical treatment cost more than $11,000 combined.

Efforts by The Eagle-Tribune to contact Mercado and McKenna were unsuccessful Monday. The management of Cask 'n Flagon did not return requests for comment. Lawyers for Pino and Merrick also declined comment.

According to the lawsuit, Pino and Merrick were walking by the bar about 11:15 p.m. on May 23, 2015, holding beers they say they purchased elsewhere.They say that as they walked by the bar, McKenna, who was standing by the doorway, told them they could not leave with a drink. Pino and Merrick said they hadn't taken the drinks from Cask 'n Flagon, and continued walking.

The plaintiffs allege that Mercado, who also was working the door, and McKenna followed and confronted them, and that John Doe 1 approached soon after and "threw (Merrick) into the railing."

Pino and Merrick left and later passed Cask 'n Flagon a second time at about 11:45 p.m., according to court documents. McKenna "said some words" from inside the bar, to which Merrick responded "with a gesture." A second altercation ensued, according to court documents.

Pino and Merrick allege that they both briefly lost consciousness at the hands of Mercado, McKenna, and the John Does. They say they were severely injured when they walked to Kenmore Square, where they called police.

The lawsuit alleges that following the fight, McKenna and Mercado both were charged with assault and battery, to which McKenna pleaded guilty. According to the Suffolk County District Attorney's office, Mercado never appeared for his arraignment in August of 2015 and a warrant was issued for his arrest, but it does not appear he was ever arrested on that warrant.

Both men were fired from Cask 'n Flagon after the alleged assault, according to the lawsuit.

The city's Licensing Board suspended Cask 'n Flagon's liquor license for three days, with two days to be served and one suspended for six months, the lawsuit says.

Pino and Merrick are seeking damages, plus interest and costs, for the infliction of emotional distress, negligent hiring, supervision and training practices, negligence, assault and battery and negligent infliction of emotional distress.


Friday, August 11, 2017

Family sues N.J. bar where man died after trying to break up altercation

The son of a man who died after an altercation outside a Jersey City bar has filed a lawsuit alleging the bar continued to serve the victim and his alleged attacker after they were already intoxicated.

The lawsuit filed by the son and sister of Benie Kaulesar, 57, of Jersey City, names defendants associated with the Palm Court Restaurant and Bar where Kaulesar and the man charged with killing him, Cornelius J. Ramadhar, 39, had been on Aug. 16, 2015.

Ramadhar was originally charged with aggravated assault, but after Kaulesar died at the Jersey City Medical Center six days later, the charge was upgraded to manslaughter.

Both Ramadhar and Kaulesar "were already intoxicated and/or became intoxicated" at the bar, "but defendants continued to prepare, serve and/or sell alcohol" to them, the lawsuit says.

Individuals associated with the establishment "willfully, wantonly, recklessly and maliciously breached their duty not to expose others to a reasonably foreseeable risk," by doing so, the lawsuit says.

And doing so was a direct cause and substantial factor "in the fatal assault, beating, harassment, punching and subsequent death" of Kaulesar, the suit says.
The 12-count, wrongful death lawsuit also alleges the bar failed to provide proper security and training required to keep patrons and the public safe.

Named as defendants in the suit are Palm Court Restaurant and Bar, Simbhu Persaud, Subramanie Permaul, Rookminie Permaul, Jaswantia Ganesh, Andy Ganesh, Seeta Ganesh and S.P. Investment LLC.

The various defendants are listed as either owning, leasing, renting, operating, supervising, controlling, managing or maintaining the establishment.

Finally, Ramadhar is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit. It says he "maliciously struck, beat, harassed, assaulted, punched and killed" Kaulesar.

Kaulesar, who was president of the Jersey City Cricket Club, was struck while trying to break up the argument sometime between 1 and 2 a.m. outside the West Side Avenue bar, police said at the time.

Kaulesar's brother, Daydatt Kaulessar, told The Jersey Journal that on the day of the incident, his brother was at a fundraiser for his cricket team at a home on Union Street.

After leaving around midnight, he stopped at the Palm Court. Kaulesar said his brother and the restaurant owner were neighbors.

The suit filed by Englewood attorney Robert B. Linder seeks damages and punitive damages. The plaintiffs are Kaulesar's sister, Chanmonie Kaulesar, and his son, Benie P. Kaulesar.

Ramadhar's trial is scheduled to begin on Sept. 26 before Hudson County Superior Court Judge Mark Nelson in the Hudson County Administration Building in Jersey City.


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Lawsuit seeks $350,000 from Summit Saloon

A $350,000 lawsuit filed against The Summit Saloon and Stage claims that bar security staff stood by while a patron was assaulted and prevented other patrons from intervening to break up the attack.

Bar ownership disputes the claims laid out in the lawsuit and contends video evidence will show security intervened and broke up the fight.

Jamal Hernandez, of Redmond, claims in the lawsuit that he was invited to the bar by Summit on July 8 for business purposes.

During that night, Hernandez and an allegedly drunk patron bumped into each other while passing on a staircase, the complaint states.

The lawsuit claims a verbal altercation broke out in front of Summit security staff before Hernandez walked to the other side of the bar, where he joined his wife and friends, who were near other security staff.

Shortly after, the patron walked up to Hernandez and punched him in the face, knocking him out for an estimated five to 10 seconds, the lawsuit claims. As Hernandez tried to get up, the man punched him repeatedly in the back of the head.

The lawsuit claims security staff watched the attack but did nothing to stop it. Further, it claims that security staff prevented bystanders from jumping in to pull the patron away from Hernandez. The suit also claims bar staff refused to call police to report the assault, and that the patron walked away after the attack and was not restrained by bar staff.

The lawsuit claims Hernandez sustained bruises to his face, head and back, a fractured nose, brain injury, sprains to his neck and back as well as subsequent anxiety and insomnia.

Hernandez is seeking $250,000 for pain and suffering and $100,000 for medical bills. Hernandez does not have a criminal history in Oregon or a history of filing lawsuits, according to court records.

The lawsuit does not name the patron but claims Summit bartenders continued to serve him despite the fact that he was visibly drunk.

Hernandez’s attorney, Mario Riquelme of Bend-based Elliott, Riquelme & Wilson, LLP, said the alleged assailant has not been identified.

Matthew Gordon, president of Oregon Street Pub Inc., which owns Summit, was served with the lawsuit Thursday night, according to court records. Gordon called the event unfortunate, but said video evidence and statements from his staff do not corroborate Hernandez’s claims.

According to Bend Police Department spokesman Lt. Clint Burleigh, officers did respond to Summit in the early hours of July 9 for a report of two assaults. No arrests were made and no report was written. Riquelme said the assailant has not been identified.

Riquelme said he is working to track down witnesses and get video surveillance footage to make sure it backs up Hernandez’s version of the night.

“We are still investigating all the facts of the case,” he said. “We obviously want to get to the truth of the matter and make sure that justice is served and the right thing is done.”

Gordon said he has been in contact with his attorney, but that there is no evidence Summit served the attacker. He also said Hernandez verbally provoked the attacker and fought back. Security, he said, stepped in immediately.

“According to all the information that I have collected on my end, we seem to be totally in the right,” he said.


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Parents sue bar, Drexel frats over son's brain injury; say no one called 911

A Narberth couple are blaming members of two Drexel University fraternities and the bar that served some of their members for their son’s severe brain injury, sustained after he was punched during an altercation and no one called 911 to get him help for 10 hours.

Roderick J. McGibbon and his wife, Elizabeth, say their son, Ian, 23, who has had four head surgeries, cannot remember things, does not have use of his left arm, walks with a brace, and tires easily. His parents obtained a court order declaring him incapacitated and appointing Roderick McGibbon as his guardian.

“I can’t help but feel if 911 had been called, we wouldn’t be sitting here right now,” Roderick McGibbon said during a news conference at his lawyer’s Center City office, where they announced they had filed suit Thursday in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court.

Two large photos of their son, who was not at the news conference, were in the background, one with him smiling, wearing a striped shirt and holding his dog, and the other with him unconscious in a hospital bed connected to tubes. MARGO REED
Ian McGibbon in a hospital bed after the injury. (MARGO REED / Staff Photographer )

Drexel police investigated and charged no one in the altercation, and the university is not named in the lawsuit, though the two fraternities to which the members belong are.

Robert J. Mongeluzzi, the McGibbons’ attorney, said lack of police charges doesn’t excuse the behavior, and “that is what juries are for.”

“How many more college students are going to be left abandoned on a couch while their brain swells and their brothers, fraternity, don’t call 911?” Mongeluzzi asked in apparent reference to the death of Tim Piazza, a Pennsylvania State University student who fell down the stairs at an alcohol-fueled fraternity party Feb. 2, was left on a couch, and later died. Fraternity members in that case did not call 911 for nearly 12 hours; 18 have been charged in connection with his death.

“When will it end?” Mongeluzzi asked.

The Drexel incident occurred early on Sept. 12, 2015, between 32nd and 33rd Streets on Powelton Avenue when McGibbon and two fellow members of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity were on their way home from a bar. They got into an altercation with members of another fraternity, Delta Sigma Phi. Mongeluzzi acknowledged that versions of what spurred and happened during the altercation differ.

At some point during the fight, McGibbon was punched, fell, and struck his head on the cement, rendering him unconscious, Mongeluzzi said. Fraternity members helped him back to the house – lawyers showed video of McGibbon being held up by two men as he walked down the street. He was placed on a couch, the lawyer said. The fraternity’s “risk manager” monitored him for several hours until 6 a.m., then went to sleep, the attorney said. McGibbon, he said, had a bright red bruise on his head and was not making sense when he talked.

Elizabeth McGibbon tears up at a news conference where she speaks of her son’s brain injury after fraternity members failed to call 911.

But it wasn’t until noon the next day that McGibbon’s parents, who were concerned that they hadn’t heard from their son, went to the fraternity house, found him “unconscious, nonresponsive, and covered in blood and vomit,” and called for emergency help, Mongeluzzi said. McGibbon, who lives with his parents, suffered “catastrophic and permanently disabling injuries,” the suit alleges, including “spasticity” of his left arm, “seizure disorder, persistent disabling headaches, severe concentration difficulties, anxiety, depression, and other psychological and emotional injures.”

The McGibbons and their attorney have filed suit against the two Pi Kappa Phi members who helped him back to the house, Nicholas Paoletti of Glassboro, N.J., and Anthony Ferro of Philadelphia, and the fraternity’s student risk manager, Zachary Young of Philadelphia. They also are suing Franco Ferraina of Nazareth, who they allege threw the punch that knocked out McGibbon, and another member of Delta Sigma Phi, Matthew Lamorgese, who they say was involved in the altercation.

The two fraternities are named, and so is Cavanaugh’s River Deck, where lawyers say McGibbon and his fellow fraternity members had been drinking.

Mongeluzzi also released records of Drexel’s investigation, including interviews with the fraternity members. According to the documents, Young believed that McGibbon might have had a concussion and thus he stayed up and tried to keep him awake.

Ian McGibbon before the injury in a picture at the upper right.

Before the injury, the McGibbons said, their son, a junior business major at Drexel, was full of life, about to start a co-op internship with an apparel company.

Now, he needs his parents’ help to get in and out of the shower, Roderick McGibbon said.

“He’s afraid to go back to school,” his mother said. “He’s afraid to drive because he knows how limited he is. He’s lonely. Nobody comes around because he’s not the same.”

Officials for the national office of Pi Kappa Phi and Cavanaugh’s River Deck declined comment. Ferro hung up when asked about the lawsuit. Others named as defendants could not be reached.

Drexel, while expressing sympathy for the family, said, “The Drexel Police conducted an investigation, notified the office of the district attorney, and it was determined that no charges would be filed.”


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Bars sued in connection to ex-prosecutor’s crash

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The man who was injured when a former Kent County assistant prosecutor hit his car is now suing three bars, claiming Joshua Kuiper was over-served when he visited them before the crash.

The suit names The Waldron Public House, which is the former McFadden’s; Luna, a Latin restaurant next door; and J. Gardella’s, which is down the street, as defendants.

The suit was filed by Johnson Law on behalf of Daniel Empson. He was injured Nov. 19, 2016 when Kuiper drove the wrong way down Union Avenue SE in Grand Rapids and struck Empson’s parked car head-on. Empson said he suffered a fractured shoulder.A photo from the scene of a crash involving a Kent County assistant prosecutor, provided by the victim. (Nov. 19, 2016)

“Is it fair to say Mr. Kuiper is responsible? Of course it is,” attorney Brian Molde with Johnson Law said. “Is it fair to say that others are responsible as well? I think that’s true, too.”

Molde says his firm has collected depositions from roughly half a dozen people who witnessed Kuiper’s actions the night of the crash, starting at The Waldron House, where he was attending a retirement party for the former prosecutor.

“They told us that first of all, Mr. Kuiper was there, that he was drinking alcohol while he was there. And then they described him in various terms about his behavior — what they saw of him, conversations they had with him — all which led us to believe it was reasonable to say that these establishments, the bars that we sued, knew or should have known that he was intoxicated when they were serving him,” Molde said.

According to Molde, witnesses said Kuiper left The Waldron House with a group of people and went next door to Luna to grab dinner — and more drinks — then to Gardella’s, where he continued to drink.

“That’s the last place that we’ve been able to establish where he was that evening” before the crash, Molde said.FILE — Kent County Assistant Prosecutor Josh Kuiper talks to 24 Hour News 9 on March 25, 2015.

“Michigan law puts liability and responsibility for establishments that are given a license to serve alcohol,” Molde continued. “Had he been restricted from being served alcohol at one of these establishments, the crash wouldn’t have occurred.”

Empson’s lawsuit is asking for more than $25,000 from each bar. 24 Hour News 8 reached out to all three establishments Tuesday seeking comment, but did not hear back.

Empson has already sued Kuiper for the crash.

Kuiper has resigned from the prosecutor’s office. He faces criminal charges for the crash, but not for drunken driving because responding police officers never tested his blood alcohol content level. Two officers were disciplined and a third lost his job over the way the crash was handled.


Friday, July 7, 2017

Bars that served drunk driver who killed Saskatoon family of four face lawsuit

REGINA — Catherine McKay’s blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit when she drove into a car carrying the Van de Vorst family in January 2016, killing a couple and their two young children.

Now, Saskatchewan’s Crown-owned insurance company is suing two Saskatoon bars that served McKay alcohol.

“She was three times over the limit and no one prevented her from driving. Someone has to be responsible, and as a result of no one doing that, there was a family of four that was killed,” Earl Cameron, executive vice-president of Saskatchewan Government Insurance, said Thursday.

“There’s a legal obligation to make sure your patrons are safe and they don’t harm themselves or someone else.”

McKay was driving an SUV that struck the Van de Vorst family’s car as it crossed a highway just north of Saskatoon on Jan. 3, 2016.

Jordan Van de Vorst, who was 34, and his 33-year-old wife, Chanda Van de Vorst, died at the scene. Their five-year-old daughter, Kamryn, and her two-year-old brother, Miguire, died in hospital.

McKay was sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to four counts of impaired driving causing death.The Van De Vorst family was killed in the crash. Postmedia file

Saskatchewan Government Insurance, known as SGI, has filed a statement of claim against the bars, Industrial Kitchen & Bar and Crackers Licensed Cocktail & Dining Room.

The claim alleges that each tavern overserved McKay and knew or ought to have known she was impaired. The lawsuit alleges the taverns allowed McKay to drive away without taking action.

It also states that the Industrial Kitchen and Lounge Corporation was aware that McKay frequently consumed alcohol at the business to the point of becoming impaired.

“I’m not going to say what the bars should have done. I’m going to say the bars, in this case, could have prevented this had someone intervened,” said Cameron.

“Three times over the legal limit, I think you can tell. Let’s not sugar-coat this. Three times.”

Cameron said bars have training and rules to follow when it comes to serving alcohol and “this is a case where this person left the bar clearly intoxicated.”

The phone number for Industrial Kitchen & Bar was no longer in service and a link to the restaurant’s website redirected to a different restaurant.Catherine McKay Handout

Sean Cunningham, the owner of Crackers restaurant, said Thursday that he and partners bought the business in August 2016 — months after McKay was served and the fatal crash occurred.

Cunningham said he’s contacted SGI about the lawsuit.

“I believe it should be under the previous owner. At this time right now, I’m not sure if it is,” he said.

Cameron said SGI also plans to file a suit against McKay.

This is the first time SGI has filed such a claim, but similar suits have been filed in other parts of the country.

Earlier this year, a British Columbia court found that a man convicted of drunk driving and the pub that served him were jointly responsible for a crash that left pedestrian with brain damage.

The SGI suit seeks $95,000.
‘Horrific and preventable:’ Drunk driver gets 10 years for crash that killed mom, dad, two small children

When asked what he hoped the suit would accomplish, Cameron choked back tears and said: “Ultimately, no more accidents like this one.”

Lou Van de Vorst, Jordan’s father, said he hopes this lawsuit sends a message that bars need to be more accountable for their actions.

“It’s just a very good thing,” Van de Vorst told radio station CKRM.

“I think it will make liquor or establishments that serve alcohol take a second look at what they’re doing, if they’re overserving or if they’re serving people who are obviously impaired.”

Saskatchewan has some of the highest rates of impaired driving in Canada. Statistics Canada says there were 683 police-reported impaired driving incidents per 100,000 population in Saskatchewan in 2011. The Canadian average was 262.

SGI says alcohol is a factor in nearly half of all fatal traffic collisions in the province.