Tuesday, May 30, 2017

$1 million for one punch that killed Rock Hill man? No. Family asks for $5 million (Rock Hill, SC)

Vietnam’s bullets and bayonets could not kill Odell Fields. But one punch killed him more than four decades later.

That punch caught on surveillance video in 2014 should cost $5,159,333, lawyers for Fields’ family say.

And 10 cents.

Fields, 65, a Vietnam War veteran wounded twice in combat, died May 11, 2014, after one punch thrown the night before by Eric Paul Cobb outside the Sand Bar in Rock Hill. Cobb, 33, is serving 15 years in prison for voluntary manslaughter because of the attack. Yet Cobb celebrated with his arms held high that night because he decked a man 35 years older than him with one punch.

The punch video obtained exclusively by The Herald shows Cobb knock down one last beer before throwing the killer haymaker, too.

Fields’ family lawyers have filed court documents in a wrongful death lawsuit asking for about $20,000 in lost benefits, and around $100,000 in medical costs. But the family wants $2 million for pain and suffering, and $3 million in punitive damages.

“It is ironic that after surviving two wounds in Vietnam, Odell Fields died from a sucker punch in his hometown of Rock Hill,” wrote Fields’ lawyer David Manzi, in asking a judge for $2 million for pain and suffering. “Cobb’s actions and lack of remorse should outrage everyone in the community.”

As for punitive damages Manzi wrote that the punishment that will be decided by York County Master-in-Equity Judge Jack Kimball in coming days will be a “strong message” to other establishments serving alcohol.

“A strong message will be sent and it may save another Odell Fields,” Manzi wrote.

Fields’ family filed the wrongful death lawsuit against the bar, Cobb, and bartender Jose Cintron. The lawsuit says the bar served Cobb when Cobb was drunk.

All three defendants failed to respond to the lawsuit so are in default, Judge John C. Hayes III ruled earlier this year. Judge Kimball said in a May 10 default judgment hearing covered exclusively by The Herald that all that is left is for him to decide the default judgment dollar amount.

The pending lawsuit is unchallenged because of the default. No motions about what the judgment amount should be have been filed by the bar, Cobb in prison, or the bartender, court documents show.

All that is left is for the judge to decide whether or not the killer punch should cost $5 million dollars.

via http://www.heraldonline.com/news/local/crime/article153234789.html

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Austin Bar 'Chuggin' Monkey' Sued After Patron's Violent Expulsion Led To Brain Surgery

AUSTIN, TX — The popular downtown bar "The Chuggin' Monkey" along the East 6th Street entertainment corridor is being sued after a bouncer expelled an intoxicated patron so violently that he required emergency brain surgery to treat his injuries, according to a published report.

According to the Austin American-Statesman, Chuck Brown was injured on the same day he testified before the Texas Legislature on water quality on behalf of the Upper Colorado River Authority at which he's employed. The Statesman lists his title as executive director at the agency, but his LinkedIn page lists him as director of operations.

Hitting his head on the pavement after being violently removed from the bar he visited the evening after his testimony on March 29, Brown underwent surgery involving the removal of part of his skull to alleviate pressure on the brain and he was placed in a medically induced coma, according to the news report.

Brown's lawsuit was filed in Travis County state district court on Monday. It alleges that bouncer Jerius Jamal McFarland violently attacked Brown after kicking him out out of the bar after it was deemed he was too intoxicated, the lawsuit contends. The impact from McFarland's blow (it's unclear if it was a shove or a punch) caused Brown to hit his head of the pavement, rendering him unconscious, according to the report.

Brown is still on medical leave, an official at the Upper Colorado River Authority told the newspaper.

The Statesman reports McFarland, 23, was charged with aggravated assault, which is a second-degree felony, although his case has yet to reach a grand jury. He was arrested April 14, according to the report.

via https://patch.com/texas/downtownaustin/popular-chuggin-monkey-downtown-austin-bar-sued-after-evicted-patron

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Cottage Hills bar sued over crash allegedly caused by intoxicated patron

A Cottage Hills bar and its operators are being sued over a crash allegedly caused by an intoxicated patron.

Ryan and Amanda Brewer filed suit May 18 in Madison County Circuit Court against Doc Holliday's Saloon and operators Brett Dixon and Steven Vollmer claiming they sold the alcohol that allegedly intoxicated patron Alexus Pate.

According to the complaint, Pate's vehicle struck Ryan Brewer's on Route 111 in Cottage Hills on June 28, 2016, causing severe and permanent injuires.

Amanda Brewer claims that the incident has deprived her of the companionship and society of her husband, as well as the support he provided.

The Brewers are represented by Patrick Johnston of Johnston Law Office in Edwardsville.

In their six-count suit they seek in excess of $50,000 in damages.

via http://madisonrecord.com/stories/511119019-cottage-hills-bar-sued-over-crash-allegedly-caused-by-intoxicated-patron

Monday, May 22, 2017

Dolton Club, Site of Nightclub Shooting, Sued

DOLTON, IL — One of the victims of the Dolton nightclub shooting two weekends back has sued the owners of the club, claiming negligence. Samuel Kirk, of Chicago, said in the Cook County Circuit Court lawsuit filed May 17 that he suffered permanent injuries and disfigurement as a result of the shooting that took place on the morning of May 14, the Daily Southtown reported. The shooting wounded him and four others.
Kirk claims in the suit that the owners of Club One, on Chicago Road in Dolton, failed to prevent armed guests from entering the club. In addition to permanent injuries, Kirk claims he has suffered a disfigurement as a result of the shooting that took place just after 3 a.m. on the club’s second floor.

Previous reports indicates four of the victims were shot inside the club and a fifth outside. No charges have been announced by Dolton police, although police have indicated there would be.

via https://patch.com/illinois/chicagoheights/dolton-club-site-nightclub-shooting-sued

Friday, May 19, 2017

Bar and diner served driver 'excessive amount' of booze before bad crash

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- A Grant City diner and a Mariners Harbor saloon each served the driver of the car in which her son was riding an "excessive amount" of alcohol prior to the vehicle's colliding head-on with another drunk driver two years ago in Dongan Hills, a St. George woman alleges in a lawsuit.

Lynn Cuffee contends her son, William Cuffee, suffered severe injuries, including brain damage, in the early morning crash on Feb. 8, 2015.

William Cuffee, 29, was a passenger in a 2005 Toyota Corolla driven by Amanda Taylor, 31, of Sunnyside, according to court papers and police.

The civil complaint alleges Taylor had been drinking in the Colonnade Diner on Hylan Boulevard and in Bootleg Mannings Craft Beer & Whiskey Bar on Forest Avenue before the wreck.

Police said Taylor was driving on Richmond Road when Andrew DiSanto, 43, of Dongan Hills, crossed the double-yellow line on Richmond near Hunton Street and hit Taylor's car at about 4:35 a.m.

DiSanto was behind the wheel of a 2000 Jeep Cherokee, and he and Taylor were travelling in opposite directions, said police.

According to Advance reports, sources said Taylor and DiSanto each registered a blood alcohol content of .09 percent, just slightly above the .08 percent legal threshold of driving while intoxicated.

Taylor was charged with driving while intoxicated and refusing a blood test, according to authorities.

DiSanto was indicted on charges of assault, vehicular assault, DWI, driving while impaired by drugs and reckless driving, online state court records show.

In September 2015, Taylor pleaded guilty in Criminal Court to a lesser charge of driving while impaired.

She was sentenced to a conditional discharge, a 90-day license suspension and fined $300.

She also was ordered to participate in an anti-drunken driving program and a victim-impact panel. The panel puts individuals face-to-face with victims of drunken drivers and their families, who relate their stories of loss and pain.

In March, DiSanto pleaded guilty in state Supreme Court, St. George, to second-degree assault, the top count in the indictment. The plea satisfies all charges against him.

The assault charge accused the defendant of recklessly causing serious physical injury to another person by means of a dangerous instrument or deadly weapon; namely, his vehicle.

DiSanto will be sentenced June 1 to 30 months in prison and 18 months' post-release supervision, said prosecutors.

Filed in state Supreme Court, St. George, the civil complaint alleges Taylor was served "an excessive amount of alcoholic beverages" at the Colonnade Diner and Bootleg Mannings on Feb. 7 into the morning of Feb. 8, causing her to become intoxicated.

In addition, the complaint alleges the two establishments were negligent in "permitting and/or allowing intoxicating beverages to be sold or made available to intoxicated patrons."

Besides the eatery and bar, the suit names Taylor and DiSanto as defendants.

Sal R. DiSanto, identified in suit papers as the owner of the Jeep Andrew DiSanto was driving, is also a named defendant.

Lynn Cuffee filed the suit on behalf of her son, who a court has deemed an incapacitated person due to his injuries, said suit papers.

She seeks unspecified monetary damages.

The Cuffees' lawyer, Frank V. Floriani, of the Manhattan firm Sullivan Papain Block McGrath & Cannavo, declined comment on the suit, as did an owner of Bootleg Mannings.

The manager of the Colonnade Diner said he was unaware of the lawsuit or the incident and had no comment.

Andrew DiSanto's criminal defense lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment and attempts to obtain a telephone listing for Taylor were unsuccessful.

A woman who answered the phone at Sal DiSanto's number declined comment when a reporter explained the reason for his call.

via http://www.silive.com/eastshore/index.ssf/2017/05/lawsuit_bar_and_diner_served_e.html

Monday, May 8, 2017

Man Sues Bars That Served Him Drinks Before Motorcycle Crash

According to the lawsuit, servers at the bars "should have" recognized that the man was intoxicated and could cause harm to himself or others.

A New Jersey man is suing two establishments for serving him alcohol in the hours before he crashed his motorcycle, injuring himself. Antonio Salomon-Merlino, 28, has reportedly undergone several major surgeries to repair the damage done to his leg as a result of the accident, and has been unable to work or ride a motorcycle since the incident.

According to NJ.com, Salomon-Merlino was drinking tequila and pisco sours at Oh! Calamares in Kearny, after which he rode his motorcycle to Hector's Sports Bar in Clifton. When he left Hector’s, he was headed to see a friend around 3:15 in the morning when he crashed his bike. "He was definitely intoxicated at the time of the accident," said Natalie A. Zammitti Shaw, Salomon-Merlino’s attorney.

Salomon-Merlino was charged with drunken driving, but the charge was dismissed because his blood-alcohol level was below the legal 0.08% limit. Zammitti Shaw claims that is because five hours passed between the time of the accident and when Salomon-Merlino was given a blood or breath test.

In 2011, New Jersey’s Supreme Court ruled that defendants had the right to sue establishments that served them alcoholic beverages prior to a motor vehicle crash. In 2006, Frederick Voss crashed his motorcycle and was found to have a blood-alcohol level of .196%—nearly two and a half times the legal limit. He pled guilty to drunk driving, but sued the restaurant Tiffany's, claiming negligence in their continuing to serve him alcohol.

But Tiffany's countered that the suit wasn’t valid due to a state law which says that people convicted of DWI cannot sue. However, the court ruled that the law applies to insurance claims, not people who serve drinks.

The laws that allow drunk drivers who cause accidents to sue establishments that serve them booze exist in every state, and they are called “dram shop laws.” In the case of Salomon-Merlino, his is a “first-party” dram shop case, which means that the person who was injured in the accident is the person who was served the alcoholic drinks. Not all states have first-party dram shop laws, but New Jersey does.

In Florida, a dram shop suit was recently filed after 26-year-old Max Holloway lost his life after crashing his car. Attorney Brian Baggot told the Tampa Bay Times that cases like these are "a significant uphill battle."

In Massachusetts, Katrina McCarty has sued the establishment that served the drunk driver that hit her and left her severely injured; McCarty was hit while standing outside her own crashed vehicle, which she had been driving with a blood-alcohol level twice the legal limit, and had been drinking at the same restaurant as the driver who hit her.

Salomon-Merlino’s suit states that servers at both Oh! Calamares and Hector's Sports Bar "knew or should have known that (Salomon-Merlino) was visibly intoxicated" and that "he could or would cause bodily injury to himself or others.”

via https://www.thefix.com/man-sues-bars-served-him-drinks-motorcycle-crash

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Customer blames Houston nightclub operators for beating

HOUSTON — A California man is suing a land owner and Houston nightclub operators, alleging negligent hiring and supervision led to the plaintiff being beat up by a bouncer.

Kyle Krause of San Diego County filed a complaint Feb. 21 in Harris County District Court against 2602 Richmond LP, Vervet Management LLC and Club San Jacinto LLC, alleging they breached their duty to hire, train and/or retain competent employees.

According to the complaint, on April 11, 2015, Krause attended the defendants' nightclub Limelight. While attempting to exit, the suit says, the Limelight bouncer attacked and beat Krause up.

The lawsuit states Krause sustained serious bodily injuries that resulted in physical and mental pain, medical expenses and lost wages. The plaintiff alleges the defendants failed to provide adequate security and protection to their patrons.

Krause seeks trial by jury, monetary relief between $100,000 and $$200,000 and all other general and special relief. He is represented by attorney Andrea Roth of Roth & Associates in Houston.

via http://setexasrecord.com/stories/511091962-customer-blames-houston-nightclub-operators-for-beating