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.