Wednesday, September 19, 2018

North sued for serving drinks, leading to deadly crash

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - A year after a University of Arizona student died in a drunk driving crash, the families of those involved are suing a popular local restaurant.

The lawsuit, provided to Tucson News Now, claims North Italia Restaurant broke the law when it comes to serving drinks.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the estate of Mihir Dixit, who was killed, and Isabella Patterson, a woman who was injured in the crash on Oracle Road in September 2017.

According to documents, Dixit, Patterson and a third person, Antony Hall, a defendant named in the case, went to North Italia Restaurant in La Encantada around 10:30 p.m. on September 16, 2017, in celebration of Dixit's birthday.

Cell phone videos provided by attorneys to Tucson News Now show North employees pouring drinks for Dixit, who was of age at the time, while other glasses appear to have alcohol in them on the table.

A receipt for the total of $650.39 from the evening showed charges for two bottles of champagne and two bottles of white wine.

Receipt from lawsuit (Source: Tucson News Now)

The lawsuit alleges the North Italia employees never recorded identification for Patterson or Hall, who were 18 and 19-years-old at the time. It also claims the restaurant violated state law by delivering more than one liter of wine, to one person at one time.

It also states employees continued to serve those "obviously intoxicated" individuals and should have called for a sober driver, knowing their state.

After 90 minutes at the restaurant, documents state the group left around 11:30 p.m. in Hall's father's car, with Hall behind the wheel.

Accident reports state Hall lost control of the car and crashed into a pole on Oracle Road at Auto Mall Drive minutes later.

Vehicle involved in crash, via North lawsuit. (Source: Tucson News Now)

Mihir was pronounced dead on the scene while Isabella suffered severe injuries to her foot.

According to the lawsuit, all three people were legally drunk at the time of the accident. A toxicology report for Dixit, provided by the attorney from Axis Forensic Toxicology, indicated Dixit's alcohol concentration was .589. The blood was taken from Dixit's heart on September 19, 2017.

Tucson News Now reached out to Fox Restaurant Concepts, LLC, the restaurant group that owns North Italia. We were told they do not comment on pending litigation.

The suit names Anthony Hall, the 18-year-old driver, as a defendant. Hall was arrested and charged in his criminal case with second-degree murder, aggravated assault and extreme D-U-I.

Antony Hall, a defendant named in the case (Source: Tucson News Now)

The lawsuit does not specify any damages.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Lawsuit filed against nightclub, owner for death of patron

CHARLESTON — The New Boondocks bar and its owner face a lawsuit in the shooting death of a young father.

Brandi Chandler, the administrator of the estate of Jamaine Sutton, filed a complaint in Kanawha Circuit Court against Capital City Dynasty, which operates The New Boondocks, and Todd Nelson Miller, the owner of the nightclub.

According to the complaint, Sutton visited the bar on May 14, 2016 to socialize when friends when gunfire broke out. Sutton, 32, was near a door, but it was locked. Sutton was shot five times by a patron aiming at someone else. He died at the scene.

Sutton was unarmed and was not a responsible party in the violence that caused his death.

Jack Dolance Dolance Law

The lawsuit alleges the bar owner failed to have adequate security safeguards in place at his nightclub despite more than 100 calls placed to 911 about violence at the club in the prior year. In addition, the complaint states, Miller allowed patrons to enter without a pat down in exchange for paying a higher cover fee into the club.

Chandler is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. She is represented by Jack Dolance of Dolance Law Office.

"A young man was killed and he didn't need to be," Dolance told the West Virginia Record. "We want this business owner to know a life was lost and that others were affected by those actions. He was a young father and now he's gone."

Dolance said the violence in the bar that night was not the first incident there.

"This business now won't accept responsibility," Dolance said.

The case is assigned to Circuit Judge Charles E. King.


Monday, September 10, 2018

Injured passenger sues three bars, driver over accident

EDWARDSVILLE — Three bars and a driver face a lawsuit over an accident on Rockwell Road.

Eric Schumacher filed a complaint on Aug. 29 in Madison County Circuit Court against Amanda Canada, Dawg Haus Bar Inc., Rock Bottom LLC and Illinois Motorheads Inc.

According to the complaint, Canada was driving Schumacher down Rockwell Road near Klenke Lane when suddenly the vehicle left the roadway and rolled over. Schumacher suffered injuries to his head, left shoulder, face and hands, the complaint states.

Schumacher alleges Canada was intoxicated and speeding at the time. He claims Dawg Haus Bar Inc., Rock Bottom LLC and Illinois Motorheads Inc. violated the Dram Shop Act by selling alcohol to Canada.

The plaintiff requests a trial by jury and seeks judgment against the defendants in an amount in excess of the jurisdictional limits of the court. He is represented by Laura E. Cole of Smith, Mendenhall, Selby & Cole in Alton.


Madison County Circuit Court case number 18-L-1123

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Carroll Restaurant Settled Out Of Court

A wrongful death lawsuit against a Carroll restaurant has been settled out of court. According to court records filed Aug. 31, the Estate of Linda Smith and her spouse, Billy Gene Carrick, voluntarily dismissed the case with prejudice after reaching a $100,000 settlement agreement more than a year before it was scheduled to go to trial. 

The original petition was filed in April earlier this year and claimed Dos Rancheros, doing business as Rancho Grande, was liable for the May 2017 death of 57-year-old Linda Smith of Coon Rapids. Smith had been served alcohol while eating lunch at the restaurant and later died from injuries received in a car accident on Highway 71 about five miles south of Carroll. An autopsy showed Smith had a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .203 percent at the time of the crash. A separate lawsuit filed by the driver of the second vehicle, Corie J. Smith, is still pending in District Court for Carroll County.


Friday, August 31, 2018

DUI Manslaughter Charge for David Zlokas in Death of Gary St. Peter in A1A Crash; Bar Named in Lawsuit

David Zlokas, a 64-year-old resident of Apartment 317 at the Surf Club condominiums on State Road A1A north of the Hammock, turned himself in and was booked at the Flagler County jail Wednesday (Aug. 29) on a drunk-driving-manslaughter charge, a second degree felony, for the death of Gary St. Peter, 67, in a car crash on Nov. 2 within view of the condominiums.

Zlokas was at the wheel of a Ford Mustang. St. Peter was his passenger. The two had been at a restaurant in Flagler Beach earlier, and were driving home. Zlokas, according to a Florida Highway Patrol investigation, was going at 80 mpg in a 50 mph zone when he failed to negotiate a curve to his left. The Mustang careened off the road and down an embankment, rolling and uprooting a tree along the way and crashing against more brush before slamming into two trees. The passenger side was especially damaged. St. Peter had been wearing a seat belt.

Zlokas’s blood-alcohol level tested at 0.154. The legal limit in Florida is 0.08. He was also injured, but not seriously.

“David Zlokas actions caused this traffic crash to occur,” his arrest report states, “which resulted in the death of Gary St. Peter and property damage to two palm trees.”

A second degree felony on conviction carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison, with a minimum mandatory sentence of four years in prison. Zlokas also had also face a first-degree misdemeanor DUI with property damage charge, and a second-degree misdemeanor for drunk driving. When the State Attorney’s Office ratified the charges today (Aug. 31), the latter charge was dropped.

Zlokas was booked in at the jail at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, He’d bonded out an hour later, posting $50,000 bail.

The criminal charge is not his only immediate legal consequence. On April 17, Gary St. Peter’s wife, Janice St. Peter, representing her husband’s estate, sued Zlokas as well as Uncaged Tasting Room LLC, the company owned by Carolyn Mathis of Palm Coast, at whose restaurant and wine bar the suit states Zlokas and Gary St. Pierre had been drinking before the crash.

Janice St. Peter is claiming damages over $15,000 under a wrongful death suit, including funeral expenses and the prospective loss of income from her husband’s death. She subsequently filed a claimlisting total recoverable damages as exceeding $25 million. Zlokas, in his answer to the suit, declined to respond to all salient claims, invoking his Fifth Amendment right not to self-incriminate. He is being represented by Brett Little of Gainesville. He repeated the invocation in subsequent answers to additional requests except for a motion to stay the civil proceedings pending the conclusion of the highway patrol’s investigation “and possible prosecution” of Zlokas. St. Peter opposed the motion on Aug. 2.

The following day the parties received notice of an October hearing where the stay will be argued. The hearings are scheduled before Circuit Judge Terence Perkins in Courtroom 401 at the Flagler County courthouse on Oct. 23, starting at 10:30 a.m.

Uncaged Tasting Room–an establishment at 3214 Meridian Home Lane in the Hammock, just north of Bing’s Landing, off A1A. In the lawsuit’s count against Uncaged, Janice St. Peter is claiming that the restaurant and bar and its servers personally “knew Zlokas was habitually addicted to the use of any or all alcoholic beverages,” and “negligently and unreasonably sold” alcohol to him.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Jacksonville ‘Madden’ Shooting Survivors Expected To File Negligence Lawsuit

Several survivors of Sunday’s shooting at a Madden NFL 19 tournament in Jacksonville plan to file a negligent-security lawsuit against this week, lawyers have said.

Matt Morgan of the Orlando-based law firm Morgan & Morgan announced during a Tuesday press conference that his firm’s clients include one person who was shot twice in Sunday’s assault, as well as others who suffered physical or emotional injuries when David Katz, 24, opened fire at the video game competition at GLHF Game Bar.

“Business as usual on the security front will no longer be tolerated by Americans,” Morgan said, as quoted by the HuffPost. “We must demand more from business owners. It’s time for business owners and event organizers to step up their game.”

The firm said it will file the lawsuit this week, contending it is necessary to take action so soon after the shooting to “preserve all evidence,” the HuffPostreported.

We have been retained by a victim of the #Jacksonville Landing gaming tournament shooting. We are of the opinion this shooting could have, and should have, been prevented. Prayers to all those impacted by this senseless tragedy.

Morgan did not identify his clients, but added his firm continues to receive calls from survivors, USA Today reported. He also declined to say who the targets of the litigation are or the grounds of the expected lawsuit. The bar and restaurant that hosted the event are part of the Jacksonville Landing entertainment complex, a city-owned waterfront area. The event was organized by video game giant EA Sports.

“It is foreseeable that shootings could occur at this location,” Morgan said.

However, Morgan commented on Jacksonville Landing’s history of gun violence as a strong indication that further security measures should have been taken, according to the HuffPost report. Morgan & Morgan’s local branch sits right across from the landing, and the firm mentioned its office building was shot at in the last two months.

“Unfortunately, the country has watched this unfold too often in the past,” Morgan said, referencing the country’s history of mass shootings. “This is not the time in America for bare-bones security or, even worse, no security at all.”

One of the potential targets could be EA Sports. Its CEO Andrew Wilson released a statement Monday announcing the cancellation of the remaining Madden Classic qualifying tournaments to review its security protocols.

“We’ve all been deeply affected by what took place in Jacksonville,” Wilson said in the written statement. “This is the first time we’ve had to confront something like this as an organization, and I believe the first time our gaming community has dealt with a tragedy of this nature. Please take time to support each other through this challenging time.”


Nightclub employee sues establishment following fight on premises

HOUSTON – An employee of a suburban Houston nightclub is suing his employer following an alleged violent incident on the premises three months ago, recent Harris County District Court records show.

Terry Barnes filed a lawsuit against BMB Dining Services (Webster), Inc., doing business as Studio 80 Houston, on Aug. 27 in the Harris County 129th District Court.

In the 8-page original petition, Barnes says he was working at Studio 80 as a porter last May 5 when a fight broke out. The plaintiff alleges that he “was violently struck in the face, head, and body” with a barstool.

According to the suit, the business failed to nip the brawl in the bud though Barnes called for the bouncer.

Consequently, the plaintiff seeks unspecified monetary damages.

He is represented by Jeffrey N. Todd of The Todd Law Group, PLLC in Houston.

Harris County 129th District Court Case No. 2018-58024

Relatives of a Waterbury, Conn., man who died in a car crash that also killed the wife of longtime ESPN broadcaster Chris Berman has filed a lawsuit against a Connecticut restaurant.

A lawyer for the restaurant declined comment on the lawsuit, which seeks more than $50,000 in damages.

The Hartford Courant reports the family of 87-year-old Edward Bertulis alleges that Market Place Kitchen & Bar in Woodbury served alcohol to Katherine Berman while she was intoxicated on May 9, 2017.

Berman’s vehicle later struck the rear of an SUV driven by Bertulis. Both drivers were killed.

State police are continuing to investigate the crash, and the medical examiner has not released toxicology results.


Monday, August 27, 2018

Woodbury Restaurant Sued After Deadly Crash

WOODBURY, CT — Woodbury restaurant Marketplace Kitchen and Bar and its owner are being sued by the family of a man who was killed in a crash that involved Katherine Berman, the wife of longtime ESPN sportscaster Chris Berman. The lawsuit alleges that the restaurant served Katherine Berman past the point of intoxication and is liable for his death.

Both Edward Bertulis, of Waterbury and Berman were killed in the Route 63 crash in May 2017. Katherine Berman's vehicle crashed into Bertulis' vehicle. Bertulis' vehicle was struck in the rear end by the front end of Berman's vehicle, state police said. After the crash, Berman's vehicle continued to veer off the road to the right and down an embankment and overturned in a small body of water.

Bertulis' vehicle veered off the road, collided with a utility pole and landed in the center of the road on its roof, according to state police.

Berman was served alcoholic beverages while she was intoxicated in violation of state regulations, the lawsuit alleges.

Bertulis' estate seeks more than $2,500 in damages from Marketplace Kitchen and Bar and owner Elias Hawli.


Friday, August 24, 2018

Two Northeast Minneapolis bars sued in fatal drunk driving crash

The family of a man who died in a traffic crash is suing two Northeast Minneapolis bars, claiming the drunk driver involved was over-served alcohol and that led to the crash.

Northeast Social Club and Mayslack's Bar and Grill were the bars the drunk driver was at prior to the accident, according to the complaint, filed on Aug. 15. The case is now before Hennepin County's Civil Court.

Lawyer Paul Downes has represented the family of Brandon Pearson, who was killed riding his motorcycle in Northeast Minneapolis on Nov. 8, 2015, since after the crash. Hannah Weyh, another defendant in this case, was drunk when she hit Pearson, pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide in 2016, and was sentenced to four years in prison.

Weyh worked at Northeast Social Club on the day of the crash and, according to the civil complaint, consumed alcohol while working and continued to be served after becoming intoxicated. The complaint says Weyh then continued drinking at Mayslack's. She then drove her car, colliding with a motorcycle driven by Pearson.

Downes says the bars are liable under the Dram Shop Law, which makes a business that sells alcoholic drinks to a drinker who is obviously intoxicated or close to it, strictly liable to anyone injured by a drunken patron or guest.

Weyh's attorney declined to comment on the case.

Joe Wagner, the owner of Northeast Social Club, disputed the allegations, and Dean Jacklitch, the owner of Mayslack's, declined to comment. Wagner also owns Minneapolis-based Eat Street Social, which was not named in the case.


Thursday, August 23, 2018

Jefferson City bars named in wrongful death suit following drunk driving crash

CALIFORNIA - A Lincoln County man filed a wrongful death lawsuit Tuesday, accusing two Jefferson City bars of being responsible in the death of his son.

James Lovelace, who lives in Moscow Mills, named Spectators and The Mission in the lawsuit over the death of Graden Lovelace in a head-on crash in August 2016.

Joshua Blankenship, the other driver in the crash, faces a charge of involuntary manslaughter. Prosecutors said he was drunk at the time.

In the lawsuit, Lovelace claims Blankenship drank alcohol he got at Spectators and The Mission before driving, and that the bars "knowingly served intoxicating liquor to Blankenship while he was visibly intoxicated."

Lovelace is seeking damages of at least $25,000 from each bar.


Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Shot in leg at Little Rock club, man sues

A Little Rock man who was shot in the leg in late August inside Club Envy at 7200 Colonel Glenn Road sued the business Tuesday, alleging that despite numerous reports of violent crimes on the premises, its owner failed to take proper measures to ensure the safety of clubgoers.

In the 3½ years before the shooting that injured Derek Terry, 27, Little Rock police responded to 220 incidents at the club, the lawsuit states. It alleges that "many of these incidents involved serious violent crimes, including multiple shooting incidents, as well as incidents of gun violence, rape, and assaults and batteries."

It says 79 of the reports were made in the previous two years.

Despite the owner's and directors' awareness of the "highly dangerous" aspects of the club, 26-year-old David Whitlock was able to walk in on the night of Aug. 27 with a Ruger .38 Special handgun in his jeans pocket without the gun being detected, the lawsuit states.

"Club security failed to pat him down," it alleges. "Had they done so, they would have easily discovered the gun. Club security also failed to screen for weapons by properly using a metal detection wand."

Whitlock and Terry didn't know each other, but Terry was shot in the right leg, above the knee, after Whitlock pulled the gun -- which turned out to be stolen -- from his pocket and fired at someone else, according to the lawsuit. Whitlock was arrested that night on first-degree battery and other charges. He pleaded guilty April 4 and was sentenced to five years in prison.

Terry's attorneys, Joshua D. Gillispie of North Little Rock and Cara Boyd Connors of Little Rock, are seeking monetary damages to compensate Terry for pain and suffering, emotional distress, scars and disfigurement from the gunshot wound above his right knee, medical bills and loss of wages.

In the lawsuit filed in Pulaski County Circuit Court, they allege that owner J.D. Lipscomb and fellow members of the club's board of directors, Mack Chukes and Jake Udall, were negligent.

But Lipscomb said Tuesday that he takes security at the club very seriously. He said he had implemented several security measures before the shooting that he thought were working well, and then after the shooting he combed through images from numerous cameras in the club to try to discern how Whitlock had managed to evade security procedures.

He said he met with the police chief and the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, and shared video from the night of the shooting with them.

"We looked at all our recordings. ... We never found anybody that wasn't searched," he said. "We had 36 cameras, but could not find how this guy got in. The only thing we could think was that he was only half-searched," meaning that a metal-detecting wand wasn't held close enough to Whitlock's pocket.

So, within four days of the shooting, Lipscomb said, he installed a metal detector and announced it on Facebook.

Lipscomb sent a reporter a copy of an Aug. 31 post on the club's Facebook page. It includes two photographs of him standing beside a metal detector at the club's entrance and the words, "Envy has a METAL DETECTOR in place. As the Godfather says, it is as safe as the Little Rock Airport #WECARE."

Lipscomb said he later installed a second metal detector as well. He said he'd had off-duty police officers working at the club before the shooting, but afterward he increased the number of officers and their hours.

After the Facebook post, he said, "Our business picked up, because of the metal detector. ... That was one of the best moves we ever made."

He said 1,200 to 1,300 people visit the club on Friday nights, its busiest time, but he also has up to six police officers on duty at a time. And since the metal detectors were installed, he said, "we haven't run into any guns -- only a few knives."

The Little Rock Police Department didn't have statistics readily available Tuesday afternoon about the number of calls to the club since the shooting, and it declined to speculate on whether safety has improved.

The lawsuit alleges that L&J Catering, which owns the property and leases it to the nightclub, "assumed a duty of ordinary care to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe manner, which included guarding against foreseeable harms caused by known defects and hazards." Lipscomb is the owner and president of L&J Catering.

Just last month, on June 3, police responded to a report of gunshots in the club's parking lot and found Devin Hansberry, 32, of Little Rock lying on the ground suffering from a gunshot wound that wasn't life-threatening. He told officers he heard the shots while standing next to his car, which police noted was riddled with bullet holes on its passenger side and front windshield.

Seven days earlier, on May 27, a 27-year-old woman reported that she was shot while sitting in a vehicle in the club's parking lot, though a manager for the club told a reporter that no shootings took place that night, and that several officers were working there at the time.


Monday, July 9, 2018

Man sues the Hawk, employee over head injury received in bar fight

A man who got hit over the head with a bottle at a Lawrence college bar known as the Hawk is suing the business and one of its employees over the incident.

Zachary Webb alleges in his lawsuit that an employee who was underage and drinking on the job hit him with the bottle and that other bar staff kicked him out, severely concussed, “disoriented and bleeding profusely.”

Webb is suing for unspecified damages, saying The Jayhawk Cafe, 1340 Ohio St., was negligent for failing to keep him safe and adequately train and supervise its employees. He’s also suing the employee for allegedly assaulting and battering him.

The altercation happened Jan. 17, 2017.

The Lawrence Police Department responded, though neither man was charged with a crime, or at least not one that rose to the level of being filed in Douglas County District Court, according to a search of court records.

Webb filed his civil suit in October 2017 in Douglas County District Court. The defendants have since filed responses, and there’s a case management conference scheduled for later this month.

The night he was hurt, Webb said, he was walking through the Hawk sometime after 10 p.m. — when the bar is supposed to be closed to everyone under 21 — when then-19-year-old employee Andrew Skaff approached him, burned him with a cigarette and exchanged words. Webb said he walked away but Skaff followed and began pushing him and asking him to fight.

When he declined, Skaff “suddenly and without warning” hit him on the head with a bottle, the lawsuit says.

Webb said he tried to get help from other Hawk staff but was escorted out and “shoved” away. He said Hawk staff failed to get him medical help or call police.

“Plaintiff was forced into the street where he wandered to the closest residence to obtain help,” the suit says. “Several hours passed before Plaintiff was taken to the hospital where he was treated for significant head injuries.”

Webb said in the suit that he suffered a crushed skull and severe concussion, leading to permanent scarring, hospital and other health-related expenses, loss of earnings, loss of tuition, “loss of enjoyment of life,” pain and suffering.

Skaff and the Hawk denied those allegations, saying in responses to the suit that although Skaff was an employee, he was not on duty at that time.

Also, Skaff said he acted in self-defense after Webb and several friends surrounded him, were “verbally aggressive” and threatened to hurt him, according to his response. Webb swung at Skaff but missed, and that’s when Skaff hit Webb.

“His reaction was reasonable,” Skaff’s attorney, Overland Park-based Jennifer Johnson, said in the response.

The Hawk specifically denied that its employees “forced” Webb into the street and added that police did respond.

“The incident was reported and investigated by local law enforcement who, upon information and belief, determined that no charges should be brought against Defendant Skaff or anyone else,” attorney Charles Schimmel wrote in the business’s response. Schimmel said any alleged damages sustained by Webb were beyond the bar’s control.

Webb’s attorney Maureen Brady, based in Kansas City, Mo., said she and her firm declined additional comment on the situation.

“We don’t discuss the specifics of a case while it is in pending litigation,” she said.

Schimmel and Johnson did not respond to messages from the Journal-World Friday afternoon.

Neither Webb nor Skaff is listed as a University of Kansas student now, according to the KU directory.

Schimmel had subpoenaed police reports, surveillance video and notes from the incident. However, the city has objected to turning those over because they’re confidential “criminal investigation records” and their release could also violate the privacy of individuals therein, the city said in its response to the subpoena.


Friday, June 29, 2018

2 Houston bars at center of lawsuit in connection to fatal drunk driving crash in 2016

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) --Two well-known Houston bars are facing a legal battle. The bars are accused of serving a motorcyclist alcohol who later caused a fatal accident in July 2016.

In a lawsuit filed Thursday by the parents of 25-year-old Lindsey Morris, Capitol Bar and Nightclub are accused of serving Jeffrey Michael Mason while he was intoxicated.

Mason was driving his motorcycle when he crashed into a cement barricade on the 610 overpass. Morris, his girlfriend who was riding on the back of the motorcycle, was killed in the accident.

"We have evidence that indicates that both of those bars served an obvious intoxicated person," said family lawyer, Annie McAdams.

The district attorney's office said Mason's blood alcohol content level was .162 at the time of the crash.

While he is being held accountable in the criminal system, McAdams says the two businesses also share responsibility.

"If they're going to make money on the sale of liquor to the public, then we expect you to protect the public from the sale of liquor, that simple," she said.

Although the fatal crash happened nearly two years ago, Morris' family says they hope the lawsuit reminds bars of their responsibility.

"They lost their daughter as a result of somebody being served too much alcohol," McAdams added.

Both establishments said they were not ready to release a statement.


Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Mom sues officer and bar after drunk cop caused crash that killed her son

The mother of a 29-year-old motorcyclist who died following a Halloween night crash is suing the former-Elizabeth police officer who caused the accident and the bar where the officer had a drink.

Maria Lizarazo of Elizabeth claims in the civil suit that under the state's Wrongful Death Act the off-duty officer, Romulo Meneses-Alvarez, and the owners of the Central Park bar in Roselle are responsible for funeral expenses and other damages caused by her son's death.

Lizarazo also says the defendants are responsible for all medical costs for Lozano, his total estimated future earnings from the time of his death to the end of his natural life expectancy, loss of retirement, social security income and damages related to the loss of enjoyment of life.

Staff at the bar, owned by Amikle Restaurant Inc., knew the officer was drunk, yet continued to serve him drinks, the suit claims. By doing so, the bar and its employees "grossly regarded the duties of Tavern Keepers for the safety of the decedent and the general public," according to the suit.

Meneses-Alvarez admitted he was under the influence of alcohol when his Jeep Wrangler turned left in front of Lozano's motorcycle on Elmora Avenue in Elizabeth, causing the collision.

He pleaded guilty to third-degree strict liability vehicular homicide, fourth-degree tampering with physical evidence, and driving while intoxicated in the death of Lozano.

Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Keith Abrams, who prosecuted the case due to an undisclosed conflict of interest with the Union County Prosecutor's Office, has recommend that Meneses-Alvarez serve 364 days in county jail, the maximum sentence for a third-degree felony.

The ex-officer is scheduled to be sentenced July 13.

Many details of the Halloween crash and the investigation remain unclear, but according to police documents and indictments Meneses-Alvarez left the scene after the crash and hindered the investigation by preventing police from checking out his vehicle, a Jeep Wrangler.

Joshua McMahon, an attorney for the Lozano's family, said a witness and body camera footage revealed that another Elizabeth police officer told Meneses-Alvarez to leave. NJ Advance Media was unable to confirm this because an open public records request for the video footage was denied.

Lizarazo's civil complaint was filed May 11, but according to McMahon, the defendants have yet to answer to the complaint in court officially.

A manager on duty at Central Park declined to comment about the lawsuit Wednesday morning.

Central Park was one of two bars where former Linden cop Pedro Abad was drinking in 2015 before he drove the wrong way on a Staten Island highway, leading to a head-on crash that killed two people and critically injured a third. Abad was sentenced last year to 8 1/3 to 25 years in prison after he was found guilty of aggravated vehicular homicide.

The surviving victim of the crash and the families of the two men who died received a $2,085,000 legal settlement from Central Park, a Staten Island strip club, Abad's insurer and an uninsured motorist policy. The plaintiffs had alleged the bars served alcohol to Abad when he was visibly drunk.

On Tuesday, former Newark officer Joseph Macchia was convicted of manslaughter after he got into a fight at a Union Township bar, drew his service weapon and shot a man to death two years ago.


Friday, June 8, 2018

Bar Sued For Role In Mass Shooting At Plano Home

PLANO, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – A lawsuit and Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission report released Thursday accuses a Plano bar for its involvement in last September’s deadly mass shooting at a Plano home during a Dallas Cowboys game watch party.

The lawsuit and TABC report accuses The Local Public House in Plano of over-serving Spencer Hight before the shooting.

According to the report, bartenders noticed Hight, the shooter, was highly intoxicated. But he was still served drinks anyway.

Spencer Hight (Instagram)

Bartenders also noticed he was acting “weird” and had a knife and a gun.

But the bar’s owner told the bartenders not to call police.

Later that evening, Hight went to the Plano home of his estranged wife Meredith Hight, and shot and killed her and seven other people.

Officers who responded, shot and killed Hight.

The TABC report accuses the bar of continuing to serve an already drunk customer.

According to the report, Hight ordered two gin and tonic at 2:39 p.m. at The Local Public House on September 10 and then left. Hight returned at 6:38 p.m. and ordered two Miller Lite beers and a shot of lemon vodka.

The Local Public House (CBS11)

In the bar surveillance video, Hight appeared to be highly intoxicated, the report said. “Hight was unsteady on his feet and staggered around the bar, running into tables and walking sideways.”

The bartender, Lindsey Glass noticed Hight had a large, fixed blade knife on the bar and was spinning it on the bar.

It is against the law to have a knife or a gun at a bar.

The report points out that’s the second violation, aside from over-serving a customer.

Glass then texted Timothy Banks, another bartender and friend of Hight and told him Hight had a big knife on the bar and was spinning it and “Hight said he had dirty work to do.”

The report went on to say, “Banks told Glass he was going to come to the bar. Glass then texted Banks that Hight was drunk and being weird. Hight and Glass then went to the patio area. Hight produced a pistol from his front pocket and put it on the table. Galss then observed Banks arrive and went to tell him about the gun. Banks made contact with Hight and according to his statement to Plano Police, he believed something was wrong with Hight and called the bar owners.”

According to Banks interview with Plano Police, the director of the corporation Mackymo’s Bar & Grill Inc, Jerry Owen, “advised Banks not to call the police.”

Hight then left and went to Meredith Hight’s home where he shot and killed eight people.

The lawsuit from the victims’ families names both bartender Lindsey Glass and the bar as defendants.

The lawsuit also holds them responsible for over-serving and for having weapons in the bar.

They are asking for a million dollar in damages.

Here is the TABC report:

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Shooting stemming from Uptown bar fight leads to civil lawsuit

The Bar Louie in Uptown may be closed, but its legal issues continue. The Fortney Hospitality Group Inc., which owned the franchise location, is being sued in federal court by a man who was shot in the back after leaving the bar, claiming the operators should have had better security and tighter rules.

Plaintiff D'Andre Alexander was at the bar with others in June 2017 when Eddie Burch approached him and at some point kissed him on the cheek, according to the complaint. Alexander, a former Marine, walked away to cool off and later returned to his group. Burch again came up to Alexander and the two eventually started wrestling on the ground. Alexander left the bar, where Burch shot Alexander in the back. He is now paralyzed from the bullet and Burch pleaded guilty to the shooting in January, according to a Star Tribune story.

According to the complaint, "Burch’s handgun would have been readily visible to any competent security personnel, had any been present and/or on location at the bar or on the premises to view it, but there was not." Burch had also consumed at least eight alcoholic beverages before entering Bar Louie and was served more, the complaint said.

"Bar Louie Uptown has a customary mode of operation of [over-serving] alcoholic beverages to its patrons, even when they are obviously intoxicated," the complaint reads. "Bar Louie Uptown’s customary mode of operation and practice of [over-serving] alcoholic beverages to its customers has resulted in the creation of a dangerous or unsafe condition within the drinking establishment."

Prior to the 2017 incident, Bar Louie had other issues. Robert Hopper, who's representing Alexander, sued on behalf of a another patron who was hit in the head with a beer glass at the bar. That case was settled for an undisclosed sum, according to Hopper. The city of Minneapolis also cited the bar in 2014 for not having adequate security, according to city records from the Alexander lawsuit.

In May, Bar Louie closed. Representatives for La Crosse, Wis.-based Fortney Hospitality did not respond to inquiries about the lawsuit.


Friday, May 18, 2018

Man Sues Mickys Bar in Another Alleged Assault by Bouncers

Micky’s, the popular West Hollywood gay bar, is being sued by a customer who claims he was assaulted and battered when he was struck and beaten by bouncers.”

In the lawsuit, filed in L.A. Superior Court on April 5, Jeffrey Thomas alleges that Micky’s security guards physically assaulted him when he was visiting the bar on July 31 last year.

The lawsuit claims that Thomas has incurred hospital and other medical expenses and lost wages as a result of the alleged assault. Thomas is being represented by attorney Martin Stanley.Micky’s on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood.

Thomas’ lawsuit is the latest in a number of allegations that bouncers at Micky’s have assaulted customers. Several of those alleged assaults were chronicled in an April 30 story in WEHOville about Andrew Hampton, 29, who claims security guards picked him up and threw him out of the bar so that he landed on his head. Hampton suffered cuts to his head that required stitches and a broken tooth. He was taken to the hospital.

In comments on Yelp and Google over the past 16 months, six other people, one of whom was interviewed by WEHOville, have alleged they were assaulted by Micky’s bouncers.

Customers also have alleged misuse of their credit cards by bartenders, mostly with complaints that they had been charged unexpected tips. They have called out bartenders for other rude behavior and for refusing to offer them water between drinks unless they pay for bottled water. Making water available at bars is widely seen as a way to reduce serious intoxication. And there have been multiple complaints of misogynistic and racist behavior by the staff, with women claiming they have been called “bitches” or “c-nts” and one woman alleging a friend was called an “ugly fat black bitch.”

Micky’s owner, WHBT Inc., has yet to file a response to the lawsuit. WEHOville has reached out to Michael Niemeyer, the owner of WHBT and Micky’s, for a comment on the lawsuit. As of publication, Niemeyer hasn’t responded.

Micky’s is located at 8857 Santa Monica Blvd. in the heart of West Hollywood’s Boystown nightlife district.


Thursday, May 17, 2018

Family of GCU students killed in wrong-way crash files lawsuit against restaurant

PHOENIX (KSAZ) - One year ago, in 2017, a horrific wrong-way crash killed three Grand Canyon University students. Now, the family of the two sisters who died in the crash is filing a lawsuit.

The wrong way driver, who was also killed in the crash, was way over the legal limit and had spent time at a bar and restaurant prior to the crash.

The people who died were identified as sisters Karli and Kelsey Richardson, and the wrong way driver was identified as Keaton Allison. Allison's BAC was found to be .25, or a "Super Extreme DUI" in Arizona.

Now, the girls' mother has filed a lawsuit against the establishment that was serving Allison - the Mellow Mushroom on Happy Valley Road, near the I-17.

According to a report from Arizona's Department of Liquor Licenses and Control obtained by FOX10, officials found multiple violations by the Mellow Mushroom from April 14, 2017, the night of the crash. The violations included "failure to protect the safety of patrons", and "selling liquor to an intoxicated or disorderly person".

The investigator interviewed multiple witnesses that observed Allison having multiple drinks at the restaurant for 4.5 hours, while dining with friends.

Then, Allison got on the road.

FOX 10 has reached out to the owners of that Mellow Mushroom, but they did not want to comment at this time. This lawsuit is seeking damages to be determined if there's a trial. The violations from the restaurant are being reviewed by the state, and possible penalties are pending.


Thursday, May 10, 2018

Accused drunken driver, two bars sued over crash that killed mother, infant son in Clear Lake

Relatives of a mother and her infant son killed in an alleged drunken-driving wreck in Clear Lake have filed a $40 million lawsuit against the driver in the crash and the two bars that are accused of selling alcohol to the underage driver.

Shayla Joseph, 36, and her 3-month-old son, Braylan, died Feb. 28 after being rear-ended on the Gulf Freeway feeder road near El Dorado.

Veronica Rivas, 20, of Bacliff, was charged with two counts of intoxication manslaughter in the crash. A bartender at Crescent City Connection Sports & Oyster Bar and two other people have been charged with helping provide alcohol the night before the crash.

Latest Local And State NewsMedia: Houston Chronicle

Joseph's husband, Bryan Joseph, and her mother, Mertis Edwards, filed the lawsuit on Tuesday against Rivas, Crescent City Connection Sports & Oyster Bar and a second bar, Dempsey's Tavern.

Joseph and his mother-in-law are seeking $40 million in damages for wrongful death and mental anguish.

The lawsuit alleges that the two bars served Rivas alcohol "though she was under the legal drinking age, and obviously intoxicated to the point that it was clear that she presented a danger to herself and others."

A woman who answered the phone at Crescent City Connection said no one at the restaurant would comment on the lawsuit.

"No. No one will speak with you," she said before hanging up.

Dempsey's Tavern could not be reached for comment, and Rivas' attorney did not respond to multiple requests for comment. Both Crescent City Connection and Dempsey's Tavern's limited liability companies could not be reached.

Investigators said Rivas and her 17-year-old friend were served several tequila margaritas at the Crescent City Connection the evening before Rivas' car slammed into Joseph's Toyota Scion about 3:50 a.m. at the Gulf Freeway feeder road near El Dorado. Rivas was driving about 90 mph, investigators said.

Rivas and her friend are also believed to have visited Dempsey’s Tavern in Webster the same evening, sources told the Houston Chronicle.

Early tests showed that Rivas had a blood alcohol level of .21, almost three times the legal limit of .08 for an adult, according to a county prosecutor. Law prohibits people under 21 from drinking alcohol, so any concentration above zero is illegal.

A spokesman for the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has confirmed that the agency is investigating at least two bars in connection to the fatal crash.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Historic Clifton's Cafeteria Sued on Allegations Flaming Drink Burned Woman

A woman is suing the historic Clifton's Cafeteria in downtown, alleging she was severely burned when she was struck in 2017 by a fireball during a bartender's preparation of a flaming drink.

Jennifer Lehoang alleges negligence and ultra-hazardous activity in the Los Angeles County Superior Court lawsuit filed Thursday. Her husband and fellow plaintiff, James O'Dowd, maintains he suffered emotional distress from witnessing the incident as well as a loss of consortium. The suit seeks unspecified damages.

A Clifton's representative did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

The suit states that the couple were patrons of the restaurant, located for decades on South Broadway, on Nov. 11, 2017. They were standing by the bar when the bartender made a flaming drink called a Scorpion Bowl, in which the ingredients are ignited during the preparation, the suit alleges.

Suddenly, a ball of fire "flew from the area of the drink under (preparation) and hit Lehoang on multiple locations on her body,'' including her arm, one hand, her hair, neck and chest, the suit alleges.

"James, in horror, directly witnessed his wife on fire and helped her to the ground (to) extinguish the flames that were burning her," the suit states.

Lehoang was severely burned and left with permanent, disfiguring injuries that need daily treatment, the suit states. Her injuries have diminished her ability "to function as a wife to O'Dowd," the suit states.

The preparation of flaming drinks so close to customers in the darkly lit bar amounted to an ultra-hazardous activity, according to the lawsuit.


Thursday, February 15, 2018

Former prosecutor, bars settle in crash lawsuit

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A settlement has been reached in the lawsuit against former Kent County Assistant Prosecutor Josh Kuiper and the Grand Rapids bars where he allegedly drank before crashing his car into a parked vehicle, injuring its owner.

The suit named 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 on behalf of Daniel Empson who was injured Nov. 19, 2016, when Kuiper drove the wrong way down Union Avenue SE and struck Empson’s parked car head-on. Empson said he was thrown to the ground and claims he suffered a fractured shoulder as a result.

Empson’s attorney, Brian Molde, announced the suit last fall, saying there had been a half-dozen depositions collected from people who witnessed Kuiper’s actions the night of the crash, starting at The Waldron House, where he was attending a retirement party for retiring prosecutor Bill Forsyth. The suit claimed Kuiper then moved on to the other bars named in the suit.

None of the five attorneys involved will now talk about the suit, likely because of a nondisclosure agreement. As a result, the terms of the settlement are not known.

The criminal case against Kuiper continues with a hearing planned in May. He faces charges of reckless driving causing serious injuring and a moving violation causing serious injury.

He does not face drunken driving charges, however, because police didn’t give him a breathalyzer at the scene or take him for a blood test.

In phone calls, the lieutenant on duty, the first officer on the scene and a sergeant discussed how to avoid giving Kuiper a breathalyzer and downplay the role of alcohol in reports. They didn’t think those calls were being recorded, but they were and were released to the public last autumn.

As a result of the way they handled the crash, the lieutenant lost his job, the sergeant was suspended and demoted, and the first officer on the scene was also disciplined.

Kuiper resigned from the prosecutor’s office and is now in private practice.


Monday, February 12, 2018

Four Houston nightclubs sued over man's death, another shuttered by Harris County

An unlicensed southeast Houston club that police say was the scene of a shooting last month was ordered to temporarily close after the Harris County Attorney's Office won a restraining order against it Friday.

In a separate, civil lawsuit also filed in Harris County on Friday, the family of a man who was fatally shot in an unlicensed bar in west Houston is demanding more than $1 million from the property owner and various club managers, whom they accuse of negligence that contributed to their family member's killing.

The two actions come amid an increased push by local authorities to close illegal, after-hours clubs, which Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan describes as being hotbeds for assaults, murders, prostitution and drug-trafficking, among other crimes.

Alberth Sinisterra was shot multiple times inside one of the clubs operating out of three suites at 9275 Richmond Ave. on Sept. 24, court and police records show.

He was among the at least 50 people that have died since 2010 in outbreaks of violence at Houston-area clubs operating without liquor licenses or after 2 a.m. at licensed clubs that were later closed, sued or fined for selling alcohol during prohibited hours, a Houston Chronicle investigation of police, court and state records found.

In a restraining order filed Friday, the Harris County Attorney's Office accuses Bukanitas of selling liquor without a state license — including to minors and after 2 a.m., when such sales are prohibited in Texas.

The club's location, at 11555 Fuqua, has not had a permit to sell alcohol since January 2017, Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission records show.

On Jan. 27, Houston police officers conducted an investigation of the club after a shooting there the night before, according to court records. During the investigation, police said they found as many as 100 people inside, as well as tables with buckets of beer and liquor bottles behind a bar.

On Feb. 3, HPD officers conducted another investigation into the club for selling alcohol to minors, during which a bouncer locked the club’s door and refused to allow officers inside, court records show.

The bouncer claimed he was instructed by a bar manager to lock officers out, court records show. The bouncer also told officers he did not know the name of the manager who’d instructed him to do so, court records show. Neither bar management nor the owners of the property, Amani Investments and HSC Management, LLC, could be reached for comment Friday.

Read more: 50 people have died at illegal Houston clubs. What stops officials from closing them?

Wrongful death

In their lawsuit filed Friday, Sinisterra’s family demands more than $1 million in damages from the managers of four now-shuttered clubs, as well as Wonsong Investment Company, which owns the property at 9275 Richmond.

The clubs — listed in court records as Blush Lounge, Allure Lounge, Village Gang Nightclub and ALAA — were closed last year after the office of Vince Ryan, the county attorney, filed a restraining order against them for, among other things, selling alcohol without licenses, court records show.

The clubs were operating out of three suites in a strip mall, where police responded to dozens of calls for violent crime over a 12-month period, police logs show. Among the outbreaks were Sinisterra’s death inside one club and a non-fatal shooting in the parking lot on July 30, police and court records show.

Sinisterra’s family claims that the club managers and property owner “had a duty to not operate after legally established business hours and, at the very least, to provide adequate security.”

Jack Fuerst, an attorney who represented Blush Lounge in the suit filed by Ryan’s office, said Friday that he was unaware of the wrongful death suit, but maintained — as he did last year —that his former client never sold alcohol and was being blamed for the actions of neighboring clubs.

“It was a bad scene,” Fuerst said Friday.

Read more: 'No one leaves sober,' advertised illegal Houston bar now facing closure

Court records show Blush Lounge had advertised online that it was selling alcohol, though Fuerst previously told the Chronicle that those advertisements were posted by rival clubs in an attempt to frame his client.

Miles Cohn, an attorney who represented Wonsong Investment Company, said Friday he was unaware of the wrongful death suit, but said his former client had evicted the clubs and adopted new leasing policies that allow for bad-acting tenants to be removed more quickly.

The other defendants in the wrongful death suit could not be reached for comment Friday.

The fight to stem the spread of illegal clubs has been complicated by the internet and what some officials say are lax penalties for operating off-the-books clubs, often at a huge profit for landlords and tenants.

Before social media and the internet, club managers had to rely on word-of-mouth to recruit devoted, often underage patrons. Today, they can use anonymous, online aliases to mobilize their followings to establishments across the city.

Restraining orders, meanwhile, are effective for shuttering single locations. But in some instances, managers of bars closed by law enforcement simply open new establishments under the names of family or friends.

Landlords, meanwhile, often claim they are unaware clubs are unlicensed or selling alcohol after hours. Sometimes, there isn't even a formal lease, making it even more difficult to prove property owners willfully violated the law.

"It's a criminal enterprise," Celena Vinson, a lawyer in the Harris County Attorney's public nuisance office, told the Chronicle last year. "They're just criminals playing with a system that kind of allows them to."


Thursday, February 8, 2018

Sports bar sued over motorcyclist's death in 2016 crash

HOUSTON – A local establishment is being sued over a motorcyclist’s death two years ago in an alleged accident, per recent Harris County District Court records.

Gwendolyn Moore filed a lawsuit against Smoke Inn of Houston, Inc., doing business as On the Rox Sports Bar & Grill, on Feb. 7, accusing the business of contributing to the 2016 crash which killed her husband, Marcos Nava.

The defendant reportedly served Nava, a father of one, alcohol though it was aware of his intoxicated state.

Nava then left On the Rox on his Harley Davidson motorcycle. Court papers state that he was traveling southbound on Jones Road when he lost control of the motorcycle and struck the back of another vehicle.

The decedent suffered “catastrophic and fatal” injuries.

“At the time of his death, Marcos Nava’s BAC level was well in excess of the legal limit,” the original petition says.

Consequently, his widow seeks unspecified monetary damages and a jury trial.

She is represented by Jason P. Hoelscher, Bianca Calderon de Lachica, and Miranda J. Cook of the law firm Sico Hoelscher Harris & Braugh LLP in Corpus Christi.

Harris County 133rd District Court Case No. 2018-8372


Monday, February 5, 2018

Homestead woman attacked in Pizza Milano files $5 million lawsuit

A 34-year-old Homestead woman who was attacked by a manager at Pizza Milano in January on Monday sued the manager and company for more than $5 million.

The lawsuit springs from a Jan. 12 altercation captured on video, in which the manager, Mahmut Yilmaz, 41, of Westwood, confronts Jade Martin as she enters Pizza Milano on Fifth Avenue in Uptown. He is seen pushing her, throwing her to the ground and apparently slamming her head against the floor before other employees pull him away.

VIDEO WARNING: Here is the footage taken during the assault. This links to a Facebook page that contains profanity.

Both Mr. Yilmaz and Ms. Martin face criminal charges connected to the incident — her for trespassing and him for aggravated assault. Mr. Yilmaz said Ms. Martin was loud and disruptive; she said she just wanted to use the restaurant’s bathroom.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Pizza Milano assault victim says she doesn't remember attack; charges held for court

Ms. Martin is still recovering from the attack and suffers from headaches, vision problems, memory loss and post-concussion syndrome, her attorney, George Kontos, said in the lawsuit filed Monday in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court.

The lawsuit asks for more than $35,000 in compensatory damages and at least $5 million in punitive damages. Mr. Kontos said he believes the punitive damages are warranted because the company failed to properly vet and train Mr. Yilmaz, and did not have policies in place to guide the removal of a person from the restaurant.

“Our purpose is to see that Jade is compensated for her physical and emotional injuries,” Mr. Kontos said. “And also hold the corporation accountable as well.”

Ms. Martin sat with Mr. Kontos and her criminal defense attorney, Kenneth Haber, during a press conference Monday and teared up as her attorneys discussed the incident. She did not speak, but Mr. Haber said she is trying to return to normal life.

“She doesn’t want to be here,” he said. “She’s a victim and no one wants to embrace the role of victim. The only thing a victim can do if you want to make yourself right or whole is to go through the legal process.”

An employee who answered the phone Monday at Pizza Milano declined to comment on the lawsuit and hung up when a reporter asked to speak to a manager.

It’s the second lawsuit that Mr. Kontos has filed against Pizza Milano in the last five months, court records show. In September, he sued the company on behalf of Ashley Tait, whose mother, Carol Tait, 51, of Bellevue, was hit and killed by a vehicle driven by a Pizza Milano deliveryman in February 2016.

Julian Routh
Protesters demand justice for woman attacked by Pittsburgh pizzeria manager

The lawsuit avers that the delivery driver, Steven Krenke, then 28, was driving under the influence of a controlled substance and on a suspended license.

The suit alleges that the restaurant failed to vet Mr. Krenke or check his criminal history, and says the company should have known Mr. Krenke had a suspended license and a history of heroin abuse. It asks for compensatory damages in excess of $35,000.

Mr. Krenke died in August 2016 at the age of 29.

Mr. Kontos said the two incidents suggest Pizza Milano has a “disregard” for the safety of its patrons and members of the public.

“It is astounding that someone would act with that much recklessness toward members of the public with what their employees are doing,” he said.


Saturday, February 3, 2018

Suit alleges Galveston bar served motorist involved in two-vehicle wreck

GALVESTON – A local bar is blamed for allegedly serving a motorist who was involved in a two-vehicle accident last March.

Mandi Yarbrough sued BOI Entertainment, LLC, doing business as The Albatross, on Feb. 2 in the Galveston County 122nd District Court, claiming the establishment permitted patron Luke Pavilonis to consume alcohol on the evening of Mar. 25, 2017, though he was already intoxicated.

Court papers further state that Pavilonis left the bar and traveled southbound on 16th Street.

Pavilonis, who is not a party in the case, purportedly failed to yield the right of way at 16th Street and Avenue L to Yarbrough.

According to the plaintiff, Pavilonis struck her vehicle and left her with “life altering” injuries.

Consequently, she seeks unspecified monetary damages.

Keith C. Purdue, E. Michael Grossman, and Greg W. Turman of the Grossman Law Office, P.C. in Dallas are representing Yarbrough.

Galveston County 122nd District Court Case No. 18- CV-0129


Lawsuit alleges Carlos Martinez was part of group to jump, break back of victim

Cardinals starting pitcher Carlos Martinez was allegedly part of a group that jumped a man outside an East St. Louis strip club in 2014, according to a lawsuit, per the Belleville News-Democrat (via CBS St. Louis).

The lawsuit says that the plaintiff was drinking at a bar in St. Louis on July 4, 2014 when he ended up in a verbal dispute with a group of men that included Martinez and since-deceased Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras. The plaintiff's filing says that he left the bar and went to an East St. Louis strip club thereafter (Penthouse Club, though it's now known as Diamond Cabaret).

According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff eventually walked out of the club to hit a food stand in the parking lot when he was jumped by the group. They allegedly took him to the ground and beat him. On Martinez specifically, he's alleged to have punched the plaintiff in the face and head.

The plaintiff, per the lawsuit, suffered a broken back and almost $100,000 in medical bills to date, with more surgical procedures on tap.

The lawsuit also accuses the strip club (owned by IRC L.P.) of negligence and liability, noting that the club didn't call police until a good portion of time had passed after the alleged attack.

As for why this is just being filed now, the lawyer of the plaintiff offers this up:

"While we would have preferred to avoid litigation," attorney John Eccher said (, "the lack of acceptance of responsibility by culpable parties has required Tom Lech and myself to seek judicial intervention on behalf of Andy (D'Angelo, the plaintiff) to obtain justice."

It's highly unlikely Martinez would face any discipline from Major League Baseball on the matter, as this is a civil, not criminal, matter right now.


Tuesday, January 30, 2018


According to court documents, a University of Oregon student is suing a Eugene bar. He claims the bar was negligent and caused him to lose all feeling in his hand.

EUGENE, Ore. -- A University of Oregon student is suing a popular tavern for more than $3.7 million.

Winston Martin claims Max's Tavern is responsible for an injury that caused him to lose the ability to use his left hand. The lawsuit was filed on Jan. 15th in the Lane County Circuit Court.

According to court documents, Martin's injury made him unable to "pursue a host of attractive, lucrative careers," leading him to reassess his educational goals. Prior to the injury, Martin was planning on attending medical school.

Martin went to the bar with a friend on Jan. 18th, 2016. Court documents state that Martin was served four beers over the course of an hour, as well as a few free cocktails that the bartenders were learning how to make.

Another customer, seated next to Martin, ordered a margarita. According to the lawsuit, the bartender used a pint glass instead of the top of the shaker and was unable to separate the shaker from the pint glass. The bartender then handed it to Martin and asked if he could pull them apart.

Martin tried to separate the shaker and the glass cup but the glass shattered, slicing his hand and leaving a deep cut on his left index finger. The wound caused Martin to lose the sensation in his finger, according to the lawsuit.

The bartender repeatedly stated that he shouldn't have asked Martin for help and Martin went to the emergency room.

The lawsuit states that since the incident Martin has had stitches, physical therapy, and surgery to restore feeling in his finger. These treatments were "virtually inoperable. Martin only has minimal feeling in the finger and his hand remains in constant pain, the lawsuit states.

It is expected that Martin will not regain feeling in his finger and that the pain will be constant, according to court documents.


Thursday, January 25, 2018

Father of Lee’s Summit police officer sues Californos in Westport over son’s death

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The father of Thomas Orr III, the off-duty Lee’s Summit police officer who was killed at Californos in Westport last summer, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the restaurant's owner and the man suspected of killing Orr.
According to a witnesses, an argument broke out on the Californos patio on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017 at about 8:20 p.m.  A witness reported seeing one man striking another in the face, causing him to fall to the floor. Then a man fired into the crowd, killing Orr, who was off-duty at the time and wasn't part of the argument.  Orr, 30,  was at Californos, 4124 Pennsylvania Ave.,  to attend a party for young professionals.  A woman was also injured by a gunshot.
Police found photos on social media sites and photos from the party and identified Sean Steward, 22, as a suspect. Steward is charged with second degree murder, first degree assault and two counts of armed criminal action in the death of Orr.
Sean Steward's booking photo from a previous sentence in the Missouri Department of Corrections.
In the wrongful death lawsuit, Orr's father, Thomas Orr, Jr., of Illinois, alleges Californos 'has a history of physical assaults and other violent crimes and criminal activity.' The lawsuit specifically cites incidents at the 'Recovery Sunday event' that his son was attending.
The 'Recovery Sunday' event, according to Orr's father, targeted 'urban professionals' and featured 'bottomless mimosas', and an all-day party that lasted from 10 a.m. until 8:00 p.m.
The lawsuit alleges that Californos owner Terry Burns knew Californos and the Recovery Sunday event had a potential for danger because Californos began monitoring admission and checking for prohibited items before people were allowed in.
'By advertising the presence of a door staff to monitor admission and check for prohibited items,... Californos expressly assured Recovery Sunday attendees, it voluntarily assumed a duty to ensure the absence of weapons on the premises and to control the patrons therein,' the complaint argues.
FOX4's Melissa Stern called Californos and asked for owner Terry Burns. Instead, she was able to speak to Nick Nehema, one of the restaurant's managers.
Nehema told FOX4 that Californos stopped working with the 'Recovery Sunday' promoter who helped them host the parties every third Sunday of each month. Nehema said Burns had no comment.
After his death, Orr's family sat down to talk to FOX4 about their wonderful memories, about their grief and profound loss.
Orr Jr.'s attorney claims in the lawsuit that in the past three years, there have been 92 violent offenses in the Westport Entertainment District, 83 aggravated assaults, seven domestic violence aggravated assaults and two homicides.
In December, in an effort to curb crime in Westport, the Kansas City Council voted 8-5 to turn over ownership of the sidewalks to Westport business owners. However, Californos isn't in the privatization zone that includes Westport Road from Broadway to Mill and on Pennsylvania from 40th to Archibald.
The new security measures will go into effect weekend nights from 11:00 p.m. until 4:00 a.m., beginning in April. Anyone coming into the heart of Westport will be carded and must go through a metal detector.  The NAACP opposes the action.
"Due to the lack of security on Defendant Californos’ premises, Defendant Steward and his associates were able to physically attack a Recovery Sunday attendee, run away from the altercation, pull out firearms, fire recklessly into the crowd of bystanders, flee the premises, and enter a vehicle without being stopped," the lawsuit says.
Click here to read a pdf file of the wrongful death lawsuit.
Orr had been with the Lee's Summit Police Department since March of 2015. Prior to that he worked for the Marshall, Mo., Police Department.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Man claims he was beaten at Le Bon Temps Roule bar

NEW ORLEANS – A man claims that he was beaten while drinking at an Orleans Parish bar. 
Nicholas Watters filed a lawsuit on Dec. 19 against LBTR LLC and John Doe in Orleans Parish Civil District Court alleging negligence and assault.
According to the complaint, the plaintiff is seeking damages for an incident that  took place on Dec. 26, 2016. The suit states that the plaintiff was at the defendant's property, Le Bon Temps Roule, and was drinking beers when the defendant, Doe, punched the plaintiff in the face three times, and caused the plaintiff physical and emotional damages, including a broken tooth and broken bones.
The defendants are accused of assault and negligence through failing to protect customers.
The plaintiff seeks all reasonable damages, court costs, attorney fees and all appropriate relief. The plaintiff is represented by himself.
The case has been assigned to Division E Judge Clare Jupiter.
Orleans Parish Civil District Court case number 2017-12161

Saturday, January 13, 2018

DWI victims sue drunk driver, southside bar

Two men who were nearly killed by a drunk driver are now suing him, a local sports bar and a convenience store.
In March 2014, Johans Bravo and James Thompson were pushing a stalled car off Staples Street near Lipes Boulevard when they were hit by Adrian Garza. Garza ran to his mother's house nearby and she immediately took him back to the scene to turn him in.
Bravo, who was a semi-pro football player, lost his left leg. The man he was helping, James Thompson, lost his right leg.
Both men have now hired the Law Offices of Thomas J. Henry. They are suing Garza, Talon's Sports Bar, and Snappy Foods for $1 million. According to the lawsuit, the plaintiffs are suing Talons Sports Bar at 5506 Saratoga for serving Garza alcohol the night of the accident until he was intoxicated. Snappy Foods is another defendant listed in the lawsuit which alleges the convenience store sold Garza alcohol when he was already intoxicated.
In July 2016, Garza was sentenced to 10 years in prison for causing the crash. He'll be eligible for parole in March 2021.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed Against Carbone's Pizza after New Prague Crash

The widow of a man killed in a vehicle crash last August has filed a lawsuit against the vehicle's driver and the sports bar she alleges over-served him before the crash.

The wrongful death lawsuit was filed Monday against Carbone's Pizza & Sports Bar, its parent company, m2Food, Inc., and the driver, Jesse Dean Brown. It accuses the New Prague location of over-serving Brown alcohol before he later crashed the vehicle he was driving, killing the plaintiff's husband, Jarrett Luethe, in August.

The lawsuit, filed Monday in U.S. District Court, names the plaintiff as Kelly Luethe, of Sparta, Wisconsin. She's named individually and as the parent of a minor child and an as-yet unborn child with Jarrett. She is seeking an amount reasonably exceeding $75,000 in damages.

RELATED: Driver Charged After Fatal New Prague Crash

Brown was driving and is alleged to have caused the single-vehicle crash the night of August 24, 2017 that resulted in Jarrett's death.

The suit alleges Brown was provided alcohol while he was already reportedly intoxicated at the Carbone's in New Prague. Brown then drove away from the establishment in his 2014 Ford sports utility vehicle with Jarrett riding in the passenger seat, according to the lawsuit.

Then at approximately 11:24 p.m. that night, Brown caused a one-vehicle crash within 2.5 miles of the establishment. The vehicle was traveling south on 141st Avenue when it crossed the center line and left the roadway, the suit says. The vehicle went airborne before rolling multiple times.

Responding law enforcement found the vehicle on fire in a bean field about 200 feet from the road. Jarrett was pronounced dead at the scene from multiple traumatic injuries received in the crash.

A preliminary test indicated Brown's blood-alcohol level was 0.183, more than twice the legal limit to drive. Three hours after the crash, it was 0.134, according to the lawsuit.