Premises Liability – Assault by Bar Bouncer on Patrons
We represented a 19-year-old man his 21-year-old brother who were assaulted by a bar bouncer at a local establishment in Pennsylvania. The 19-year-old was permitted access to the bar and consumed alcohol without being asked for identification. After several hours, the 19-year-old and his 21-year-old brother became involved in an altercation inside the bar with 2 of the bar’s bouncers. The bouncers took them outside the bar and proceeded to assault them. The 19-year-old was thrown through a plate glass window of a bakery next to the bar and suffered a serious laceration. When the police arrived, the bouncers reported that my clients assaulted them and broke the plate glass window in an act of vandalism. My clients were both arrested and charged with criminal mischief and destruction of property. Based on this, the bakery’s insurance company contacted us and requested payment for a new plate glass window.
We immediately began an investigation into the matter and learned that the bakery had a video surveillance system that was recording at 1:30 a.m. when the incident occurred. When we reviewed the video with the Bakery’s representative, we could clearly see that one of the bar’s bouncers was assaulting our 19-year-old client in front of the bakery and then picked him up and threw him through the plate glass window. We immediately provided a copy of the video to the police. Once the police reviewed the video, they dismissed the criminal charges against our clients and filed charges against the bouncer for filing a false police report. We then filed a civil suit against the bar for the assault committed against our clients, including a request for punitive damages. In that suit, we learned that the bouncer in question had a prior criminal conviction for assault. The bar’s insurance company confidentially settled with us for a substantial sum after we presented them with the criminal record for the bouncer to demonstrate to them that our negligent hiring and negligent supervision cause of action was well grounded in fact.
Kelly Repko v. Chichester School District, Court of Common Pleas, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, Case No.: 04-6979
Type of Case: Student Injured on School Property
Kelly Repko was injured at Chichester High School when a stage riser left in the gym leaning against the bleachers fell on her leg. Ms. Repko was a student participating in gym class at the time of the injury. Her medical bills were approximately $3,500. Ms. Repko suffered a scar on the back of her Achilles tendon as a result of the injury. The Repko family contacted Chris Heavens because they felt that the school district’s insurance company was treating them unfairly. The insurance company refused to make a settlement offer to Mr. Heavens and a lawsuit was filed. At trial, Ms. Repko testified about the pain, discomfort and limitations created by her foot injury and about her future ambition to be a nurse. Ms. Repko’s foot doctor testified at trial about how Ms. Repko’s foot injury had impacted her in the past and would impact her in the future, particularly her career as a nurse. Result: $250,000 Jury Verdict*.
Counsel: Christopher J. Heavens, Boothwyn, PA