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Negligent Security – Verbal altercation among other nightclub patrons allegedly escalates, culminating in one patron punching another who falls back onto plaintiff – Hip and rib fractures – Knee injury.

Nassau County, NY

The 56-year-old female plaintiff contended that the defendant night club negligently failed to provide adequate security. The plaintiff’s sister related that as they were dancing, she saw a loud verbal and physical commotion involving several patrons at the main bar. Apparently, another patron was dancing with the wife/girlfriend of one of the four patrons involved and three of the patrons were holding back one person in the group who was quite agitated that this other patron was dancing with his wife/girlfriend. The plaintiff’s sister testified that this commotion went on for three to four minutes and that there was loud yelling and cursing. The plaintiff and the plaintiff’s sister testified that they did not see any security guards in this area.

The plaintiff maintained that as the other patron was leaving the dance floor, the unknown assailant broke free from the group and went over and punched the patron twice in the face. The patron fell back onto the steps leading from the dance floor and fell into the plaintiff. The assailant left the nightclub and was never identified.

The defendant denied that the plaintiff’s claims should be accepted. The defendant maintained that there was adequate security as there were five security guards working at the nightclub on the night of the incident. One of the security guards was assigned to the main bar area where this commotion allegedly was occurring. This security guard testified that he had passed the area of the altercation a few moments before and did not see any type of commotion.

The defendant further denied that the plaintiff’s sister’s version of the accident was accurate. The defendant contended that the situation was not an escalating situation, but one that happened much more quickly than what plaintiff’s sister claimed. The defendant pointed out that no one but the plaintiff’s sister heard or saw this commotion and that she did not tell the plaintiff of the escalating situation even though it was happening approximately ten feet behind the plaintiff. It was the defendant’s position that the event happened quickly and that the security guards did not have time to prevent the altercation.

The plaintiff sustained an avulsion fracture of the left hip, a fracture to the fourth rib on the left side and an osteochondral injury of the left knee with crepitus. The plaintiff contended that she will suffer permanent pain and difficulties ambulating. The plaintiff missed four months from work.The plaintiff’s $________ demand was met with the defendant’s $________ offer. The jury found for the defendant.

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