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ARTICLE ID 190625

$________ – NEGLIGENT SECURITY – STAFF FAILS TO ACT AND CONTINUES TO SERVE ALCOHOL TO PATRON AFTER WARNING THAT PATRON THREATENED OTHER CUSTOMERS – STABBING INJURY TO 45-YEAR-OLD – HYPOXIC BRAIN INJURY – SCARRING – MULTIPLE SURGERIES REQUIRED.

New Haven County, CT

In this negligence claim, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant restaurant and its staff were negligent in failing to intervene when a patron harassed and ultimately stabbed the plaintiff. The plaintiff contended that the defendant was negligent in continuing to serve the assailant alcohol even after being warned by the other patrons of the assailant’s behavior and threatening actions. The plaintiff sustained a stab wound to the neck and suffered hypoxic brain injury. The defendant denied the allegations and disputed the nature and extent of the plaintiff’s injuries and damages.

On October 2, ________, the 45-year-old male plaintiff and some friends were patrons at the defendant restaurant having come into town for a softball tournament. The plaintiff is a New Hampshire resident and based upon his accent he was perceived by the assailant to be from the Massachusetts area and deemed a Red Sox fan. The plaintiff contended that the assailant was being belligerent and harassing customers, deeming the restaurant to be a Yankees zone. The assailant was drinking at the bar area and several of the patrons warned the defendant’s bartenders about the assailant’s harassing and threatening behavior. The plaintiff contended that when he was standing at the bar talking to a friend, the assailant, who had continued to be served alcohol despite the patrons’ warnings to the bar staff regarding his belligerent behavior, assaulted him by stabbing him in the neck.

The plaintiff suffered extensive bleeding, a hypoxic brain injury and scarring as a result of the incident. Due to the tremendous blood loss, the plaintiff suffered an ischemic stroke and hypoxic brain injury to the suboccipital lobe of the brain. The plaintiff had to undergo multiple surgical procedures and spent a considerable amount of time hospitalized as a result of the incident. Thereafter, he spent time in a rehabilitation center. He continued to experience facial and neck scarring, as well as visual impairment and some paralysis in his upper right extremity, as well as in his face. He also suffered a number of cognitive deficits due to the stroke and resulting brain injury.

The plaintiff brought suit against the defendant bar alleging that it was negligent in supervising the premises and in failing to protect the plaintiff from a disorderly patron. The plaintiff alleged that the bartender was well aware that the disorderly patron was trying to provoke a conflict and despite being warned several times, the defendant bar’s staff took no intervening actions as to the disorderly patron.

The defendant denied the allegations and maintained that the defendant was not liable for the wrongful acts of a third party. The defendant maintained that the plaintiff exaggerated the nature of the verbal conflict that preceded the attack and maintained that it was nothing more than a friendly rivalry between Yankees fans and Red Sox fans. The defendant contended that the behavior leading up to the assault did not warrant any intervention by the bartender.

The plaintiff presented a security expert who testified that under the circumstances the bar acted unreasonably. The expert elaborated that the bartender failed to notify the manager on duty that there was a disorderly patron and failed to institute calming procedures, and failed to eject the patron or speak to him in an any way in order to diffuse the situation. The expert went on that in failing to notify the manager on duty; the bar’s employees violated their own handbook. The security expert testified that the male bartender, who was primarily the person with whom the complaining patrons spoke, failed to respond properly to the customer’s complaints.

The defendant’s expert testified that the defendant’s bartender acted reasonably in failing to intervene and based upon the facts of this case, the outcome of a violent assault was completely unreasonable and could not have been anticipated. The plaintiff’s security expert zeroed in on the fact that the bartender had been warned twice by other patrons and he was aware that the verbal conflict could escalate to a physical altercation due to the actions of the disorderly patron, yet he took no action to diffuse or otherwise prevent the outcome.

The matter was tried over a period of two weeks.The jury deliberated for approximately three hours and returned its verdict in the amount of $________, which consisted of $________ in medical damages; $________ in lost wages and $________ in non-economic damages.

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