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Sucker Punched at a Bar in California Premises Liability

Discussion in 'Accidents, Injuries, Negligence' started by recklessmax80, Oct 9, 2010.

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  1. recklessmax80

    recklessmax80 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    My question involves injury or loss that occurred in the state of: CA

    I was away over the long weekend visiting a friend in Mountain View California
    We went into a bar/lounge there in Mountain View. I live in NY and unlike here
    They don’t check you on the body, only your ID, so basically you can carry anything inside the bar, gun or anything dangerous

    Well we were there for an hour and later on moved to the dance floor to shake a leg
    Turns out within a few minutes there was a big push from behind, some huge dude
    Arguing with somebody. I turned around to move away and immediately was sucker punched by another guy from the side who though I had pushed him and his girlfriend although I had nothing to do with it. Obviously this was verified and told to him by the bouncers too as there was one watching the dance floor. As soon as he hit me and realized what he done he tried to run., the bouncer caught him and took him out

    Another bouncer tried to help my bleeding nose with ice and lot of table cloth. Next thing Im taking outside the bar and asked to be driven to the ER. Me and my friend
    ask about the details of the guy but the other bouncer comes back and tells us his friends came in between and then he wrested his way but we didn’t see his friends outside. Again Im still bleeding a lot so they try to push me in the car to get to ER

    IN the ER it turns out my nose is not broken but my septum has got crooked. At the ER the cops are called and do the report and go straight to the bar. I get a call back next day that the bouncer unfortunately dint takes his id. After coming back and
    seeing series of tests and specialists Im being asked to undergo septoplasty to avoid breathing issues

    What are my options

    1) Can i go after the bar since the bouncer should have got his id. Theya re there for the protection . Isnt the their duty to do this as they knew he hit me without good reason based on what he felt was right ? What if he had a gun adn shot me

    2) WHat else can i do. I have a copy of police report, xrays , medical information, bills
    ER report , police pictures of my injuries
     
  2. bluemann33

    bluemann33 New Member

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    The ONLY thing you can do is hope they find the guy who did this and press charges then you take him to court for damages done to you. The bar is in the clear. Good luck.
     
  3. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    This will be difficult, but not impossible.

    The guy will return to the bar.

    You could return a couple times and see if you spot him. Then you could try and get the bouncers to ID him.

    You should speak with a California attorney. If someone takes your case, it'll be on contingency. The bar could have video. If an attorney takes your case, the video might help.

    The bar has some potential liability, vicariously. It'll be a stretch, with you living in NY. But, it won't cost you anything to chat with an attorney about it.

    I hope you're feeling better. Hang in there.
     
  4. CdwJava

    CdwJava Moderator

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    Some clubs in CA will pat you down or run a wand over you, but most do not.

    As Army Judge mentioned, you can try to go after the bar, but that'll be a stretch. You would likely have to show that the bar's failure to take some reasonable action at the door would have prevented this foreseeable consequence. Since you were not struck by a gun, but by a fist, any search at the door could not have prevented that. So I don't see any real vicarious liability by the bar.

    Unless the bar promised you that you would be safe from any and all harm inside the bar, then there is little likelihood o a special relationship being established whereby the bar is responsible. But, if you have an aggressive attorney with a lot of moxie he MIGHT be able to make a go of it ... but such an attorney might cost you money up front.

    In the long run, the bar is not a good target for compensation as this was not a foreseeable consequence of some action or inaction on the part of bar staff. And they are not responsible to retain the ID of others, so the fact that the suspect fled their detention is not the club's liability.

    You can hope the police identify a suspect. You can hire an attorney or a private investigator to look into the matter and see if he or she can find the suspect. You can stay in CA and keep going back to the bar hoping to see the suspect again. Most guys are creatures of habit, so this was a guy that had been there before, chances are he'll come back. If so, you call the cops and point him out as the guy that committed the felonious assault against you.

    Unfortunately, if no one knows who the guy is and he cannot be identified, you may never get compensation or justice against the guy.
     
  5. recklessmax80

    recklessmax80 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thanks for your responses.

    Although your responses confirm the general understanding in these types of cases “that making the bar responsible for anything like this is a stretch " the key lies in the minute details of the event although I realize that this will be really difficult to prove in the court of law without a video

    I’m sure only people who have really gotten hit suddenly like this and it has never happened to them before realize how dramatic the situation can be with no time to think or do want you feel is right. As soon as I was hit the person we were surrounded by people on both sides holding each other away. The bouncer watching from a distant immediately ran up and without asking anybody (because imp pretty sure he saw what exactly happened) pulled the guy by the collar and started to drag him out. I stated following and shouting to id him and another bouncer who was told on the radio immediately came with ice and napkins to me and held my face putting it on there trying to make me calm down and sit somewhere although I was continuously saying to id the guy and he said not to worry about that . there is no way I could have wrestled with the bouncers and other people in between to go after the guy and id him by holding him to the ground, that would have to mean me attaching the bouncers and a whole lot of other people and fighting him down with me already feeling a little dizzy and stunned by the blow.

    I don’t think I ever had a chance to do that since he was immediately blocked by the bouncer and dragged out of the bar and then being told he ran away once I came out of the bar is so silly I also immediately called 911 but they never arrived till I reached the ER

    This way if bouncers are not ready to take action (even if they are not entirely responsible) there is no protection and security at all from the bouncers, apart from making sure that the people who fight are removed from their property and preventing the access from each other (how can a person get information about the other party) . That’s scary for common man. I think this can only be improved by making sure the bar security try their level best to id the people on both sides if they witness an assault or a crime on their property
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2010
  6. CdwJava

    CdwJava Moderator

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    Actually, the key lies in the law and whether or not you can hold a business accountable for something they really had ZERO ability to predict, prevent, or control. Short of hiring a battery of security guards to shepherd each guest around and maintain buffer zones, what would you argue at court would have been a reasonable measure for the business to have taken to have prevented this attack upon you?

    Been there, done that. But being a victim of battery inflicted by a patron does not make the business any more responsible.

    They have no legal responsibility to beat the other guy down and forcibly remove ID from him. Legally, they were really only required to observe and report - not to intervene. Yes, you can certainly pay an attorney to make the argument that they should have forcibly detained him for the police, but they are under no legal obligation to do so. Thus, such an argument may not go very far.

    You are certainly free to ask the bar to improve its security procedures, to lobby CA's legislature to change state law regarding force and detentions and grant exemptions to civil litigation for excessive force in such matters, and you can certainly hire an attorney to try to sue the bar owner. Ultimately, I strongly suspect that your only recourse will be to sue your attacker shouyld he ever be identified.

    But, ultimately it is your money to spend as you see fit. And, MAYBE a court will be sympathetic ... or, maybe, the bar will pay you a few dollars to make the suit go away should you file one. Who knows.
     
  7. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    The bar might have video.
    Why not ask?

    Does the bar scan drivers licenses or other ID upon entering their premises? If they do, there is a record of those who entered (below a certain age) that night. You need only see if there is such a list.

    You can discretely observe, by returning and watching. If you see the guy, take his picture. Then ask he bouncers and/or the police to help identify him.

    All hope isn't lost. It'll take some work, but I've identified people with less information. You just have to be persistent. I'm betting you'll spot this guy within 3-7 days, if you are clever!
     
  8. CdwJava

    CdwJava Moderator

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    I think the problem is the OP is from another state, and unless the OP has moved to CA, he will be or has already returned home. This cross-country issue will make identifying the suspect an expensive proposition - one for which he may never get compensation for unless he can actually identify him, AND win a lawsuit against the guy ... assuming the suspect had the means to pay for the award and attorney's fees.

    Very few bars or clubs have devices that will actually record the info of people that have their IDs scanned ... there are some very good reasons for that. In fact, I have yet to run across any who do that out here. What they usually have is a device that reads the age, but that's about it. It can be bad form for a club to be known for playing "big brother" and keeping a record of who comes and goes by recording the scan of their ID.

    But, video is a possibility. However, unless someone can identify the suspect from the resolution of any face found on the video, it's not likely to be too successful. Unless the suspect is well known to the cops or to some of the local patrons, flashing his face around from the video (assuming it is of sufficient resolution - and many are not) may not work. But, it might be worth a shot to at least get a gander at the video.

    Now, another problem might arise in trying to get the video in that the bar may not want to give it up to the OP, though they might give it up to the police. That brings about a whole new set of problems if the OP wants to pay for a PI to work towards a civil case. But, that can be dealt with when/if it comes up. The first order of business would be to find ou if they even have any video.
     

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