Thursday, May 4, 2017

Wife & Mother Meets Girlfriend for a Drink and is Shot! Bar Staff Could Have Prevented Her Death if They Called The Police Instead of Breaking the Shooters Jaw Before He Had The Gun!

Estate of Plaintiff’s Decedent vs. Defendant Bar Owner, Defendant Bar Operator/LLC, Defendant Security Companies, Defendant Bouncers and Defendant Bar Customer State of Michigan, County Circuit Court Regarding settlement $250,000.00 with Bar Owner and Settlement $3,500.00 with Defendant Security Companies Case Evaluation: $129,500.00 Settled following facilitation Facts: This is a case of a bar out of control with foreseeable tragic results. The defendant bar operator/LLC, operating under a lease and agreement with defendant bar owner who held the liquor license, should not have been operating on the night that Plaintiff’s decedent was fatally shot. It remained in operation even after the city police, who believed the bar was a menace to the safety of citizens and patrons, notified defendant bar owner that operations should be terminated immediately. The defendant owner insisted on abiding by a 10-day notice provision in the operating agreement with the defendant bar operators/LLC, which was the only reason the bar was allowed to remain in operation. Four days after police said the operating agreement should end immediately, altercations and threats involving defendant bouncers/security and customers led to gunfire which killed Plaintiff’s decedent. Plaintiff’s decedent died from a bullet wound to her head. She was married and the mother of a minor son, enjoying an evening with female friends at the defendant bar. It was Plaintiff’s decedent’s first visit to the bar and she was unaware of the bar’s notorious history among city police detectives. Police had documented numerous violent incidents including shootings, assaults and drug dealing at the venue. The defendant bar was owned and operated by the defendant owner and bouncers were provided by other defendant security companies. Defendant owner owned the building and liquor license which it licensed to defendant bar operator/LLC under an unusual arrangement that was not approved by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (“MLCC”). Earlier, the defendant bar owner was informed by the city police department of ongoing problems at defendant bar, and several meetings were held in an attempt to remedy the problems. During the next three months, the problems involving assaults, thefts, overcrowding, and use of controlled substances, among other problems at the bar increased in frequency and severity. The Michigan Liquor Control Commission suspended defendant owner’s liquor license for failure to provide proof of financial responsibility and police reported the bar for various violations. Suspension notice was received by the city police. Days before the tragic death, the city police held a meeting with defendant bar owner. Following that meeting, defendant owner sent an e-mail to city police advising them that defendant bar operator/LLC would be notified that defendant bar owner was revoking defendant bar operator/LLC’s use of defendant bar owner’s liquor license. However, two days later defendant bar owner notified city police that he had been informed by an attorney that an agreement between defendant bar owner and defendant bar operator/LLC provided for a 10-day notice period before termination, and therefore, defendant bar would be operating with the liquor license for 10 more days. City police responded to defendant bar owner informing him that the 10-day notice period applied to the lease and the liquor license could be revoked immediately. According to the agreement, defendant bar owner as licensee was responsible for the conduct of the operation of the licensed business and the actions of the manager in the conduct of the licensed business, in the same manner as he would be with respect to his own employees. This agreement was never approved by the MLCC and should have been deemed nonbinding. Despite this knowledge, defendant bar owner did not revoke the rights of defendant bar operator/LLC to operate under its liquor license but instead allowed it to continue to use the license. Two days later, Plaintiff’s decedent was seated with her friends inside the defendant bar. On the other side of the bar, its bouncers staffed by defendant security companies, some of whom were armed, had an altercation with three male customers. One of the male customers, also a defendant, threatened to get a gun and “shoot the m*** f*** club up” after being punched by a defendant bouncer. None of the defendants called police at this time. Defendant bouncers removed the customers to the bar’s parking lot where defendant bouncers beat the defendant customer a second time, causing him to spit up blood, and another removed customer suffered a broken jaw at the hands of defendant bouncers. The defendant customer returned to his car, bloodied and humiliated. Still, none of the defendants called police at this time. Defendant bouncers retreated inside the bar’s locked glass doors. The defendant customer sat in the front seat of his car. He wiped the blood from his face, changed his bloodied shirt and got his gun. His friend, seated in the passenger seat, saw the gun and tried to counsel defendant customer against using the gun. About five minutes later, defendant customer and his friend returned to the bar’s entrance, calling for the bouncers to come out. The defendant bouncers brandished their guns from inside the glass doors. But the police were still not called. About 25 seconds later, defendant customer fired several shots at the building. One bullet went through a glass window, striking Plaintiff’s decedent. The first call to city police was logged 24 minutes after the altercations between bouncers and defendant customer. Police and emergency medical technicians attempted to treat Plaintiff’s decedent at the scene. She was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital. Plaintiff’s decedent died as a result of breaches of duty by all the defendant participants, who had a duty to maintain a safe premises. Plaintiff’s decedent was 33 years of age, a wife, a mother and was gainfully employed. Settlement was achieved with the defendant bar owner, with minimal contribution from the defendant security companies. Defendant bar operator/LLC claimed they were operating under the operating agreement. Defendant bar owner and security companies claimed if city police had been called the death would not have been prevented.

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