Legal Question in Personal Injury in Ohio

I was at a bar with my wife when a drunk patron got in my face and demanded I stand up and fight him. I did nothing to provoke him. After about 5 minutes of verbal harassment to me and my wife he punched me in the face while I was sitting down. After I got punched I talked him and restrained him for about 5-10 min, the whole time my wife was asking the bartender to call police, bartender did not call police or called police much later. Some other patrons, pulled me off the attacker and when I was pulled off the attacker punched my wife in the eye, knocking her out. Long story short - we were waiting about 15 minutes for police to show up, the guy escaped, we were able to figure out who he was, and police officer issued 2 assault warrants, they still haven't located him. However, the guy has a history of fighting at the bar, one patron even said that he was undefeated and was the bar's "champion fighter". And he was suprised I didn't get killed. Also the officer who filled the report commented that the owner of the bar was being "difficult". And was refusing to reveal the identity of the attacker. I'm not sure what my next steps should be, but I believe I have a winnable civil case against the attacker and the bar owner for negligent security, does this sound correct? Please help. Thanks.

Asked on 9/16/12, 4:13 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Edward Stoll Stoll, Ltd.

Yes. If the facts are as you state, you clearly have a decent case against both the assailant and the bar owner. We have litigated a number of these cases.

The matter against the assailant is easy. However, thugs customarily don't have a lot of resources to compensate you and your wife. As for the bar and/or any security company, the case will likely hinge on whether the altercation and assault was foreseeable. This can be shown through prior activities and fights (especially by this individual) on its premises. You have good facts to support the prior incidents standard. As such, the bar and the security company (if any) would likely have a duty to prevent you and/or your wife from being injured in a fight.

Once the existence of a duty is found, a defendant must exercise that degree of care which an ordinarily careful and prudent person would exercise under the same or similar circumstances. It doesn't sound like the bar or security acted reasonably. Keep in mind though, that a business is not an insurer of its invitees' safety. Thus, the duty owed is one of reasonable care to protect business invitees from foreseeable dangers.

There are more elements to the case, but based on what you have offered here it would be worthwhile for you to contact 440.552.7063 or email [email protected] to discuss with us further.

My best,

Ed Stoll

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Answered on 9/16/12, 4:48 pm
John Sauter Cloppert, Latanick, Sauter & Washburn

As stated in the other attorney answer, based on the facts as you present them, you have viable claims against both your fellow bar patron and the bar itself.

Keep in mind that inadequate security claims against a bar are not easy to prove - they are heavily fact dependent and often require expert testimony from a security consultant. Additionally, witness recollections can be tainted by the influence of alcohol and bar employees can be reluctant to testify against their employer.

Consult with an experienced personal injury attorney in the Columbus area. Injury attorneys will often agree to review your claim at no cost, and will accept your case on a contingent basis - taking a percentage of your recovery, if any.

Should you have any questions or would like a referral to an attorney in your area, please do not hesitate to contact me at 614-216-2727 or 937-642-1819.

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Answered on 9/17/12, 6:59 am

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