Bar's patron claimed rough bouncers broke his arm
|Inadequate or Negligent Security, Worker/Workplace Negligence - Negligent Training|
|Rafael Iglesias v. Roadblock Bar Inc. d/b/a Mulcahy's, Promo Fog Corp. and ABC Security, Inc., No. 17392/09|
|Queens Supreme, NY|
|Martin E. Ritholtz
- Frank C. Panetta; Massimo & Panetta, P.C.; Garden City, NY, for Rafael Iglesias
- Charles Kincaid Ph.D.; Vocational Rehabilitation; Hackensack, NJ called by: Frank Panetta
- Daniel Polatsch M.D.; Orthopedic Surgery; New York, NY called by: Frank Panetta
- Michael B. Titowsky; Morris, Duffy, Alonso & Faley; New York, NY, for Promo Fog Corp., Roadblock Bar Inc.
- Founders Insurance Co. for both defendants
On April 5, 2009, plaintiff Rafael Iglesias, a firefighter in his late 30s, attended a fundraiser that was being conducted at the Mulcahy's of Wantagh pub, which is located at 3232 Railroad Ave., in Wantagh. Iglesias became involved in a dispute with one of the pub's bouncers, and the incident resulted in the forcible ejection of Iglesias. Iglesias sustained injuries of an arm.
Iglesias sued the pub's owner, Promo Fog Corp., and the pub's operator, Roadblock Bar Inc. Iglesias alleged that the pub's bouncers were excessively forceful, that the defendants were vicariously liable for the bouncers' actions and that the defendants were negligent in their training of the bouncers.
Iglesias claimed that the incident began when bouncers attempted to separate two female patrons who were fighting. Iglesias claimed that his face was struck by the elbow of one of the bouncers. Iglesias contended that he instinctively raised his hands and pushed away the bouncer's elbow. He claimed that the bouncer construed the response as an aggressive act and stated that Iglesias would have to leave. Iglesias contended that he and several others attempted to explain that he had not intended to act aggressively, but that he was quickly grabbed by two large bouncers, dragged to the pub's entrance and tossed onto the ground. He claimed that he landed on his right hand and sustained fractures of his right arm. A firefighter who was present when the incident occurred corroborated Iglesias' account of the incident.
Defense counsel contended that Iglesias was drunk and that he was ejected because he had been belligerent and combative with a bouncer.
The bouncers provided conflicting accounts of the incident. They initially reported that Iglesias was injured while fighting with them; they subsequently reported that he tripped and fell while attempting to turn; and they later claimed that he tripped on a small gate on the pub's patio. Judge Martin Ritholtz issued a charge of falsus in uno.
Iglesias sustained fractures of his right, dominant arm's radius and ulna. He also sustained damage of his right wrist's median nerve. The fractures were addressed via open reduction and the internal fixation of a plate and seven screws, and he underwent surgical release of his right wrist's median nerve.
Iglesias claimed that his injuries prevented his performance of about 12 weeks of work. He also claimed that he suffers residual pain that prevents his resumption of part-time emergency-response work that provided about $12,000 of annual supplemental income. Iglesias' treating surgeon submitted a report in which he opined that Iglesias suffers a permanent residual diminution of the strength of his right arm. The surgeon also opined that Iglesias may have to undergo additional surgery that could involve the removal of his fixation hardware.
Iglesias sought recovery of past and future medical expenses, past and future lost earnings, and damages for past and future pain and suffering.
Defense counsel contended that Iglesias achieved a good recovery and was able to quickly resume his physically demanding primary job. The defense's vocational-rehabilitation expert submitted a report in which he opined that Iglesias overstated the extent of his lost earnings.
The jury found that the defendants' bouncers were negligent in their handling of Iglesias. Iglesias was not deemed liable.
During the first day of the trial's damages phase, the parties negotiated a settlement. The defendants' insurer agreed to pay $260,000, from a policy that provided $1 million of coverage.
This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiff's and defense counsel.