A civil jury in Lafayette has awarded two men, one of whom was severely beaten by bouncers outside a downtown night club, more than $30,000 in damages.
The suit on behalf of Richard Le and Edward Prince was filed in June 2007 in 15th Judicial District Court in Lafayette by attorney Derriel McCorvey seeking damages for injuries his clients received during an altercation with Nitetown bouncers the previous October. Le suffered the worst of the injuries; photos submitted for evidence in the trial last week show him in a hospital room with a black eye, a laceration to the side of his face, and a blood-stippled shirt.
Le was awarded more than $30,000 by the jury; Edward Prince, who, according was McCorvey, was roughed up by the bouncers when he tried to intervene on behalf of his friend, was awarded $1,800. The incident happened in an enclosed alley off Buchanan Street behind the Jefferson Street venue, which has a rear door that opens onto to the alley. The jury found that Nitetown was responsible for the actions of its employees. The jury also found that Le was negligent in the case — that his behavior contributed to the altercation. Yet it still awarded him compensatory (to cover medical bills), mental anguish and special damages.
The club’s bouncers have been accused in other lawsuits of using excessive force against patrons; at least three civil suits filed in the 15th JDC have targeted Nitetown for the actions of its bouncers. None, however, has evidently gone to trial. Part of McCorvey’s strategy going into the trial was to make the jury aware of those prior lawsuits. “We were going to use them as ammo to show a pattern,” he says. But Judge Herman Clause ruled the prior suits would have prejudiced the jury and barred their admission into evidence.
McCorvey says the suit wasn’t as much about the money as it was about issuing a “wake up call” concerning the behavior of security staff at night clubs. “That foolishness where two guys go out to have some fun and get beat,” the attorney says, “we’ve got to get the word out about that.”
The attorney for Nitetown could not be reached for comment. However, Nitetown owner George Favaloro released a statement Friday afternoon defending his business:
Nitetown is proud of having relatively few issues since it opened its doors seven years ago. This incident happened four years ago. The jury properly found the plaintiff's own fault contributed to the incident. Nitetown plans to appeal the verdict.
Nitetown suspended the employees involved and never allowed them to return to work. Again, the bouncers in question no longer work at Nitetown.
The owners, staff and management of Nitetown are very sorry for this incident. We have been working closely with Chief Jim Craft and the Lafayette Police Department to institute a “bouncer training program” to aid in properly training security personal when it comes to unruly customers.
MAY 24 Blogger Robert Mann posts this entry about the Baton Rouge Chamber's recent report on Louisiana's higher education system. It's critical to economic development, and yet our system is facing a "funding crisis" with no way to resolve it, the report says. The Chamber says control of tuition and fees must be returned to the higher ed governing boards.
MAY 24 Here's a NBC33 story about Tyrann Mathieu. He has signed with the Arizona Cardinals, inking a $3 million, four-year deal. He gets a signing bonus of $265K, but gets another, larger bonus if he doesn't get cut from the team for doing drugs. The deal reportedly includes mandatory tests and meetings for the player.
MAY 24 Jarvis DeBerry posts here about the redonkulus rhetoric that would have us believe NOLA is a safe city with a murder problem. Maybe the city's crime stats don't compare with its murder stats because you can't manipulate a murder, he says: a dead body's a dead body. It just doesn't make sense, he says, and his readers agree: a poll asks if they believe the city is safe, and more than 90 percent say no.
MAY 24 Jindal administration officials announced Thursday that the privatization of public health care is going to cost a lot more than they budgeted for, the Advocate reports here. "I'm so surprised," said no one. Anywhere. The cost they're projecting now is more than $1 billion - a lot more than the $626 million budgeted for it. And, it's more than it cost the state to operate those hospitals. So why are we doing this again?
MAY 24 Blogger CB Forgotston ridicules the recent PR campaign by the state GOP in the wake of a legislative auditor's request to both major parties. The GOP (apparently unaware that the Dems got the same request) started yammering about being targeted because it had "killed" a tax increase. CB finds that laughable, but it's also pretty funny that the GOP was comparing this episode to the IRS scandal (Because the President has so much to do with our state auditor. Right?).
MAY 24 Politico details some recent fund-raising efforts by Sen. David Vitter, which have raised the question of his future political plans. This time, it is a $5,000 per head "bayou weekend" that includes "Cajun cooking" and an all-caps "alligator hunt," the story reports. Funds raised go to a super PAC that can spend money to support Vitter in federal or state races, the story points out.
MAY 24 The pink building on Royal in the quarter was sold at a sheriff's sale Thursday, this Picayune story reports. An injunction that would have halted the sale wasn't enforced because the family failed to post a $150,000 bond, the story reports. So the owner of the mortgages on the building bought it, for nearly $7 million. Now the feuding family will have to negotiate with that company to get a lease on the building that has housed their business for close to 60 years.
MAY 23 This post in Louisiana Voice tells us about a bill by a Winnsboro lege that would require all public high school students to take at least one Course Choice online class in order to graduate. (What?) Blogger Tom Aswell says it's a monument to "waste and corruption," especially in light of the problems he's exposed with the program in recent weeks. Idaho had a similar program, but voters removed it by a 2-1 margin, Aswell says.
There will soon be a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Benny’s Sportshack Supplement Depot, a new concept by Opelousas native Benny Nele. Located at 2002 Johnston St., the supplement shop, smoothie bar and café, featuring hot off the press paninis and wraps, plans to open in late May.
Philip deMahy Sr., a once respected New Iberia ad exec, was sentenced May 2 to spend the next two years (he faced up to 100 years) in a state penitentiary after state and federal investigators found dozens of images depicting children engaged in lewd sexual acts on his personal computer.