Phila. gentleman's club faces wrongful death complaint by father of deceased patron

By Jon Campisi | Mar 10, 2013

The father of a Philadelphia man who died after flipping his car on Interstate 95 following

a night of drinking at a city strip club has filed a wrongful death complaint against the establishment over allegations of over-serving.

Michael F. Barrett, an injury lawyer with the firm Saltz, Mongeluzzi, Barrett & Bendesky, and Philadelphia lawyer Bernard M. Gross, filed suit March 4 at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas on behalf of city resident George Fadgen, Jr.

Fadgen is suing on behalf of his late son, George Fadgen, III, who died on Sept. 8 of last year after being ejected from his vehicle while traveling northbound on I-95 near the Bridge Street exit, which is only about a mile from the bar.

The lawsuit accuses Club Risque, a gentleman’s club in the city’s Tacony neighborhood, of allowing Fadgen III to leave the bar at about 2 a.m. that morning in an extreme state of intoxication.

According to the complaint, Fadgen withdrew $100 from the on-premises ATM on three separate occasions between 10:15 p.m. and 1:55 a.m. and used that $300 to purchase alcohol at the club.

Furthermore, the suit claims, the man was served “multiple alcoholic beverages by the “shot girls” working the room at Club Risque, which caused Fadgen to become even more intoxicated.

Fadgen left the club at about 2 a.m. on Sept. 8 and proceeded to his vehicle without anyone at the business attempting to stop him from driving.

It was at that point that the patron got into the car, took off down I-95, and eventually flipped his car.

Fadgen was ejected from the vehicle and thrown about six feet, the complaint states, where he was discovered to have sustained a massive head injury.

Philadelphia emergency medical service personnel declared Fadgen dead at 2:27 a.m.

The lawsuit accuses the establishment of serving Fadgen alcohol despite his visibly intoxicated state.

The plaintiff’s lawyers are suing under the theories of agency and respondeat superior.

The suit contains counts of wrongful death and survival action.

Fadgen, Jr. claims he incurred medical and other costs relating to his son’s treatment and subsequent death.

The law firm that filed the complaint contends that Fadgen, III might be alive today if Club Risque’s employees had complied with the state’s liquor liability laws, known as Dram Shop laws, in not over-serving a visibly intoxicated patron.

“Club Risque, as asserted in the Complaint, broke the law by failing to operate in a lawful manner that would have protected George Fadgen from harm – now it must be held accountable for its actions,” Barrett, the plaintiff’s lawyer, said in a statement.

Barrett said that because club employees get commissions on every shot of alcohol poured, there is a financial incentive to overlook a customer who is visibly intoxicated and should be “cut off.”

“With every shot, practically up until the club closed, Mr. Fadgen was one ounce closer to his untimely and preventable death,” Barrett said in his statement.

The plaintiff seeks more than $50,000 in compensatory damages plus interest, costs and attorneys’ fees.

The complaint also seeks punitive damages because of what it labels the “intentional, wanton, willful, outrageous, deliberate, callous and reckless conduct” of Club Risque.


The case ID number is 121000586. 

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