PHILADELPHIA – A pair of lawsuits involving customers at local tavern establishments allegedly being assaulted by fellow patrons who were overserved will have motions come before the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas this week.

In September 2012, Philadelphia resident John Huttick filed suit against city establishment New Princeton Tavern, plus individuals Matthew A. Brunelli, Matthew Kavanaugh and Brian Clerkin, all of Philadelphia, for an incident which took place at the New Princeton Tavern in August 2011.

On the evening of Aug. 17, 2011, into the early morning hours of Aug. 18, 2011, the lawsuit claims the three male defendants were patrons of the New Princeton Tavern, located on Rising Sun Avenue in Philadelphia.

During that time, the suit claims Brunelli, Kavanaugh and Clerkin all became intoxicated through overserving and overconsumption of alcoholic beverages – a violation of Pennsylvania state law’s Dram Shop Act.

After allegedly all becoming intoxicated, they made contact with Huttick and an altercation ensued. In the resulting incident, Huttick allegedly suffered the loss of his left eye, his sense of smell, his short-term memory and cognitive function, in addition to suffering headaches and severe bruising over his head, limbs and body.

According to the lawsuit, the loss of Huttick’s left eye required corrective surgery, the installation of a prosthetic and an eye patch.

Huttick’s suit claims New Princeton Tavern exhibited “recklessness, carelessness and negligence” in allegedly overserving alcohol to the three male defendants.

The plaintiff is seeking in excess of $50,000 in damages, delay damages, costs and punitive damages.

A settlement from defendant Brunelli had been reached in the case in January, for a sum of $185,000. Brunelli is insured by Allstate Insurance, according to court records.

On March 6, Huttick filed a motion through his counsel to enforce disbursement of the settlement funds, in addition to an interest rate of 4.25% from Day 21 of the motion to the date of the funds being delivered, in addition to attorney fees and court costs. However, Huttick later filed to withdraw that motion on April 20.

It is that follow-up withdrawal motion that appears before the court this week for its consideration.

The plaintiff is represented by Kevin R. Marciano, Esq. and Patrick D. MacAvoy, Esq. of Marciano & MacAvoy P.C. in Media.

Counsel for Brunelli is Kevin R. McNulty and Kelly J. Fox of Gerolamo McNulty Divis Lewbart; counsel for Clerkin is Kevin Grady of Grady Law Offices; counsel for Kavanaugh is Mitchell S. Berger and Lisa G. Faden of Ryan Brown Berger & Gibbons; and counsel for New Princeton Tavern is Charles B. Stokes of Russo Toner, LLP. All counsel for the defendants are based in Philadelphia.

In addition, a similar lawsuit filed by a Havertown woman will have an opposing motion for withdrawal of defendants’ counsel come before the Court this week.

In February 2014, Moriah J. McMorran filed a complaint alleging Q&D Inc., the Lamplighter Tavern in Havertown and its owners John P. Quinn and James P. Naughton exhibited negligence and violated the Dram Shop Act in overserving alcoholic beverages to one of their patrons who later attacked the plaintiff and her friend.

On Sep. 15, 2012, and leading into the early morning hours of Sep. 16, 2012, the suit claims the plaintiff, her friend Cairn O’Moore and Havertown resident Brian J. Smarsh were all patrons of the Lamplighter Tavern. The suit claims Smarsh was overserved alcoholic beverages during this period of time and became intoxicated.

At approximately 1:20 a.m. that night, the plaintiff claims Smarsh approached her and O’Moore with intent to harm them, and struck O’Moore over the head with a glass beer bottle. Subsequently, the suit alleges that bottle broke and the glass lacerated the plaintiff’s right forearm and associated tendons, tissue and skin, and further caused her emotional distress.

Though arrested that evening for aggravated assault in connection with that incident, Smarsh is not listed as a defendant in this civil litigation.

The plaintiff’s suit claims the Lamplighter Tavern and its owners/operators were negligent and reckless in continuing to serve Smarsh alcohol that evening to the point of intoxication.

Counsel for the defendants, Nicholas R. Montalto, Esq. filed a motion to withdraw from the litigation, pending the Court’s approval.

The plaintiff is seeking in excess of $50,000 in damages, delay damages, punitive damages and attorney fees plus interest.

The plaintiff is represented by Kenneth R. Schuster, Esq. and Justin M. Bernstein, of Schuster & Associates P.C. in Media.

The defendants are represented by Frederick McBrien, Esq. and Nicholas R. Montalto, Esq. of McBrien & Montalto, P.C. in Norristown.

Huttick: Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 120903411

McMorran: Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 130903082


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