PHILADELPHIA – A plaintiff who alleges a Northeast Philadelphia restaurant recklessly allowed him to be the target of an assault by the establishment’s bouncers is facing criticism those charges of recklessness are insufficiently-pled.
On March 29, Kerron Polk, of Philadelphia, filed suit in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas versus Bridge & Pratt Café, 5207 Ho., Inc. and Jimmy Ho, all also of Philadelphia.
On April 23, 2016, the suit reads that the defendants employed and/or contracted for hire two men as bouncers and/or security officers for the bar, and Polk ordered take-out food from the bar and went to the bar to pick it up.
Outside the bar, the bouncers asked the plaintiff to pay a cover charge and the plaintiff explained that the bar did not charge a cover for customers who were only going there to pick up food, he says.
After Polk agreed to leave the bar, one of the bouncers allegedly pushed him against the wall in front of the bar. The second bouncer then tripped the plaintiff from behind, causing the plaintiff to fall to the ground and then pinned him to the ground, the suit claims.
While the plaintiff was on the ground and restrained, one of the bouncers drew an allegedly-unlicensed pistol put it against Polk’s face and threatened him, he says.
“The bouncers recklessly and negligently used excessive force in dealing with plaintiff. A properly-trained security professional would not have used any force in that situation and plaintiff would not have suffered any injuries or harm,” the suit states.
The defendants failed to properly screen and train employees regarding professional codes of conduct and treatment of patrons, negligently hired unqualified personnel to act as bouncers and/or security guards, and negligently failed to perform necessary background checks and screening of their bouncers, among numerous other charges.
As a result of the bouncers’ alleged assault, severe emotional distress, depression, fatigue, decreased energy and anxiety, post-traumatic cervical and thoracic sprain and strain with associated myofascitis of the paravertebral muscles, post-traumatic lumbosacral sprain and strain with associated myofascitis of the paravertebral muscles, myofascitis of the upper trapezius muscles, post-traumatic cephalgia, bilateral shoulder sprain and strain, right forearm hematoma and post-traumatic arthritis.
In preliminary objections filed May 29, defense counsel John G. Devlin argued Polk did not request punitive damages in the complaint, yet alleged that his clients’ Bridge and Pratt Cafe and 5207 Ho, Inc.’s “negligence and/or recklessness caused the alleged incident and plaintiff’s injuries, at Paragraphs 16, 18-23, 37, and 45.”
“Moving defendants, Bridge and Pratt Cafe and 5207 Ho, Inc., preliminarily object to plaintiff's use of the terms ‘recklessness,’ ‘reckless,’ and ‘recklessly’ in his complaint, because there are no facts pled in the complaint to support such language,” Devlin said.
For multiple counts of negligence against each defendant, the plaintiff is seeking damages not in excess of $50,000, plus interest, costs and delay damages pursuant to Pa.R.C.P. 238.
The plaintiff is represented by Joseph F. Schwartz of Silver & Silver, in Ardmore.
The defendants are represented by John G. Devlin of Devlin & Associates, in Philadelphia.
Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 180400015
From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at firstname.lastname@example.org