Parents of young man shot and killed outside Philly social club claim its negligence led to the tragedy

By Nicholas Malfitano | Dec 5, 2018

PHILADELPHIA – The parents of a young man killed in an altercation at an area social club two years ago are taking legal action against the club for its alleged vicarious negligence, which one of the defendants maintains is a baseless claim.

Emelie Rodriguez (both individually and as administratrix of the Estate of Nathaniel Rodriguez) and Nathan Rodriguez of Philadelphia filed suit in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas on Aug. 26 versus the Fraternal Association of Joseph Pilsudski and Adams & Tabor Real Estate, LP, both also of Philadelphia.

“Upon information and belief, on or about the early morning (approximately 4:00 a.m.) of Oct. 30, 2016, the subject bar, an establishment that serves and sells alcohol, was still open and illegally and impermissibly serving alcohol to patrons after the 2:00 a.m. legal deadline for the cutoff alcohol sales/service, in violation of applicable local, State and Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board regulations, when plaintiff, a patron of the subject bar, exited the premises,” according to the lawsuit.

“As plaintiff’s decedent and plaintiff Nathan Rodriguez exited the subject bar and began to enter the parking lot owned, managed, and controlled by Adams & Tabor, when they were confronted by an unknown person with a handgun. While there were surveillance cameras set up on Adams & Tabor’s premises as well as the exterior of the subject bar, no one was assigned to view, monitor or respond to the incidents displayed on the camera screens, and there was no security personnel in the parking lot area, despite many prior assaults to business invitees of which the defendants were well-aware.”

At that time, the assailant shot both the decedent and Nathan Rodriguez, the suit says. Nathan collapsed, while Nathaniel was killed. 

Though the plaintiffs assert no claims for assault and battery, they do argue the defendants were negligent in the performance of their duty as proprietors, servers of alcoholic beverages, managers, bouncers and security personnel, for failing to prevent the murder of the decedent.

For counts of negligence and punitive damages, the plaintiffs are seeking damages, jointly and separately, in an amount in excess of $50,000, together with interest, cost of suit and such other relief as this Court may deem proper.

In an answer filed Sept. 21, defendant Adams & Tabor Real Estate, L.P. argued Pennsylvania does not recognize an independent cause of action for “punitive damages” and that claim should be stricken from the complaint, portions of the parking lot in question are owned and operated by an entity separate from the answering defendant and it allegedly had no involvement with the operation of the co-defendant’s business.

Adams & Tabor Real Estate also seeks a judgment for common law, contractual indemnity and reimbursement of attorney’s fees.

Through a response also filed Sept. 21, the plaintiffs labeled the new matter as conclusions of law to which no responsive pleading was required.

For counts of negligence and punitive damages, the plaintiffs are seeking damages, jointly and separately, in an amount in excess of $50,000, together with interest, cost of suit and such other relief as this Court may deem proper.

The plaintiffs are represented by David P. Thiruselvam and Keith Thomas West of the Law Offices of David P. Thiruselvam, in Philadelphia.

The defendants are represented by John J. Hatzell Jr. of Haddix & Associates, also in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 180802531

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at nick.malfitano@therecordinc.com

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Law Offices of David P. Thiruselvam LLC Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas

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