Bar Found Liable to Patrons for Severe Injuries Due to Assault in Parking Lot

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Bars have an obligation to provide security to their patrons - even if an assault occurs outside the bar. The Illinois Appellate Court recently confirmed this rule of law in a June 2018 case where Maxum Sports Bar & Grill, in Willowbrook, Illinois, was held responsible for serious injuries sustained by patrons during an attack in the bar’s parking lot.

On October 24, 2010, in the parking lot of Maxum Sports Bar & Grill, Rebecca Oberjat and Richard Cooke were badly battered by fellow patron Antoine Matthews. They sued the bar claiming the bar knew the attack was likely to happen and that bar management did nothing to protect the plaintiffs. The bar denied any wrongdoing. 

The court’s decision confirms the responsibility of bar owners to protect patrons from an attack that they should reasonably foresee arising. The trial court found that Maxum failed in its legal obligation to Rebecca Oberjat and Richard Cook by:

  1. Failing to eject the assailant, Antoine Matthews from the premises when the security guards saw him confront Rebecca and Richard at the exit to the bar,
  2. Allowing the assailant Matthews to follow plaintiffs Rebecca and Cook into the parking lot after he had initially attacked them and that Maxum knew or should have known that Matthews would continue his assault and battery, and
  3. Failing to provide plaintiffs with a safe means of leaving the bar property.

How a Bar May Be Liable for Attacks Occurring Outside the Bar

All three were patrons who were leaving Maxum Sports Bar when the attack occurred. The 3 had been in a pool game. Matthews took issue with something that occurred during the game. Matthews then proceeded to yell loudly, gesture aggressively, and continued with such behavior in eyesight and earshot of Maxum bouncers who did nothing. Rebecca and Richard then attempted to leave. They got out of the bar and out to the parking lot. Matthews assaulted them in the parking lot. Rebecca had multiple fractures, required surgery, and has permanent pain and disability.

The court noted: “Maxum, through its bouncers, knew, prior to the attack, that Matthews was angry that night. They also knew that Matthews was angry with Cooke. In addition, Jarosz directed Maxum staff to ‘shadow’ Matthews that night, because Matthews had been arguing with other patrons. Further, the staff knew that just prior to the attack Matthews shouted obscenities at Cooke, threatened Cooke, and grabbed Cooke outside Maxum's front entrance, and Cooke and Oberjat had asked one of the bouncers for help dealing with Matthews. Grimm removed Matthews from the premises for bad behavior but allowed him to leave in the same direction as Oberjat and Cooke had, about one minute after they left. Given these facts and the bouncers' inaction, Matthews' criminal attack was reasonably foreseeable to Maxum.”

Bar Victims Filed Civil Suit

The victims filed a civil suit in Du Page County court. Based on the facts and the law, they received compensation. Rebeccas Objerat was awarded $2,894,519.09 in damages while Richard Cooke received $50,622.29. Oberjat was found 50% liable for the incident because she did verbally escalate the environment, entitling her to only half of the award. The Illinois Appellate Court affirmed the civil trial court’s decision. In criminal court, Matthews served three years in the Illinois Department of Corrections for aggravated battery.

Bar Liability for Injuries Due to Intoxication

Injured bar patrons have another remedy under the Illinois Liquor Control Act, also known as the Dram Shop Act. Patrons who are served an excessive amount of alcohol are entitled to bring an action under Illinois’ Liquor Control Act, sometimes referred to as Illinois’ dram shop law. This law provides a legal remedy to patrons injured in bars when an excessive amount of alcohol was served to an assailant, which subsequently led to patron injuries.

Contact Chicago’s Premier Bar Assault Injury Lawyer

If you or someone you know has been seriously injured in an altercation while enjoying a few drinks in the Windy City, time is critical in bringing a civil action against the bar owners and managers. The bar assault injury lawyers at the Blumenshine Law Group focus solely and exclusively on major injury and insurance claims, offering no-obligation consultations with an informative team member. Contact or text us today at (312)766-1000 or email [email protected].

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