Early dance termination leads to parking lot fracas, lawsuit

Ann Knef May 14, 2007, 4:00pm

Club Casino

Raneshia Hopkins is suing an East St. Louis nightclub for an injury she sustained four-and-a-half years ago after fights broke out at a teen dance.

Hopkins, who was 15-years-old at the time, claims she was struck by a vehicle in the parking lot while waiting for her mom to pick her up at approximately 11:30 p.m. on Dec. 22, 2002. The dance had ended abruptly and all the teens were expelled from the building onto the surrounding parking lot prior to the end of the dance, the suit claims.

The club is mainly operated as an adult nightclub, but on occasion has been used as a venue for teen dances.

According to the suit filed May 8 in St. Clair County Circuit Court, Hopkins was knocked down and her left leg was run over by a vehicle exiting the parking lot.

Hopkins claims the nightclub played music intended to incite the passions of teenagers in attendance, thereby causing verbal and physical fights to erupt in the crowd.

"That playing music identified with various schools and areas of the community caused groups of teenagers to vocalize their support of their school and area when the song or songs of other areas were placed, to vocalize their disapproval of the songs and other groups," the complaint states.

Hopkins is represented by Jerold H. Goldenhersh of Belleville. She is seeking in excess of $100,000 in compensatory and punitive damages.

The suit claims Club Casino is negligent for failing to provide adequate supervisory personnel to control the crowds of teenagers in the parking lot and of the vehicles attempting to exit the parking lot to prevent vehicle/pedestrian accidents.

"That defendant...failed to supervise and direct the expulsion and departure of the teenagers by causing them all to leave at the same time, creating a hazard of vehicular pedestrian accidents...," the complaint states.

Hopkins claims she has sustained permanent, partially disabling injuries to her left leg, and that among other things, she has been caused to be less gainfully employed and employable due to her partial disability and pain.

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