Suit: Chico's had duty to keep patrons safe from beatings by intoxicated persons

Kelly Holleran Jan. 29, 2009, 11:17am

A Madison County man claims he was assaulted, beaten and battered as he was leaving a Wood River lounge.

Thomas Guarino, who was visiting Chico's Lounge as a business invitee, was being followed by Derek Frosting as he exited the lounge on Dec. 28 at 1:30 a.m., according to the complaint filed Jan. 26 in Madison County Circuit Court.

Once outside, Frosting struck Guarino on the head, knocking him to the ground and repeatedly hit Guarino in the face while he was lying on the ground, the suit states.

At the time of the incident, Frosting was intoxicated from liquor he purchased while a patron at Chico's, Guarino alleges.

Because of the attack, Guarino suffered severe physical trauma, severe psychological damage, bodily injury, pain and suffering, mental anguish, a loss of his capacity to enjoy life and incurred medical costs, according to the complaint.

He also lost earnings, the suit states.

Frosting participated in unlawful, harmful and offensive contact and touching, Guarino alleges.

Chico's Lounge was negligent by failing to take action to protect Guarino from receiving injuries from another person, by improperly operating the premises so that Guarino was injured, by failing to provide the necessary personnel required to prevent misconduct from occurring, by failing to protect those on the premises from a person who displayed aggressive behavior, by failing to properly monitor the number of people entering the premises and allowing them to become hostile and by failing to remove Frosting after it became apparent he was violent, according to the complaint.

Chico's had a duty to protect Guarino from an unreasonable risk of harm and should have known through the exercise of ordinary care that its premises was the scene of frequent fights, that it needed to hire security personnel to reduce and prevent the number of fights and that it had a legal duty to protect business invitees and other patrons, the suit states.

However, the lounge negligently failed to provide adequately trained safety personnel, failed to provide adequate supervision of activities taking place on its premises, failed to reasonably anticipate a criminal attack of this type, failed to take any reasonable steps to deter such an incident, failed to intervene in the attack when it started and before Guarino was injured and failed to call the police, Guarino alleges.

In the six-count suit, Guarino is seeking a judgment in excess of $300,000, plus costs and other relief the court deems just.

Randy L. Gori and Allyson M. Romani of Gori, Julian and Associates in Alton will be representing him.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-0057.

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