Chicago men claim they were not given VIP treatment at East St. Louis nightclub

Andrea Dearden Sep. 8, 2011, 6:11am

Three Chicago men who claim they were beat up by employees of an East St. Louis nightclub have refiled a lawsuit against the club and its owner.

Anthony Matthews, Robert Gillespie and Christopher Doby filed the complaint Aug. 15 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against La Bon Vie Corporation, doing business as Club Casino, and owner Cedric Taylor.

Matthews, Gillespie and Doby, all from Chicago, say they were in East St. Louis in February 2009 to make promotional appearances at various nightclubs. According to the complaint, the men were invited to appear at Club Casino on Feb. 20 and went there believing they would "receive V.I.P. or preferred treatment."

The three say they arrived at the nightclub at about 3 a.m. and attempted to enter. Matthews, Gillespie and Doby say they were met by a number of Club Casino employees, including Taylor. The men say the employees informed them they would not be receiving any special treatment and would be required to pay a cover charge.

Matthews, Gillespie and Doby say they were in the process of paying the cover with "without warning or a reasonable basis," one of the employees allegedly grabbed Matthews and punched him in the eye. The man calls the incident "completely unprovoked." Taylor is accused of being involved in the alleged assault.

Gillespie and Doby were allegedly punched by security personnel working at Club Casino, causing the Chicago men to be hurt. After the alleged beating, the two contend they were wrongfully detained in handcuffs until East St. Louis Police arrived.

The men say the owner and employees of Club Casino were confident they could detain the group and -- based on "existing customs, policies and practices" -- have the three arrested and prosecuted without any serious investigation into the validity of any complaints against them. The Chicago men say a witness took pictures of the alleged assault but claim the camera was seized by a Club Casino employee and later returned with the pictures missing.

Gillespie and Matthews say they were arrested, falsely jailed and forced to make bond based on the word of Taylor and no other evidence or information. They claim Taylor's statements caused false charges to be filed against them. Court records show those charges were later dismissed.

Doby was allegedly injured but not arrested. He says he received a head injury that resulted in a concussion that was later treated by medical staff in Chicago. According to the complaint, Gillespie and Matthews were taken to a local hospital for medical treatment after being released from the custody of East St. Louis police.

Matthews, Gillespie and Doby accuse Club Casino and Taylor of negligence for allegedly failing to properly hire, train and supervise employees not to assault patrons, unlawfully detain them or communicate false and misleading information to police. They also accuse the club and its owner of assault and battery.

The three men say the alleged incident at the nightclub caused them physical injuries, fear, emotional distress, shock, pain, suffering and a monetary loss. They are each asking for more than $100,000 in actual damages from the two defendants along with punitive and compensatory awards.

Attorney Al W. Johnson of St. Louis is representing Matthews, Gillespie and Doby.

Court records show a previous complaint based on the same allegations was filed in the U.S. District Court for Southern Illinois in October 2009 dismissed by the Court in December 2010.

St. Clair County Circuit Court Case No. 11-L-461

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