For the week of July 7, 1999  thru July 13, 1999  

Mint patron claims beating by security guards


By GREG MOORE
Express Staff Writer

A lawsuit has been filed against Bruce Willis’s Valley Entertainment Corp. by a former patron of The Mint Restaurant and Bar in Hailey alleging that he was beaten up by security guards there one night in September 1997. Two guards and a bartender are also listed as defendants.

According to the complaint, filed June 23 in Fifth District Court in Hailey, plaintiff Dale Fischer tried to order a beer from an unidentified bartender during a concert at The Mint when he was recognized by a second bartender.

The complaint states that the second bartender, defendant Will Berry, "came down to the end of the bar where Plaintiff was standing and said to Plaintiff from across the bar, ‘Do you remember me?’"

"Plaintiff acknowledged that he remembered meeting Defendant Berry, and after Plaintiff’s acknowledgment, Defendant Berry then said to Plaintiff ‘Paybacks are a bitch; you’re cut-off,’ and immediately thereafter, Defendant Berry spoke to the unidentified bartender and told the bartender not to serve Plaintiff a drink," the complaint says. "Plaintiff was not intoxicated, belligerent, causing problems or otherwise and there was not good cause or just reason for Defendant Berry or any other bartender not to serve Plaintiff as requested.

"Plaintiff then walked away from the bar, but soon thereafter returned to the bar and again ordered a drink from the unidentified bartender who had earlier seemed willing to serve the Plaintiff. The bartender said ‘No problem’ and went to grab the requested beer for Plaintiff. Defendant Berry then came to the end of the bar where Plaintiff had ordered the drink from the other bartender and defendant Berry then said to the Plaintiff ‘You’re cut off and you’re out of here,’ while at the same time making a motion with his arm and thumb over his shoulder.

"Defendant Berry by his statement ‘You’re cut-off and you’re out of here," combined with Defendant Berry’s hand signal, served as an immediate command to Defendant (Shane) Quarles, Defendant John Doe, security guards and employees of The Mint Bar, Inc., who then grabbed Plaintiff from behind and held him in a ‘Full Nelson,’ whereby Plaintiff’s arms were locked behind Plaintiff’s head by the security guard, the security guard placing his hands up around the back of Plaintiff's neck with Plaintiff's head being forced down towards the floor… .

"Plaintiff had not been given a chance to leave The Mint Bar after being told to do so by Defendant Berry. Rather, the security guards and other employees of The Mint Bar, Inc., immediately, on command, grabbed Plaintiff… ."

The suit claims that The Mint employees assaulted and battered Fischer by "dragging Plaintiff across the upstairs of The Mint Bar; dragging Plaintiff down the stairs of The Mint Bar; hitting Plaintiff across the face; throwing Plaintiff out onto the sidewalk in front of The Mint Bar, while at the same time blocking exit of all persons within the bar. In particular, Defendants blocked the exit to witnesses to the event who tried to follow Plaintiff and exit the bar and render aid to Plaintiff."

The complaint alleges that the employees cut Fischer’s eye, which required stitches and left a scar.

The suit is asking for general damages of an amount to be proven at trial, $50,000 in punitive damages and $20,000 in attorney’s fees.

Valley Entertainment could not be reached for comment on the suit.

 

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