Bouncer / Security Liability

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Bars and nightclubs are synonymous with fun – they are places where people drink, dance and “let loose.”    Bouncers (or security) are responsible for maintaining a safe and peaceful environment for everyone to enjoy.  Unfortunately, some patrons become unruly, aggressive and, sometimes, combative.  When this happens, the bouncers are required to intervene. Responsible bar owners take the time (and incur the expense) to properly hire, train and supervise their bouncers to prepare them for dealing with those “problem” patrons in a non-violent manner.   But when bouncers are not properly trained, screened and/or managed, unnecessary violence can lead to traumatic injuries.

Under Michigan law, a bar owner may be held “vicariously” liable for injuries caused by its employee (bouncer) if the employee was acting in the course and scope (or apparent scope) of his employment to accomplish some business objective – so long as the employee’s acts are not clearly inappropriate or unforeseeable in the accomplishment of an authorized result.

A bar and/or its owner may also be held liable for the injuries caused by its bouncers where it can be shown that the owner is “directly” negligent.   In some instances, a bar owner may be required to compensate an injured patron where it has been shown that the bar failed to properly hire, train or supervise its employees, and this failure was a “proximate” cause of the person’s injuries.  For example, where a bar owner employs a violent felon with a history or propensity for violence, the owner may be held liable when the employee engages in violence which results in injury to a patron.

In addition to the bar, a bouncer himself may be held liable for injuries caused by him under an assault and battery theory.   An individual who has been the victim of an assault and battery may file a civil cause of action against the person responsible for their injuries to recover both economic (wages, medical expenses and out-of-pocket losses) and non-economic damages (“pain and suffering”).

Vince Colella is an experienced litigator who has represented victims of bouncer and security violence.  If you have been the victim of a violent attack by a security guard, bouncer or employee of a bar or nightclub, call 1.800.MUSTWIN to schedule a free consultation.

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