Nicholas Marino Awarded Summary Judgment in Negligence Action Stemming from Patron’s Assault After Being Denied Re-Entry to Manhattan Bar

Nicholas Marino, a partner with the firm, recently received a significant summary judgment victory for his client, Mercury Bar East, from Justice Margaret Chan in Supreme Court, New York County.

Plaintiff was a patron at the client’s bar, where she spent an hour with a friend. After temporarily exiting the bar to smoke and converse with another patron, she was denied re-entry to the establishment by a third-party security guard, presumably based upon her level of intoxication. After making unsuccessful attempts to re-enter, the plaintiff left the premises without her belongings or her friend. Plaintiff alleged that because she was denied access to her belongings, she had no alternative but to walk more than a mile to her apartment building. As she made her way home, Plaintiff (whose memory of the events was very poor) encountered a woman who accompanied her on the walk. After passing through the building lobby together in the sight of security guards, Plaintiff was subsequently assaulted within the building by this woman, who was arrested that same night.

Plaintiff brought suit against Mercury Bar, alleging the bar was negligent in failing to safeguard her from foreseeable harm that resulted from its denial of her re-entry to reunite with her friend and belongings. Plaintiff also argued that her memory loss had resulted from her being drugged at Mercury Bar, which knew or should have known about such activity on its property.

In her decision to grant Mercury Bar’s motion for summary judgment and dismiss all claims against his client, Justice Chan adopted Nicholas’ arguments that Mercury Bar owed the Plaintiff no duty to permit her re-entry under the circumstances, that Plaintiff’s the assault was not foreseeable as a matter of law, and that the bar’s conduct was not a proximate cause of Plaintiff’s assault. Addressing the public policy implications of Plaintiff’s lawsuit, Judge Chan ruled that to hold Mercury Bar responsible for a future, off-premises assault would “significantly enlarge the obligation of public establishment owners to their patrons,” reiterating that “public establishments cannot be an insurer of safety for their patrons.”

Nicholas concentrates his practice on civil litigation, particularly the defense of landlords and contractors in New York Labor Law, environmental exposure, mass tort and premises liability matters, from inception to trial.

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