Walter Pierce

Downtown club on hook in damages suit

by Walter Pierce

A downtown Lafayette night club, and not its insurance company, will have to face any possible damages awarded through a civil suit filed by two former patrons, according to a ruling handed down this week by the Third Circuit Court of Appeal in Lake Charles. The lawsuit against Nite Town on Jefferson Street, seeking unspecified damages, was filed nearly two years ago in state district court in Lafayette but has been knotted up by a squabble between the club and its insurer.

Soon after the suit was filed against Nite Town by Richard Le and Edward Prince, Markel International Insurance Co., Nite Town’s insurer, sought and received a summary judgment shielding it from liability. Nite Town appealed to the Third Circuit, but the three-judge panel sided with Markel, citing an assault and/or battery exclusion in Nite Town’s insurance policy.

The suit alleges that on Oct. 1, 2006, bouncers at Nite Town used excessive force against Le and Prince, causing serious injuries that required medical attention. Court documents show Nite Town disputes the account, arguing that Le and Prince started the fight with Nite Town bouncers. A jury is set to hear the case May 11.