Walter Pierce

Downtown club facing civil suit, trial today

by Walter Pierce

Following a preliminary hearing before Judge Herman Clause this morning, two sides in a civil trial over allegations of bouncer brutality will be back in a Lafayette courtroom for jury selection early this afternoon.

In a suit filed against Nite Town on Jefferson Street, Richard Le and Edward Prince claim bouncers at the club used excessive force, 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. The suit seeks unspecified general damages as well as damages for medical expenses.

“You ought to be able to go buy a drink without the coup de grace put on you,” said plaintiff attorney Darriel McCorvey outside the Lafayette Parish Courthouse today following the hearing. Jury selection will begin at 1:30 p.m. The trial is expected to last two to three days.

If Le and Prince prevail, Nite Town — not its insurance company — will be liable for any damages awarded by the jury. As The INDsider reported on April 3 (“Downtown club on hook in damages suit”), 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.