Wrongful death suit filed against Bulldog

by Walter Pierce

Mom accuses the Bulldog of negligence in the roadway death of her intoxicated, under-age son last September.

The Lafayette lawyer for a Pennsylvania woman whose son was killed last September on U.S. 90 has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the owner, manager and insurance company for the Bulldog Pool Hall. Attorney Blake David of the Broussard & David firm filed the suit just after 1 p.m. Tuesday with the 15th Judicial District court in Lafayette on behalf of plaintiff Tracey D. Kulka. Defendants are Shag II, Inc., owned by Shannon Wilkerson, and James Gautreaux, The Bulldog's manager, along with the as-yet unnamed insurance company for the bar.

The suit alleges that on the night of Sept. 22, 2009, and early morning hours of Sept. 23, the bar, "through its employees, knowingly illegally sold and served Kaine J. Kulka alcoholic beverages repeatedly on its premises until he was intoxicated, even though Kaine J. Kulka had not yet attained the age for the lawful purchase of alcoholic beverages under Louisiana law."

Kulka was killed at approximately 1:30 a.m. Sept. 23, 2009, on U.S. 90 at Southpark Road when, for an unknown reason, he either jumped out of or fell out of the bed of a pick-up truck and was struck by a passing vehicle. The Pennsylvania native, who was living in Lafayette at the time and working for a Terrebonne Parish offshore company, was 18 years old.

A source close to the case told The INDsider last week that Lafayette Police are pressing the district attorney's office to let a grand jury review Kulka's death for possible criminal charges against the owner and/or employee(s) of the Bulldog. Neither police nor prosecutors, however, have been willing to discuss the case. Our source says Kulka and his friends were drinking on a tab opened on Kulka's credit card.

Reached for comment late Friday, Wilkerson, the bar's owner, was unable to comment on the allegation that Kulka was running a tab on his credit card; Wilkerson said police investigators confiscated the credit card receipts from the night Kulka was killed and those receipts have not been returned. Wilkerson did, however, say that Kulka had become unruly that night and was compelled by employees to leave the bar around 11 p.m.

Tuesday's lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.