Defense Verdict – Bergen County Superior Court

Grasso v. Rise Nightclub
In Grasso, plaintiff was a patron of our client’s nightclub. He was involved in an altercation inside the club and another patron was ejected. Plaintiff, concerned for his safety, asked to be walked to his car. Security did just that and watched as plaintiff and his friend got into their vehicle and then went back in to the club as it was closing. After driving to the front of the club, plaintiff decided to get out of the vehicle to speak to a girl who was waving to him. He walked to the parking lot and she proceeded to intentionally run him over and leave the scene. As a result of being hit by the car, plaintiff underwent four knee surgeries including complete repairs of his ACL, PCL and MCL in his left knee. He lost one year of work and had substantial medical bills.

At trial, plaintiff alleged the Rise was negligent in its security as it should have had someone posted in the parking lot at closing. Lodi police officers testified at trial that they were called to the nightclub on a number of occasions due to fights. Plaintiff also had a security expert who testified that based upon the number of prior incidents and the type of business being run, that the incident in question was forseeable. He also opined that security for the club was inadequate as there was no security in the parking lot.

Christopher Mauro argued that security discharged its duty owed when it walked plaintiff safely to his vehicle. Moreover, the incident was not foreseeable as plaintiff and the woman that ran him over had no interaction in the club and there was no reason to believe that he would get back out of his car after he asked security to walk him to his vehicle.

After a 10 day trial before Judge Esther De La Cruz, the jury unanimously returned a verdict in favor of the Rise.