Frohloff v. Demkowicz Management
A jury can award an individual who allegedly is assaulted at a nightclub by a nightclub worker economic damages for medical expenses and loss of wages and non-economic damages for pain and suffering. On April 21, 2009, the plaintiff, Tyler Frohloff, went to the defendants' nightclub, the Hollywood Lounge, and allegedly was assaulted by the defendants' employee, Jason Dubowsky. The plaintiff sued the defendants, alleging that the defendants negligently failed to protect him and to maintain reasonably safe premises. The plaintiff filed an offer to compromise in the amount of $95,000 that the defendants rejected. At trial, the plaintiff presented evidence that the plaintiff's past medical expenses were $45,112, that the plaintiff's loss of wages were $5,600 and that the plaintiff's future medical expenses were $5,000. At the close of the plaintiff's case, the defendants requested that the court issue a directed verdict for the defendants. The court reserved judgment, and the jury awarded the plaintiff $55,712 in economic damages and $275,000 in non-economic damages, for pain and suffering. The court treated the defendants' motion for a directed verdict for the defendants as a motion to set aside the verdict. "A trial court may set aside a verdict on a finding that the verdict is manifestly unjust because, given the evidence presented, the jury mistakenly applied a legal principle or because there is no evidence to which the legal principles of the case could be applied," pursuant to Deas v. Diaz, a decision of the Connecticut Appellate Court. The jury reasonably could have found that activities that took place on the defendants' premises prior to the plaintiff's assault placed the defendants on notice that an assault might take place; that the defendants did not take adequate action to prevent an assault; and that the plaintiff's assault was within the scope of the risk created by the defendants' alleged negligence. The court denied the defendants' motion to set aside the plaintiff's verdict and awarded the plaintiff interest of $75,423 in connection with the plaintiff's offer of compromise, plus costs of $1,494 and attorneys' fees of $350, pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes §52-192a.