Case Conclusion Date: 02.19.2010
Practice Area: Litigation
Outcome: Defendant's Verdict
Description: On February 19, 2010, a Hartford jury upheld the actions of the security staff of the Pig's Eye Pub when they attempted to physically escort the Plaintiff, Thomas Marzano, from its premises. This decision addresses a very important issue facing a lot of establishments and provides guidance on how security staff members should properly escort a patron out who does not want to leave. The incident in question took place on March 17, 2007. The Plaintiff was having a heated argument with a female patron who was later discovered to be the Plaintiff's sister. A security staff member testified that he asked them to calm down, and that they did, for a few minutes. The Plaintiff and his sister deny that this first warning occurred. The same staff member testified that approximately twenty minutes later he saw the Plaintiff choking his sister. In response to this observation, the staff member immediately went over and told the Plaintiff he had to leave, wrapped his arms around the Plaintiff, and began walking him towards the front door. The Plaintiff was struggling to get free and fell while he was being walked toward the front door. The Plaintiff and his sister both deny that the Plaintiff ever laid a hand on her that night. The sister did admit that she jumped onto the back of the staff member escorting her brother to the door. While she claims that she did this after her brother fell, three staff members testified that the Plaintiff was still standing just prior to the sister jumping onto the back of the security member. The issue the jury had to decide was whether or not the security member had a reasonable belief that the female patron was in danger when he acted, and that there was an objective basis for the belief that the female patron (the Plaintiff's sister) was at risk of imminent physical harm. In reaching this conclusion in finding in favor of the Defendant establishment, the jury had to also conclude that the security member used only reasonable force to escort the Plaintiff towards the door. In support of the reasonableness of the force utilized, and in addition to the above evidence, there was testimony that the security staff left the Plaintiff alone as soon as he fell and stopped being a security risk. No appeal or post trial motions were filed in the case.