Family of shooting victim sues Club Tiffany for wrongful death

David Yates Jan. 14, 2008, 9:25am

Club Tiffany in Port Arthur

The murder of Marcus Allen made headlines in November after the young man was gunned down at a Port Arthur night club.

Two months following the murder, Allen's parents, Veronica and Alfred Allen, have filed a lawsuit against Club Tiffany and owner Gerald Hatch, claiming the murder was negligently caused because of a lack of security.

The suit was filed in the Jefferson County District Court on Jan. 11.

According to an article in the Port Arthur News, On Nov. 25, 2007, 19-year-old Marcus Allen was shot inside Club Tiffany's, a local hotspot located in the 1000 block of Houston Avenue. Allen, a 2006 Memorial High School graduate, was the ninth homicide victim in the city for 2007.

Darrius Eugene Spearman,19, was arrested in connection with the shooting. Spearman told police he opened fire on Allen after Allen began flashing gang signs in his face.

Investigators are trying to determine if Allen was actually shot inside or outside the nightclub. Some eyewitnesses said the shooting occurred on the dance floor and that a club bouncer moved Allen's body to the parking lot. Hatch has claimed that Allen was alive when he was moved outside.

Media reports stated that authorities had been called to Club Tiffany's 148 times in the past two years.

In their suit, Allen's parents allege Hatch knew, or at least should have known, that his club was "unsafe and presented an unreasonable risk of harm to patrons."

"Defendants had actual knowledge of previous shootings occurring on the subject premises and failed to provide adequate protection for plaintiff and the citizens of Southeast Texas invited to enter (Club Tiffany)," the suit said.

The suit continues by alleging Hatch was negligent for failing to provide adequate security, properly train employees, take preventative action and creating opportunities for criminals to conduct criminal activity.

"Additionally, your Plaintiff would show that the...Defendants as alleged will have such a character as to indicate that they were the result of the conscience indifference to the rights, welfare and safety of your Plaintiff and others similarly situated," the suit said.

"Therefore, Defendants are guilty of gross negligence for which they should be held liable in punitive and exemplary damages."

Allen's parents are also suing for the wages he would have earned over his lifetime, his mental anguish and funeral expenses, plus loss of love and companionship and all court costs.

The plaintiffs are requesting a trial by jury and are represented by the Law offices of Gilbert T. Adams.

Judge Gary Sanderson, 60th Judicial District, has been assigned to the case.

Case No. B180-004

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