Madison's patron seeks $1M after karaoke free fall

David Yates Oct. 15, 2008, 6:26am

With a belly full of liquid courage, James Lee climbed the stage at Madison's and belted out his favorite karaoke song. After taking his bows, Lee tumbled off the stage.

Lee blames the restaurant for failing to tell him there were no stairs on the stage, and filed a suit against Madison's Restaurants Oct. 14 in Jefferson County District Court. Lee is seeking around a $1 million in lost wages.

In his suit, Lee say on June 23 he went to Madison's on Dowlen to eat and to be entertained, and where "he also enjoyed singing karaoke," a weekly event held on Thursdays at the club.

"When he finished singing karaoke, Lee went to step off of the stage onto the floor," the suit says. "He did not realize that there were no steps in the area where he was leaving the stage. He fell and came down on his knee and ruptured the patella in his knee.

Lee says he "had, at most, two beers" and "was not in any way intoxicated."

The suit continues by saying Lee earned $64,875 a year prior to his fall from karaoke glory and has been unable to return to work since the incident. Lee, 48, claims he had 30 more working years before retirement.

Court documents show that Lee did have surgery performed at the Beaumont Bone & Joint Institute.

"Lee cannot return to his previous position until he has a full release to return to work," the suit says. "He cannot obtain such a full release because of the permanent impairment to his knee."

Lee claims his injury occurred because Madison's failed to put a sign up warning him there were no steps on the stage and kept its stage poorly lit.

"Plaintiff would further show that the lighting on the stage made it very, very difficult for plaintiff and others to see exactly where the stage ended," the suit says.

"Since the date of plaintiff's accident, Madison's has alleviated the situation by putting speakers and other barriers up to mark the areas of the stage where there are no steps leading from the stage."

On top of lost wages, Lee is seeking past and future mental anguish damages and attorney's fees.

He is represented by Beaumont attorney Steven Barkley.

The case has been assigned to Judge Donald Floyd of the 172nd Judicial District.

Case No. E182-532

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