Club owner sued for locking doors during melee

Kelly Holleran Jun. 16, 2009, 5:52am

A Beaumont man is suing a nightclub and its owner, saying he broke his foot after he was locked inside the club when a fight broke out.

Kelton Gaines filed a lawsuit June 12 in Jefferson County District Court against Club Essence LLC and Michael Wayne Artis Jr.

Gaines says he entered the Beaumont night club on May 9. While he was there, a fight broke out.

According to the complaint, Gaines tried to leave the club. However, Artis had blocked and locked the exit to the club and would let no one out, Gaines claims.

"Without being able to escape to safety outside of the Club, Plaintiff was forced to defend himself while trapped inside the Club," the complaint says. "Plaintiff was unable to defend himself and was subsequently hit in the face by a fist or another object.

"Plaintiff was knocked to the floor and then was subsequently hit and kicked, which injured Plaintiff's face, ribs and broke Plaintiff's foot."

Because of the incident, Gaines incurred medical costs, experienced physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress and lost earnings, the suit states.

Club Essence failed to hire sufficient staff and security personnel to ensure a safe environment and hired employees that were not qualified to perform their job duties, according to the complaint.

Gaines is seeking damages within the jurisdictional limits of the court, plus pre- and post-judgment interest, costs and other relief to which he may be entitled.

John Pat Parsons of The Lindsay Law Firm in Beaumont will be representing him.

The case has been assigned to Judge Gary Sanderson, 60th District Court.

Jefferson County Circuit Court case number: B184-295.

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