Gold Club patrons making it rain lawsuits

David Yates Oct. 18, 2011, 4:00am

If lawsuits were dollar bills, the Gold Club might be able to pay its employees with all the litigation brought against the exotic dancing establishment this year alone.

Since January, five lawsuits have been filed against Beaumont-based Fannett Entertainment, doing business as Gold Club, in Jefferson County District Court.

Except for one wrongful death case, most of the suits brought against Gold Club were filed by patrons alleging bouncers should have applied a softer touch while restraining them.

For example, Phillip Smith sued Gold Club in September for failing "to handle minor disputes without assaulting customers."

Although all four personal injury suits contend Gold Club bouncers assaulted the plaintiffs, none of the suits state what prompted the alleged violent encounters.

In fact, most of the suits maintain the plaintiffs were attacked without warning, as such is the case in a suit filed by Lloyd Fore and Wayne Fregia.

The two men sued in January alleging Fore was "sucker punched by a former" Gold Club employee, court papers say.

Keeping with the surprise attack trend is plaintiff Brandon Sparks, who sued Gold Club in September, claiming he was attending a party at the establishment to watch a fight on pay-per-view when two men assaulted him from behind.

Nevertheless, the most ambiguous lawsuit of the four personal injury cases belongs to Carl Caldwell, who sued the company in March alleging two bouncers and a Gold Club manager became "physically violent" with him.

Caldwell's suit does not state why the bouncers were provoked, nor does it describe Caldwell's alleged injuries, which he will allegedly "suffer for the remainder of his life."

Gold Club attorney Aaron Pool declined to comment on any of the five suits filed against the company.

However, Gold Club did file an amended answer to Fore and Fregia's suit on July 19, asserting a defense of contributory negligence, court records show.

A recent courthouse search revealed that none of the other three suits filed in September have been answered yet.

The latest suit to be brought against Gold Club was filed on Sept. 30 by the parents Ashley Hollyfield, a mother of two and former Gold Club employee who was killed while driving home intoxicated after leaving the exotic dancing establishment.

In that suit, Duane and Susan Willis allege Gold Club purposefully served Hollyfield alcohol beverages during her shift before allowing her to drive home intoxicated.

Pool is an attorney for the Houston law firm Donato, Minx, Brown & Pool.

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