BEAUMONT – A punch bag game at Madison’s Bar encourages violent tendencies in patrons drinking at the bar and somehow linked to the death of Chad York, who was shot multiple times by an off-duty police officer, according to a recently filed lawsuit.
Seeking more than $1 million in damages, York’s family filed suit against Madison’s Restaurants under the Dram Shop Act on Oct. 12 in Jefferson County District Court.
The family also filed a suit against the city of Beaumont in federal court that same day.
Officer Chase Aaron Welch shot and killed York in the parking lot of Madison’s Bar and Restaurant on Oct. 14, 2016. Welch was cleared by a grand jury after the incident.
While the suit against the city accuses it of condoning a “code of silence” to cover up the shooting, the suit against Madison’s offers a theory on why the shooting occurred.
“Amongst other games, Madison’s has a punching bag in its bar, which it calls the douche bag machine,” the suit states. “Madison’s incentives people to exhibit their violent tendencies by them getting a high score each time they punch the bag.
“Some of the patrons were actively using the punching bag while drinking.”
The incident started when York confronted his ex-girlfriend and was sucker punched by Levi Severson, a known troublemaker, according to the lawsuit.
York was then confronted by Madison’s employees and Welch, who allegedly engaged in petty name-calling and threats with York. Welch then shot York multiple times, even as York attempted to flee.
“After the shooting, off-duty Officer Welch dropped his gun and ran away,” the suit states. “Upon information and belief, Chaz (York) was shot in the back as he turned to run away from the from the conflict with Officer Welch.
“Beaumont police department came to Madison’s but no one from Madison’s called (them) to the scene.”
Madison’s is accused of failing to protect York from Severson and Welch.
“Madison’s breach of its duty to Chaz (York) as an invitee caused his death,” the suit states. “Alcohol had been flowing freely, and kids were actively engaged in violent behavior at the punching bag which was owned by Madison’s.”
Madison’s is further accused of gross negligence for allowing “incompetent” employees to maintain the bar and protect the safety of patrons.
In addition to punitive damages, the plaintiffs are suing for York’s lost wages and burial expenses.
They are represented by Clint Brasher and also attorneys for the Weller Green Toups & Terrell law firm in Beaumont.
Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court, has been assigned to the case.
Case No. E-202765