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Club Vinyl lawsuit: Can venues be held liable for the actions of their bouncers?

Categories: Business, News

janny barizonte in vinyl.JPG
Barizonte inside Vinyl, where the melee began.
Accounts of who instigated what vary widely, but the parties agree that Barizonte and one other woman were dancing on the ledge of a column (see picture) in the crowded club and were asked to step down. Barizonte says she complied, only to be swarmed and attacked without provocation.

"Somebody pulled me and pushed me to the ground and was kicking me," she says. "I couldn't tell who it was. At first I thought it was gang members. It was really random."

At that point, another member of Barizonte's group, law student Dayren Suarez, returned from the rest room, allegedly saw a woman-- later identified as Malia Calip -- attacking Barizonte, and tried to separate them. Soon, other members of the security team had restrained Suarez and Barizonte's boyfriend and were hauling all four of the group outside.

A report on the incident written by Darryl Honor of LDH presents a different version, alleging that Barizonte had struck Calip repeatedly and that her boyfriend "looked as if he had hostile intentions." According to Honor, his crew responded with necessary force to contain the situation and restrain the "intolerably drunk" females. That apparently included Honor sitting on top of a face-down, cuffed Barizonte on the pavement outside, with a knee in her back; even so, he claims, she somehow managed to kick him in the face and chip a tooth.

Barizonte denies assaulting Calip or Honor. "This guy was sitting on me," she says. "I was screaming and crying and cursing. I was saying I didn't do anything and they couldn't treat people like this. They said, 'Shut the F up.'"

The security team turned Suarez and Barizonte over to the Denver police. Barizonte says she was never read her rights and didn't even learn what the charges were until she was released from custody late the next day. At the jail, she continued to loudly proclaim her innocence: "My whole world was crumbling before my eyes. This one deputy got really aggravated with me. I was pleading with her. She grabbed my head and banged it against a plexiglass window."

That event was caught on videotape. The deputy was fired, and Barizonte received an out-of-court settlement from the city for the assault. But that didn't prevent her and Suarez from having to go trial on misdemeanor charges of assault, disturbing the peace and "disorderly intoxication."

At a bench trial, Honor, Calip and another LDH employee testified for the prosecution. Curiously, although Vinyl has numerous cameras in the club, video recordings of the incident were reported as destroyed and never presented as evidence. The police had done virtually no investigation of the complaint on their own, and Calip's and Honor's claims of injuries proved less than persuasive to the presiding judge. Barizonte and Suarez were acquitted on all counts.

Continue for more about the Vinyl lawsuit.

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Club Vinyl

1082 Broadway, Denver, CO

Category: Music


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69 comments
Evan James
Evan James

not if the bouncers doing his job to control a drunk asshole bout to start shit. and if he hits the bouncer he has all means to knock his ass out where he stands and wait for police.

Patricia Sparrow
Patricia Sparrow

Funny thing is I go to another SoCo club every weekend and I cannot imagine the staff ever behaving in that manner and then I realized those "thugs" were not staff they were external security hired by the club. So perhaps the company that initially hired these guys should look at their hiring practices?

Mike Milos
Mike Milos

I would certainly hope the club would be liable for their door thugs.

ryanjohnsmith1013
ryanjohnsmith1013

Missing video tapes. How convenient.

If a bartender can be held liable for overserving then these testosterone fueled MMA wannabee meatheads should be as well.

Talk about getting a lesson in law.

Chrissy Anderson
Chrissy Anderson

I've actually found that is quite a big issue around Denver. Denver requires guards to obtain a merchant guard card license which also requires you to be employed through a company which meets all of their requirements. A lot of individuals/business are not following the 'rules' just to save money and things like this happen. Businesses need to check on the company they're hiring to make sure they are validated properly. Anyone can say they're a security guard however only a few actually have all the requirements needed to work in Denver. Other cities don't require the Merchant Guard card either. Owners of businesses need to be aware of the situation!!

Chrissy Anderson
Chrissy Anderson

Exactly. It's very irresponsible to either operate a security business with no insurance &/or hire one that is not insured!

Slo Pain
Slo Pain

It's a bit ridiculous a venue owner should be liable of their guards to the point to ensure they have the proper insurance.

Chrissy Anderson
Chrissy Anderson

I wonder if those guards had Merchant Guard Card Licenses for Denver. You shouldn't be able to get a license through Denver if you have violent charges like that?!?!?

Chrissy Anderson
Chrissy Anderson

That is so irritating ... companies shouldn't be allowed to hire 'indepent contractors' that aren't insured... and if they do they should be liable for the situtation that occured!! I can't believe that happened ... I feel bad for that girl! :'(

domgess
domgess

I hope Vinyl pulls all their advertising from Westword for this badly researched hit piece.  First of all the state of Colorado does the background checks and issues merchant guard licenses so your title should be "Can the state of Colorado be held liable for the actions of their merchant guard licensing program?" But not a clean cut eye-catching internet title to create a mock controversy.  The judge found the venue, not guilty because the judge understands facts.  Something missing from your smear campaign.

Slo Pain
Slo Pain

Chrissy Anderson check this out

RandallE
RandallE

Related topic: What about people that need to be ejected from a club? I've seen clear cases where the customer was violent, throwing punches, not leaving when asked (girls too) and requiring more than one security person to get them out for the safety of everyone else. I don't know what happens in these people. They snap. I've seen it more than once. Patrons, drinking or not, need to adhere to not just rules of the venue, but just common life decency guidelines and values. There are reasons you can't dance on tables, start fights in clubs or whatever. I've never been restrained by police or private security because I play by the rules. I can't think of any reason why not just one or multiple security would ever need to be involved in an issue unless the customer was unruly and not cooperating. Few people in their thread support the notion of personal accountability for anyone starting trouble in a venue. Personally, I'm thankful for security throwing-out people that start trouble. Everyone is safer as a result. 

Megan Mulligan
Megan Mulligan

Yes. If they had a criminal background check, and hired people with known violence issues, they should be prepared for consequences - especially if they do not have insurance. I have never been there, and now will absolutely never go, nor recommend it to anyone - and ensure they know about this very story.

Becca Feiner
Becca Feiner

Yes - and agreed with Megan Wakeman that if they are hired as independent contractors the club is either responsible for verifying their insurance or takes liability.

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

I 'bounce' all the time ....


DamnedAnimals
DamnedAnimals

Back in the day when I tended bar for one of the bars in this group that was normal bouncer behavior. Contractor or not the normal individual hired for this position was a coked-out savage that did not give a shit about "safety" their primary interest was more about "fucking dudes up" and the methodologies involved in doing so.

John Twigg
John Twigg

Absolutely. The bounce ris acting as an agent of the club.

Jimmy Coitus
Jimmy Coitus

Absolutely, especially if they insist on using no neck troglodytes that are incapable of producing an original thought as security personnel. If you employ dangerous morons you need to be prepared for the day that they do something dangerously moronic.

Legen Dairy
Legen Dairy

Yes they should be, held totally liable.

Kris Koenig
Kris Koenig

Unbelievable... Vinyl has found a loophole in the system. They should absolutely be held accountable since they hired him to bounce at their club. The fact that he works for another vendor is irrelevant to me.

Megan Wakeman
Megan Wakeman

Also, if independent contractors want to be hired to work as a bouncer they need to be required to have insurance, for reasons exactly like this.

John Quincy
John Quincy

Vinyl is notorious for hyper-aggressive bouncers i think they should finally be held accountable for the rough neck assholes they choose to contract.

John S. Schafluetzel
John S. Schafluetzel

Yes. They represent the venue and not only act under, but are ultimately responsible for enforcing its authority.

Sumibraxis Dei
Sumibraxis Dei

NO! bouncers should be fired. However, IF the bouncers actions lead to a sexual offense with or without intent/knowing, the bouncer/security should be held just as guilty as the 'offender' for not checking ID.

jessicatoth
jessicatoth

Uh, is this a real question? Of course the club should be held responsible for anything ANY of their employees do! If they can't handle the responsibility, close that shitty place down!

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

@RandallE Interesting post, Randall. We're going to feature it as an upcoming Comment of the Day. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

domgess
domgess

@Megan Mulligan Go back to your knitting circle if you don't want to come out to a club

domgess
domgess

@Becca Feiner You can't even read

domgess
domgess

@Patrick Raspberry Try reading the whole article

domgess
domgess

@John Twigg The bouncer is acting on behalf of the safety of the patrons

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Jimmy Coitus ... so the U$ Government should be entirely responsible for the Homicide, Torture and other War Crimes committed by Blackwater, Haliburton and other Mercenary "Contractors" ?


michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

@Alan Gwaltney You're not alone, Alan. Thanks for the post.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@jessicatoth ... Reading Comprehension is your friend --

... the Bouncers were employed by an Independent Contractor, not the club directly.

Like when the Pentagon / CIA uses independent Contract Mercenary Killers -- like Blackwater -- so they can deny any direct responsibility for the war crimes committed under their operations.



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