Club Vinyl lawsuit: Can venues be held liable for the actions of their bouncers?
And Honor and Calip had both faced domestic violence complaints in the past -- against each other. A 2001 complaint by Calip seeking a restraining order against Honor claimed that he pushed her, pulled her hair, shoved her, chased her with his car and spat at her; the restraining order was later lifted at Calip's request. In a letter to an Adams County judge, Honor claimed to be the victim of Calip's "uncontrollable fits of rage" and "increased physical aggression."
"She has called me after going out to the club and spoke to me about fights she got into with other girls for little or nothing," Honor added.
Suarez and Barizonte sued Honor, Calip, LDH and Vinyl for assault, false arrest, malicious prosecution and other claims. Suarez, who lives in another state, settled her case before trial. Barizonte declined a $20,000 settlement offer because, she says, her damages -- including medical bills for knee and back injuries and therapy for the psychological trauma of the incident, as well as being forced to leave law school as her grades spiraled downward -- were much greater.
But Judge Rappaport ruled that Barizonte couldn't introduce the domestic violence case or the rest of Honor's criminal record, which includes a 1995 conviction for disturbing the peace, a 1996 deferred judgment in a theft case, and an indecent exposure conviction dating back to 1985. Vinyl's attorneys argued that Honor's other encounters with the legal system were irrelevant and prejudicial, and that the company had no obligation to do a background check on Honor because the city does its own vetting in issuing merchant guard licenses. (In a court document, Honor states that he provided information concerning his criminal history to Vinyl before the club hired his company.)
"I can understand how a jury could be really confused about what happened because they didn't get to hear all the evidence," Barizonte says.
The verdict was a split decision. While Barizonte prevailed on assault and battery claims against Honor and Calip and was awarded more than $60,000 in damages and interest, the jury also found in favor of Calip on a counterclaim that Barizonte had assaulted her, assessing an award of roughly $5,300. And Barizonte, who now teaches high school Spanish, was ordered to pay Vinyl's legal fees.
"I think it's outrageous that they can hide behind this veil of independent contractors and avoid liability, when they don't even require them to have insurance," Barizonte says. "I don't think there was anything I could have done to prevent this from happening. You can go into an establishment and get beat up by people who work there and have no remedy for your damages."
Beeks has petitioned the Court of Appeals to reconsider Barizonte's claims against Club Vinyl. An attorney for club ownership didn't respond to a request to comment on the case or clarify whether LDH continues to provide security services for Vinyl and related operations.
More from our Follow That Story archive: "Tyler Gregorak: Case dropped against former CU Buff and Shmuck of the Week."