By: Samantha DiBona
Dancer D’Anna Brown suffered severe, permanent, and catastrophic injuries to her face after Philadelphia’s Club Onyx over-served alcohol to their patrons past 2AM, resulting in a massive brawl which included bottles thrown, brass poles wielded, and punches delivered. Despite previous incidents and criminal activity at this location and in its vicinity, Club Onyx failed to properly train their security personnel, bartenders, or dancers on how to prevent or handle dangerous conditions like that of August 10, 2014.
Club Onyx was still serving alcohol at 3:50AM– even to patrons already visibly and obviously intoxicated– in direct violation of the law and despite prior warnings and notices of violation from legal authorities. This created an unreasonably dangerous environment, especially given that the club knew or should have known about the numerous prior violent incidents and serious criminal activity on the property and in the immediate vicinity. Such prior incidents date back to at least January 2007 and continued through to the days immediately preceding the tragic but highly foreseeable incidents that injured Ms. Brown.
Ms. Brown was injured by various participants of the brawl; in particular, an excessively inebriated individual–without any provocation from Ms. Brown– threw a beer bottle at her, hitting her in the mouth. Many painful oral surgeries over several years were needed to treat this injury and she lost four of her front teeth as a result.
In the end, a jury awarded Ms. Brown $1.32 million in damages, including $500,000 in punitive damages. The defendants appealed the verdict, and Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed it– see the opinion attached here.