Patchogue is often known for it’s nightlife. Once the sun goes down, you will begin to notice restaurants moving tables and turning on colorful lights. The problem is these restaurants do not have the license or permission to turn their restaurant into a nightclub. Patchogue Village Attorney Brian Egan defines a nightclub or cabaret as “The permanent or temporary removal of chairs from such an establishment to permit any live entertainment, disc jockeys, dancing, [during] hours of operation beyond normal times of dining”.
As a result in June 2018, the Patchogue Village Trustee Board have voted to ban nightclubs on Main St in Patchogue Village. The hope is to make the downtown area much safer. There is only one legally approved restaurant in Patchogue called the Stereo Garden to operate as a nightclub. The rest of them are mostly restaurants clearing their tables and chairs to illegally become like nightclubs. Paul Pontieri, the mayor of Patchogue says, “Nightlife in the village has grown to a point where some limited controls need to be put in place to help manage it. This piece of legislation does that.” The high amount of nightlife in Patchogue definitely poses potential safety hazards. It creates 3 big potential problems.
Every property owner is responsible for the safety of anyone that enters their establishment. So if someone gets injured due to an unsafe condition, it is the owner who is responsible for the injury. The problem with many of the restaurants operating as nightclubs is that they are now operating as an establishment they do not have the licenses and approval for. This could easily cause overcrowding.
Overcrowding can cause a number of issues. For one, buildings are required to have a yearly inspection by the fire department to note potential fire hazards so that the owner can make the building safe. When Patchogue restaurants convert their building into a nightclub, they are no longer under the same conditions that the fire department has inspected. Likely, the amount of people that crowd a nightclub exceeds the maximum occupancy. If the worst case scenario happens and there is a fire, it could be extremely difficult to get an overcrowded building of people outside where it is safe.
The other safety hazard with overcrowding is pushing, shoving or even trampling. This is more likely with nightclubs having an increased chance of intoxicated people present. If this occurs and results in an injury however, it is the owner of the premises who is responsible. They have created an unsafe conditions by overcrowding their establishment beyond what is considered safe.
Legal Dictionary defines Assault & Battery: “Assault is an act that creates an apprehension in another of an imminent, harmful, or offensive contact. The act consists of a threat of harm accompanied by an apparent, present ability to carry out the threat. Battery is a harmful or offensive touching of another” (https://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Assault+and+Battery). Some have commented on the fact that the nightlife in Patchogue has resulted in fights. One Patchogue resident commented, “The nightclub ban is probably going to stop, you know, a lot of fights. People get drunk, and they take the fights outside. So the nightclub ban is actually a smart ban.”.
Alcohol intoxication is known to increase chances of fighting. Over-drinking decreases inhibitions and could increase aggression. This means that even small misunderstandings could turn into a fist fight. And for criminal offices, voluntary intoxication (getting drunk) is not a defense for an assault or battery case. If you receive an injury because an intoxicated person physically assaulted you, you are entitled for compensation.
When people are out late, they are probably drinking. Restaurants in Patchogue are operating as nightclubs because of the amount of money they make from selling alcohol. The high amounts of nightlife in Patchogue increase the risk of people who are over-drinking. Ultimately, this could lead to more intoxicated driving on the road. Intoxicated drivers are incredibly dangerous to share the road with.
We recently discussed in an earlier blog post how to tell if a drunk driver is on the road and how you should respond. Pay special attention if you are driving near Patchogue village at night time. Hopefully, this ban reduces the number of intoxicated drivers in eastern Long Island.
Palermo Law has represented many injured individuals including those affected by premises negligence, assault, and drunk driving. The Mayor and Board of Trustees in Patchogue are implementing steps to make Patchogue Village a safer environment at night. However, if you have suffered an injury in Eastern Long Island, we have an office right in Patchogue and can set up a free case evaluation so you can receive your necessary compensation.
Becoming victim to a violent act such as robbery, assault or rape can be significantly damaging both mentally and physically. If your assailant is identified, you can pursue recovery from them for economic damages (such as medical bills, the cost of rehabilitative services, property damage, etc.), non-economic damages (pain and suffering) and in some jurisdictions in egregious cases, punitive damages (solely designed to punish an assailant). Since liability insurance won’t pay damages for any intentional criminal acts committed by their insured, any damages awarded to you will come straight from your assailant. Unfortunately, in many cases, assailants won’t have the assets to cover your damages.
However, depending on where an individual is assaulted, robbed, etc., they may be able to make a negligent security claim against a property owner. For example, if you are physically assaulted in a mall, where security officers are present, you may have a claim against the commercial establishment if it can be proven that their security was negligent or inadequate in protecting you. Another example would be if you were staying at a hotel and an assailant was able to break into your room and rob or assault you while your door was locked. The hotel owner may be held liable for negligence in failing to ensure that your hotel room was safe.
If you’re ever the victim of an intentional, violent act on another’s premises and feel that the property owner(s) failed to keep you safe from said violent attack, speak with a personal injury attorney right away. If a property owner is found liable for failing to keep you safe on their premises, they’re liability insurance becomes a resource to compensate for your damages.
Certain jurisdictions require establishments (such as bars and clubs) to hire security to keep their patrons safe. If you suffer a violent attack in such a facility, and there is no security, this serves as proof that the property owner was negligent (in not hiring security) and therefore liable for your damages.
If the establishment you were assaulted in is located in a jurisdiction which does not require establishments to hire security, your personal injury attorney must prove that violence frequently took place in said establishment and that the property owner should have foreseen potential occurrences of violence in the future. For example, if a club has had numerous assaults take place within the establishment, the property owner should have reasonable foreseeability that more assaults will occur and is therefore negligent in not hiring security to protect its patrons. Inadequate security to handle reasonably foreseeable violent acts may also be seen as negligence on a property owner’s behalf. For example, a security guard may be untrained or undertrained to adequately protect an establishment’s patrons. In scenarios such as this, the security company that employs the security guard may be held liable too.