Soroka & Associates, LLC has filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the Estate of Charles Westbrook, stemming from the fatal shooting at Bucks Platinum nightclub on January 1, 2023. The lawsuit also names Charles W. Foster III, Jermaine S. Westbrook II, and other unknown parties for their role in the death of Charles Westbrook.
Bucks Platinum is one of 10 gentlemen’s clubs located throughout the country that falls under the Bucks brand. The club in Columbus serves alcohol; it also has a history of violent crimes occurring on or near the premises. Shootings have occurred at least 9 times since the “gentlemen’s club” opened in the last two years. As such, under Ohio law, the club’s owners and operators have a legal duty to take steps to protect their patrons.
On January 1, 2023, Charles Westbrook was patronizing Bucks Platinum nightclub in Columbus, Ohio. Bucks Platinum allowed armed individuals to enter the premises: no precautions were taken to ensure that their firearms were removed or left in their vehicles.
A fight broke out among multiple people; in the midst of the altercation, patrons fired their guns. Charles Westbrook was shot in the stomach and succumbed to his injuries, despite the best efforts of other patrons and law enforcement to render lifesaving aid. Four other people sustained injuries. A dancer was shot in the arm, and two men were shot in the foot. (The fourth person’s injuries were not listed in the police report.)
About the lawsuit
Soroka & Associates has filed a lawsuit against multiple parties on behalf of the administrator of Charles Westbrook’s Estate. The lawsuit alleges negligent hiring, retention, and supervision. Bucks Platinum owes its business invitees (patrons) a duty of care. The club owners knew, or should have known, “of the propensity for violent and/or criminal actions in and/or on their premises,” given how many acts of violence have been committed in or on the premises since the club opened. As such, Bucks Platinum should have taken steps to mitigate that risk, including:
- Properly and adequately training their employees pertaining to the control and removal of unruly patrons;
- Properly and adequately training their security personnel;
- Taking proper security measures to protect their patrons; and
- Reporting all fights, disturbances, and potential dangers to local law enforcement.
Bucks Platinum had a duty to create a safe environment and to address all potential dangers. By failing to do so, they “acted recklessly, and with willful and wanton disregard for human life when creating the dangerous condition that led to the death of Charles Westbrook.”
The lawsuit also alleges a violation of Ohio Revised Code §4399.18, which allows an injury victim or an Estate to hold a business or entity liable if they overserve a visibility intoxicated patron, and that patron’s intoxication “proximately causes the personal injury, death, or property damage” of another person.
By failing to take proactive protective measures, such as searching patrons for firearms and failing to train its employees so they did not overserve their customers, Bucks Platinum created a dangerous environment. Their failures are what led to the death of Charles Westbook. The lawsuit seeks compensatory damages, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees.
Soroka & Associates, LLC is a Columbus-based law firm handling complex injury and wrongful death claims throughout Central Ohio, and the attorneys have significant experience in handling negligent security matters against various establishments, such as bars, hotels, nightclubs, and convenience stores. The firm has secured millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for its clients.
To learn more, visit sorokalegal.com or follow the firm on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.