This case involved an assault that occurred at a private house party. The owner of the house hired the services of two individuals to act as private security for the party. Although the party was scheduled to end much later in the evening, the owner of the house abruptly ended the party and instructed his security personnel to immediately clear the residence of all the guests. As our client was leaving, he paused in the foyer to wait for his Uber. The two men providing security insisted that he leave immediately. When he tried to explain that he was a friend of the homeowner and that his Uber was on its way, the two men violently tackled our client, slamming him face first onto the hardwood floor of the adjoining living room knocking him unconscious. The two assailants then carried our client outside and dumped him on the front lawn. Our client suffered, among other things, two broken wrists, and fractures to the orbital and cheek bones in his face. Partner Allan M. Siegel and Stephen Ollar filed a civil lawsuit in Superior Court of the District of Columbia against both assailants, and the homeowner.
We claimed that the two men providing security were acting on behalf of the homeowner as security or “bouncers,” when they injured our client. The homeowner claimed that the two men were “greeters” and that he should not be responsible for their actions because it was not foreseeable that these “greeters” could have inflicted harm on his guests. To make matters worse, one of the assaulters was charged criminally, but was acquitted by a Judge in the criminal trial. The law firm was not involved in the criminal prosecution, but it was nonetheless very frustrating that the Judge found the assaulter not criminally responsible for this heinous act.
The parties agreed to forego a jury trial, and agreed to submit the case to binding arbitration. Binding arbitration is a proceeding where the parties submit all the evidence to a mutually selected neutral party, who then decides the contested issues. The arbitrator’s decision is binding, and neither party is allowed to appeal. In this case, the parties agreed to use a retired judge who had previously served as the Chief of the Civil Division of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia as the arbitrator. Following submission, and consideration of all the evidence, the arbitrator found in our client’s favor and we secured a $700,000 award for the client.