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Seven-Figure Settlement for Man Assaulted By a Club Bouncer

On a warm summer night, Tyler Bishop∗ went out with his friend and business partner to celebrate Tyler’s birthday and watch a pre-season football game. They went to a local “gentlemen’s” club and settled in for the evening. Hours later, Tyler was told to leave the club by the establishment’s head of security, despite the fact that there was no evidence or suggestion that during the course of the night Tyler’s behavior was in any way disruptive, threatening or inappropriate.

Tyler was escorted to the club’s lobby where he inquired about the return of his driver’s license and credit card, which were surrendered upon his arrival pursuant to club policy. While he was waiting, another of the club’s security personnel approached Tyler. This individual was a former marine and golden gloves boxing champion. Without provocation or warning, this “bouncer” struck Tyler twice in the face with a closed fist. The blows caused Tyler to fall backwards and hit the back of his head against the floor, knocking him unconscious. The bouncer and his co-workers then dragged Tyler, bleeding and unconscious, through the club’s lobby, out the door, and onto the club’s parking lot.

An ambulance was eventually called and Tyler was rushed to the emergency room where CT brain and head scans showed that Tyler suffered a concussion with traumatic brain injury. Eight staples were needed to close the wound on his head and Tyler was admitted to the intensive care unit to treat his injuries, which included a fractured eye socket.

While the cuts and bruises Tyler suffered in this attack healed as expected, there were a number of other injuries that were far more difficult to diagnose and treat. Although Tyler complained immediately of having difficulty breathing through his nose and not being able to appreciate smells as he had before the assault, it took more than a year to diagnose and surgically repair a nasal fracture and deviated septum. Similarly, Tyler’s complaints of memory loss, severe headaches, dizziness, motor skill and speech deficits were difficult and painstaking to treat. Years later, it is clear that some of these issues will never resolve fully.

The value of having an experienced and qualified attorney working on a case like Tyler’s cannot be understated. He initially hired an attorney who did not fully appreciate the complexity of Tyler’s case or how to present his damages. Although a lawsuit was filed on Tyler’s behalf, his original attorney had neither requested nor submitted the necessary reports to properly present Tyler’s case to a jury. Worse, he had missed critical deadlines to submit them and Tyler’s case was in jeopardy.

Fortunately, attorney Michael van der Veen was able to step in as counsel for Tyler. He first obtained the critical medical and economic reports needed to present the full extent of Tyler’s injuries. Next, van der Veen petitioned the court and successfully persuaded the judge to accept some of the late submissions of these reports. Tyler’s case was prepared for trial and evidence was gathered.

It was discovered that not only did the bouncer who punched Tyler have a criminal record, but also the hiring employee knew about his record and advised the bouncer to withhold this information from his employment application. In addition, the bouncer never received training of any kind as a security professional from the club. While this individual eventually pleaded guilty to the aggravated assault of Tyler Bishop, van der Veen insisted the club was equally guilty of the assault for hiring an unqualified and dangerous employee, and then failing to train or properly supervise him.

Tyler Bishop accepted a confidential seven-figure settlement in this case. These proceeds enabled Tyler to get the appropriate medical care and rehabilitation to return to work and resume running his company. While he still suffers from some of his injuries, Tyler has learned to manage the symptoms and is leading a full life. Engaged to be married at the time of the assault, Tyler’s wedding was delayed while he recovered from his injuries. Eventually, however, he was able to walk down the aisle with his bride. Gladly accepting an invitation to the wedding was, Tyler Bishop’s new attorney for life, Michael van der Veen.

One of Philadelphia’s foremost personal injury, criminal defense and commercial litigation law firms, van der Veen, O’Neill, Hartshorn, and Levin combine nearly a century of passion-driven comprehensive law practice and client-centered representation for the full benefit of their clients. Their experience fighting for clients, serving the community and excelling in litigation has earned them the reputation as one of Pennsylvania’s toughest, hardest-working law firms.

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* Not his real name

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