In September, Lawson sued the bar in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court, seeking an unspecified amount in damages not to exceed $50,000.
In the lawsuit, Lawson, of South Philadelphia, alleges he sustained a broken tooth and injuries to his face, leg and ankle during the incident.
The alleged incident took place about 1:30 a.m. July 20 on the second floor of the bar, according to the lawsuit.
“The [bouncer] punched [Lawson] in his face for no reason,” the lawsuit states. “The [bouncer] acted without any legal cause in assaulting [Lawson]. The [bouncer], in addition to punching [Lawson] in the face, caused or contributed to [Lawson] being knocked down the steps and injured.”
Lawson’s attorney, William E. Averona, said his client’s friend was being escorted out originally, and that Lawson got caught in the melee.
In the suit, Lawson contends he asked the bouncer to stop assaulting him.
“The [bouncer] refused to stop pushing and assaulting [Lawson] despite [Lawson’s] repeated requests for him to curtail his activities,” the lawsuit states. “As a direct and proximate result of the [bouncer’s] actions in concert with at least one other bouncer, [Lawson] was caused to fall down several steps, injuring his body. [Lawson] in no way contributed to the assault upon his person.”
Averona said his client attempted to file a private criminal complaint against the bouncer shortly after the incident.
But since Lawson doesn’t know the bouncer’s name, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office wouldn’t accept his complaint for investigation, Averona said.
The bouncer is identified in the lawsuit as “John Doe.”
“I just want my client fairly compensated for his injuries,” Averona told PGN. “He did nothing to warrant the excessive force that was used against him. If he did something wrong, why didn’t they press criminal charges?”
Michael Weiss, an owner of the bar, couldn’t be reached for comment.
According to the lawsuit, Woody’s Bar failed to adequately screen, train and supervise its employees.
“You don’t come up to a man and punch him in the face because he’s not moving fast enough — and break his tooth,” Averona continued. “They shouldn’t have ogres running around, punching people in the face.”
Averona described the bouncer as a “big African-American man with dreadlocks,” but didn’t have additional details as to his identity.
He said Lawson no longer patronizes the bar, located at 202 S. 13th St.
The lawsuit goes on to say that the bouncer may have acted negligently during the incident.
“As [Lawson] was leaving the premises with other patrons, the [bouncer] improperly touched Lawson either intentionally or in a negligent fashion, causing him to fall down the steps and injure his body,” the suit states. “As a result of the various acts and omissions of Woody’s agents and employees, Lawson was caused to suffer painful injuries to his left ankle and leg, his face and a broken tooth.”
Lawson had to expend significant sums of money for medical care due to the incident and seeks reimbursement, according to the lawsuit.
Lawson’s injuries have also limited his ability to enjoy social and personal activities, according to the lawsuit.
A hearing before a three-member arbitration panel is set for 9:30 a.m. May 29 at the city’s Arbitration Center, 1880 JFK Blvd., fifth floor.
Members of the panel haven’t been named at presstime.
Averona said he’s willing to take the case to a jury if the outcome of the of the arbitration process is unsatisfactory to Lawson.
“It’s wrong what happened to my client.”