Date of Verdict: March 14.
Court and Case No.: C.P. York County, No. 2015-SU-000373-71.
Judge: Richard K. Renn.
Type of Action: Wrongful death.
Plaintiffs Counsel: Benjamin D. Andreozzi and Nathaniel L. Foote, Andreozzi & Associates, Harrisburg.
Plaintiffs Experts: Andrew Verzilli, economics, Lansdale; Russell Kolins, security/premises liability, Philadelphia.
Defense Counsel: Larry C. Heim, Katherman, Heim & Perry; York.
Comment: On August 18, 2013, the plaintiff’s decedent, Jaime Sanabria, 25, was a patron at George’s Tavern at 376 Walnut St., in York, Pennsylvania. During the course of the evening, a fight broke out at the bar. Sanabria attempted to break it up, but in doing so he was knocked to the floor. While lying stomach-down, another patron, Halim Bowen, got on top of Sanabria and shot him in the back at close range. Sanabria later died of the gunshot wound. Bowen was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Sanabria’s estate sued Bowen and tavern owner Anita’s Place Inc., alleging that the bar provided inadequate security. According to witnesses, Bowen, prior to the shooting, had hung around outside George’s Tavern for about an hour before finally being let inside. Bouncers had to turn away people because of the bar’s full capacity. Bowen allegedly persisted trying to get in, and offered to pay $20 even though a cover charge was only $2. Tavern patrons reacted to the gunshot by ducking or running for the exit doors, but Bowen did not react at all, according to witnesses.
Video surveillance from inside the tavern showed him calmly stepping over the dying Sanabria and making his way to an exit. George’s Tavern was required to use a metal-detecting wand to check all customers for weapons, as the tavern had been the site of numerous violent encounters and was considered a nuisance bar. The requirement was part of the former tavern’s provisional license with the state’s Liquor Control Board.
The estate’s counsel faulted the bouncer’s search of Bowen, and maintained that a decent search with a wand takes 30 seconds to one minute. However, evidence showed that the bouncer’s search of Bowen lasted about five seconds. The estate’s counsel presented a diagram of the proper use of a security wand by the wand manufacturer. Anita’s Place maintained that the security guard had properly used the wand and had sufficiently searched Bowen. Any liability found should be against Bowen, who was the shooter, counsel asserted.
Bowen, pro se, denied that he shot Sanabria. The court gave a curative instruction that the jury could not consider Bowen’s denials, given his conviction. Sanabria was taken by ambulance to a hospital for emergency surgery. The bullet had entered his back and exited his chest. He died during surgery. Sanabria is survived by a 10-year-old son.
Prior to his death, Sanabria had performed temp work. The estate’s expert in economics calculated his future lost earnings from $680,000 to $1.3 million. Sanabria’s sister and mother, who brought the suit on behalf of her son’s estate, testified about what kind of son, brother and father he was. His estate sought damages under the Wrongful Death and Survival Acts. The jury found Bowen 10 percent liable and Anita’s Place 90 percent liable. Sanabria’s estate was determined to receive $1,748,743.
This report first appeared on VerdictSearch, an ALM publication (https://www.law.com/thelegalintelligencer/2018/05/10/family-claimed-bars-lack-of-security-led-to-patrons-murder/?slreturn=20180414102807) and is based on information that was provided by plaintiffs counsel. Bowen was not asked to contribute, and Anita Place’s counsel declined to contribute.
The experts at Kolins Security are known for their “boots on the ground” experience. Nowhere is that experience more evident than in the knowledge and skills of Joe Ralston, a veteran of the Philadelphia Police Department, the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office and an expert witness on drug trafficking, surveillance and other narcotics-related issues.
Ralston started on the street level as an officer in the Philadelphia Police Department. “I did all the usual stuff,” he said, “like patrolling the streets and executing search warrants.” After making contacts at the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General, Ralston was hired there as a narcotics agent, where he handled complex drug cases that required him to develop special expertise in several areas.
Ralston was promoted to a supervisory role at the Attorney General’s office because of his success with those complex cases. “I testified in hundreds of court cases in several areas,” he said. “I became an expert in drug jargon, working with informants, organized crime, undercover operations and wiretaps.”
Working with wiretaps proved to be the most difficult, yet most rewarding, part of Ralston’s work with the Attorney General’s office. “A wiretap can be an investigator’s biggest tool, but you have to show a judge that you’ve exhausted all of the other tools available,” he said. Ralston said that while the federal agents might have designated attorneys to complete wiretap affidavits, Ralston was responsible for writing these affidavits himself and providing judges with justification for a wiretap. “Only about 10% of agents have ever filed a wiretap affidavit,” he said, “because the process is so complicated and requires a high level of expertise.”
According to Ralston, the first step to obtaining a wiretap was to obtain phone records. “Using the information from the phone records, I would review all the data and look for patterns.” The patterns he found, along with the results of surveillance work and the cultivation of informants, would help him build a case for probable cause to obtain a wiretap. “The process is tedious, but necessary, in order to justify a wiretap,” Ralston said.
Ralston’s narcotics investigations eventually removed dangerous criminals off the streets, including members of a cartel who were responsible for using tractor trailers to move hundreds of kilos of cocaine from Arizona to Philadelphia every month.
In addition to wiretapping cases, Ralston has testified in federal, state and municipal courts over 500 times, on subjects ranging from organized crime and bookmaking to gangs and surveillance techniques. He’s also provided private security for Sylvester Stallone, the National Football League, CBS Nightly News, the Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day Parade, and various business executives.
Ralston still remembers an important piece of advice he got while in the Police Academy: “I had an instructor that said, ‘What you learn here is only the first step on your way to becoming an officer. Your real learning is being on the street.” Ralston’s street experience makes him a successful and knowledgeable part of the Kolins Security team. Ralston exemplifies their commitment to providing security consultants who have real world expertise.
Do you need a narcotics or organized crime expert for your case? Click here to schedule a consultation with Kolins Security Group.
From the desk of our esteemed President, Russell Kolins, ICACP, BAI:
“As a Member of the Advisory Board to the prestigious Florida Association of Private Investigators, I am proud to announce that I have been honored with the designation “Life Member”. FAPI is a very active and revered professional organization comprised of some of the country’s best investigators and security professionals. I will continue to do my best to uphold the professional standards, integrity, and quality of this superior group of professionals and I thank them for this honor.”
“You’re the real deal.”
That’s a phrase Russell Kolins has heard quite often during his 48 years as a security consultant and litigation expert—from colleagues, other experts, even opposing counsel. But what does it mean to be the “real deal”?
“When people say I’m the ‘real deal,’ it’s because they know that I have high-level, practical experience in complicated security environments. They know they can always trust me to be thorough and professional,” Kolins said.
Authentic, Real-World Knowledge
In keeping with his reputation for honesty and credibility, Russell Kolins has assembled a team of experienced security experts who, like himself, have firsthand knowledge of their individual security domains.
“My team at Kolins Security Group has real, boots-on-the-ground experience,” he said. “And while these individuals are highly trained, their understanding goes beyond the academic—they have authentic, real-world knowledge of complicated security situations.”
Breadth and Depth of Experience
With this talented team in place, Kolins Security Group can offer clients a variety of security services, including risk and threat assessments and consultations, as well as litigation support in a variety of disciplines.
For example, Kolins himself is not only an expert on Dram Shop law, but has years of experience in liquor and bar security. Because Kolins and his team have both depth and breadth of experience, they perform these services with professionalism, expertise and candor.
Kolins Security Group can provide litigation support in a wide range of fields, including alcohol and liquor liability, premises security, crime security, technology, police and law enforcement, healthcare and schools. And because of their rock-solid reputations, clients can be sure that members of the Kolins Security Group team can withstand scrutiny in any situation.
Up-to-date on Emerging Threats
Kolins also understands that the security sector is ever changing—new and complex situations arise that would have been unheard of only a few years ago. That’s why his team receives up to the minute, in-depth training in emerging threats and security best practices. In addition, they’re educators themselves, providing training to private companies and serving as subject matter speakers on a variety of topics. Many have also published articles in respected trade journals.
By combining his own stellar experience and reputation with the wide ranging, top-level expertise of a seasoned team of experts, Russell Kolins has assembled a group that achieves results for their clients, whether in the board room or the courtroom. That’s what it means to be “the real deal.”
Do you need an expert for your case or an in-depth security audit? Click here to schedule a consultation with Kolins Security Group.
By: Russell Kolins, BSSM, ICACP and Stephan Hollowell, CPP
In response to the much-publicized arrest of a Utah emergency room nurse who appears to have been following the protocols of her employer, the Kolins Security Group is appalled by the actions of the Salt Lake City Detective who appears to have illegally arrested her when she refused to take blood from an unconscious accident victim–one who was not under arrest at the time of the request.
Information now states that the detective was given instructions to arrest the nurse by his supervisor. This, on the face of it, would be difficult to believe, as the University of Utah Hospital and the Salt Lake City Police Department had agreed on the hospital’s protocols over a year ago. It is the actions or, rather, the inactions, of the University of Utah Hospital’s security department that should also be questioned. It appears that they did nothing to deescalate the situation in any way. It is unclear if a security manager or security supervisor was present throughout this incident. It is the hospital security department’s responsibility to ensure the safety of its community, which consists of its patients, visitors and staff–especially the front-line clinical staff.
It is imperative that not only a hospital’s own policies and protocols are written down and communicated to its staff, but also any policies that affect outside agencies, especially those of law enforcement. Because law enforcement officers assist hospital security departments with violent visitors and patients every day throughout this country, any policies that affect the both law enforcement and hospital staff must be understood and agreed upon by both agencies.
The hospital security department is normally the liaison between the hospital administration and law enforcement and, in the unfortunate case of the University of Utah nurse, the security department should have acted to deescalate the situation. If the detective did not want to listen to the hospital’s security officers or supervisors, then best practices dictate that this incident should have been escalated to the Director of Security and Administrative Coordinator of the Hospital, who should have attended the Emergency Department and attempted to amicably resolve the situation before it spiraled out of control. It is in the best interest of all parties–law enforcement, hospital security and hospital administration–to work collaboratively to ensure that they avoid actions which can bring disgrace to the police and a feeling of betrayal in staff toward their own administration and security department.
Further, each individual healthcare facility must establish its own hospital policies and procedures that relate to potential law enforcement issues. The facility’s legal department should provide the chiefs of all surrounding local, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies with its written policies and procedures. These agencies should then be given a reasonable window of time either to object or agree with these policies and procedures. Once there is an agreement, all agencies must sign the agreement collectively and the original document must be kept on file at the healthcare facility.
Once the policies and procedures agreement has been signed, it is imperative that the respective agencies and healthcare facility provide immediate training to all LEOs and healthcare staff to establish that they know the rules. If they don’t know the rules, security and healthcare staff won’t know how or what to enforce. The University of Utah Hospital nurse, according to video, conducted herself in a highly professional and responsible manner; she did everything the right way. In the event there is a future similar situation, a copy of the “Signed Agreement” should be kept nearby so that the nurse could provide a copy to any LEO who is oblivious to the rules or who turns rogue.
Policies and procedures are subject to change, in which case any changes must be communicated in a timely manner to law enforcement agencies, just as with the initial agreement. A good example of an issue that required a change was the relatively recent implementation of BWCs, (body worn cameras) by LEOs. The activity of medical and hospital staff, patients, and visitors; white boards with names and medical information; medical records and other private information was being recorded on body cameras, causing this information to become part of a police investigation record. HIPPA Laws were seriously breached by the same people who had sworn to enforce the law. Once becoming aware, the healthcare industry immediately went into repair mode by modifying existing agreements between the healthcare facilities and law enforcement agencies to cover the use of body cameras.
Kolins Security Group is prepared to provide expert consultants to review and recommend policies and procedures, as well as to provide expert services in litigation matters. Our professional experts are experienced in their respective disciplines of safety, security and law enforcement and undergo continuing education and training in order to provide the most cogent and current advice to our clients.
Of all the industries that have changed in America since 9/11, the security sector has undergone one of the most drastic transformations. “Security is now more than walking the halls, checking IDs, and making sure the door is locked,” said Stephen Hollowell, the newest member of Kolins Security Group’s team of highly trained security experts.
According to Hollowell, security consultants must evolve as the threats to their clients evolve, while understanding the complexities of the organization and its people, as well as their particular security challenges. “The goal of a strong security plan is to protect not only an organization’s assets and clients, but their employees as well. Employees that feel safe are more productive and professional,” he said.
Hollowell said that he approaches new clients by conducting a listening tour. “I meet with directors and stakeholders to ask them about their security concerns. I let them do the talking.” Hollowell then conducts an in-depth threat assessment that uncovers the organization’s vulnerabilities and any weaknesses in their security program.
One of Hollowell’s strengths is his ability to deliver his threat assessments with a sense of realism, even to organizations who operate with an excess of political correctness. “I don’t tiptoe around the facts,” he said. “I don’t want to scare the banks off of them, but I want to inform of them of the true nuts and bolts of their threat situation.”
Hollowell’s extensive experience in a variety of settings also gives him a unique understanding of how to work within complex organizations: “I had a mentor who helped me realize that the support of individual teams within an organization is extremely important.” Hollowell said that he takes the time not only to describe necessary security changes, but also to explain why those changes are necessary to each affected team.
Although Hollowell began his career in security over 25 years ago, he credits his continuing success in the industry to his ability to constantly learn and evolve. To that end, Hollowell has earned the prestigious Certified Protection Professional (CPP) certificate, which provides demonstrable proof of knowledge and management skills in seven key domains of security. Those who earn the CPP are ASIS board-certified in security management.
Kolins Security Group is a comprehensive team of nationally-recognized, court-certified security experts. Our vast wealth of practical, hands on experience, depth of knowledge and refined skill sets, extensive education and specialized training have supported numerous clients in achieving favorable results.
A young man in Florida finished work at 11 PM then walked a block to a popular local bar. As he became intoxicated while drinking several alcoholic beverages at the bar, a physical altercation developed just outside the front door on the sidewalk and street. A bouncer sent one of the patrons known to be an amateur fighter outside to take care of the problem. The first young man who became intoxicated while sitting at the bar a few feet away for 2 ½ hours was sent was sent out the front door into the middle of the brewing brawl. The young man in the presence of the bouncer who acted as a spectator standing in the doorway, asked everyone to calm down and go home, but the amateur fighter punched him, causing the young man to fall backwards and hit his head on the edge of the curb. He suffered serious brain damage. Although there is a modified Dram Shop law favoring the bar, Russ’ opinion included that the bar served the young man to the point of intoxication and continued to serve him while visibly intoxicated. He was rendered incapable of protecting himself because his stage of acute alcoholic influence and intoxication involved increased muscular incoordination, loss of perception, slowed reactions, diplopia, disorientation and mental confusion. Further, the security was inadequate and negligent. The jury returned a verdict of $19.6m.
Russell Kolins of the Kolins Security Group was retained by the defense. A patron in a gentlemen’s club became involved in a verbal altercation with another group of patrons. The aggressor group was ejected as was the individual who became irritated as a result of his experience with the aggressors. After the other group left the parking lot, the individual was walked to his vehicle by a security guard which violated the written policy and procedure of the gentlemen’s club. Guards were only permitted to escort entertainers and female patrons to their vehicles. As the guard and patron arrived at his car, the patron, still aggravated, reached into the front seat area, pulled out a handgun, then shot and killed the guard. Russ’ opinion included that the guard violated policy and industry standard by placing himself in harm’s way for which the club was not responsible. A judge agreed and granted Summary Judgement which defense counsel advised was based in part on Russ’ opinions.
Kolins Security Group experts have been in many depositions of opposing experts. They have read hundreds of transcript pages of opposing experts. It is especially unsettling to observe someone claiming to be an expert offer unqualified opinions, while avoiding the details and ultimately falling apart when attempting to answer specific questions about key issues in a case.
As one of the most frequently retained and highly experienced security expert witness, Russell Kolins has personally watched and heard experts hired by the opposition lie and concoct answers during depositions attempting to strengthen their incorrect or inadequate opinions. Russell continues to read transcripts where the oppositions’ expert opinions were based upon single remote experiences or no personal experience at all.
Many so-called experts are completely unqualified. They offer opinions for money, customized to suit the needs of their client, and often have no basis in fact or supporting information to prove their claim.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of an expert is one with the special skill or knowledge representing mastery of a particular subject. Thus, to be an expert, someone must have long term experience in the field from which they derive their expert opinions. They must have mastery in their field. Unfortunately, many so-called experts are unworthy opponents, and do not possess the level of expertise required to act as an expert. Hiring a true expert means that you will be associated with a person that can help you develop your case. The experts at Kolins Security Group will help you get positive results whether you represent the plaintiff or defendant.
When you retain Kolins Security Group experts for your case, you will be among the hundreds of successful attorneys that have prevailed because of our professional expertise and unsurpassed abilities. Whether you are representing the plaintiff or defendant, a real expert will provide you with unbiased supportable information pertaining to your case. An expert with integrity will tell you the truth about all aspects of your case, and will not customize his expressed opinions to fit questionable aspects of a case.
Work with experienced experts that will make your case. Kolins Security Group experts will help you find the truth and provide their undivided attention to all your case needs in a timely manner. The integrity of our expert opinions make Kolins Security Group the number one choice nationwide for both plaintiff and defense attorneys in all matters involving security. Find the truth and achieve favorable legal results.
Kolins Security Group was hired by the Mongeluzzi Law Firm as the Dram Shop and Security Liability Consultant and Litigation Expert
Original Article from NBC10 Posted by Dan Stamm on April 16, 2015
Kevin Kless was beaten to death in January 2012. His family will get $7 million in a settlement with Philly bars that served his killers.
The family of a Temple University graduate who was beaten to death in Old City will receive the largest settlement of its kind in city history against the owners of two Philadelphia bars where the man’s killers – two who were underage – were served alcohol before the killing.
The family of Kevin Kless will receive a $7-million settlement – $1 million from the former Lucy’s Hat Shop on Market Street in Old City and $6 million from G Lounge on 17th Street in Rittenhouse – that will be paid out by the defunct bars’ insurance companies.
Kless was trying to hail a cab at 4th and Chestnut streets in the early hours of Jan. 14, 2012 when a car pulled up and an argument began. Kenneth Enriquiz-Santiago, Steven Ferguson, and Felix Carrillo got out of the car and began to punch and kick Kless. Investigators said Ferguson delivered a severe, closed-fist blow to the right side of Kless’ head.
Kless died a short time later. The Temple University Fox School of Business grad was 23.
“The greatest horror for any parent is to lose a child,” said attorney Robert J. Mongeluzzi of Center City Philadelphia-based law firm Saltz, Mongeluzzi, Barrett & Bendesky, P.C. “There is no lawsuit that can ever give them back what they really want.
The three men later pleaded guilty to their roles in the killing – Ferguson getting the most severe punishment of up to 10 years in prison.
Mongeluzzi’s firm filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the three convicts and the two bars. The suit alleged that multiple witnesses said Lucy’s and G Lounge both served the men – including Enriquiz-Santiago and Carillo who were underage at the time – to the point of “visible intoxication.”
“Our son would be alive today if those bars – their managers and their employees – had just followed the law, starting with denying entry to minors,” said John and Kendall Kless, Kevin’s parents, in a news release. “We intend to ensure that all bar owners understand that if they serve underage or intoxicated customers who cause harm, they will be held accountable and could be put out of business. We hope that this lawsuit will spur the industry to follow the laws, which are in place for a reason, and spare any other family from suffering the devastating, preventable loss we have endured.”
Dram Shop legislation, which holds bar owner responsible for serving alcohol to visibly intoxicated or underage patrons, allowed for the suit.
The law firm announced the historic settlement – believed to be the biggest of its kind in Philadelphia – Wednesday afternoon.
“In Kevin’s name, they have successfully and resoundingly delivered a message to the two bar-defendants, Lucy’s Hat Shop and G Lounge, that if you serve underage, drunken patrons, and they leave your bar and commit a heinous crime, you will be held accountable for your actions,” said Mongeluzzi.
Mongeluzzi said the bars maintained that their management and employees did nothing wrong to lead to Kless’ death.
Lucy’s Hat Shop is no longer open after closing to give way for a construction project and G Lounge came under new ownership late last year under the re-branded name “1925.”
“We couldn’t have gotten any more than the $7 million we got,” said Mongeluzzi, noting that a jury still could have ruled for more money in the case but the closed bars wouldn’t have any more money in the bank.
This wasn’t the only type of suit against Lucy’s the same bar was named in a lawsuit where a Temple Law student allegedly shot another man after being served booze at Lucy’s. Mongeluzzi said that case was resolved confidentially in 2014.
Mongeluzzi fears another lawsuit against an Old City bar is unfortunately inevitable.
“It’s a problem of epidemic proportion,” he said. “It’s only a matter of time until someone is catastrophically injured or killed.”
Teen investigations are unique and at times a very sobering experience for the entire family, but becoming more prominent and necessary. Providing peace of mind through discreet investigations of your teen to verify their activities can save their life.
Things are much different for teenagers growing up today. Drug use, gang activity, shoplifting, theft, school shootings and violent attacks on fellow students have become common news headlines. These alarming stories are not limited to just inner city teens, but are prevalent throughout our country, impacting every corner of the United States.
Your most valued asset is your child. Ensuring their safety is of the utmost importance. Making the decision to investigate your teen is not an easy one. Having a teen investigation conducted when there are red flags is just plain smart. Parents want to know what he/she is doing and with whom. They want to verify and identify what is taking place with their teenager to better understand the situation and take appropriate action.
If you see changes in any of the red flag items listed below, do not overlook or ignore it. Your decision to take action could save your teens life.
- Poor grades?
- Mood swings?
- Poor attendance?
- Suspected Drug Use?
- Different friends recently?
- Disappear for hours at a time?
- Hanging with the wrong crowd?
- Discreet or excessive computer use?
- Acting different, unusual or strange?
- Dating and or involved with an older adult?
- Does the mileage in the family car match up to places he/she was supposed to be?
Now is the time to identify when your teen is making poor judgments or unethical decisions before they make the final turn to join a gang, experiment with drugs or participate in other violent and dangerous activities.
When a teen investigation is conducted before it is too late, it can save your son or daughters life. Parents have the right to know what’s going on. They have the right to protect their children. Insuring your teenagers’ safety and well-being today will provide a lifetime of happiness tomorrow.