Bouncer Excessive Force

cartwrightlaw - September 14, 2022 -
Bouncer Excessive Force

In 2019, a lawsuit was filed against an establishment in Pacific Beach, California, when a 21-year-old woman was violently thrown to the ground by the bouncers. In the same year, a former college athlete filed another lawsuit against the same business after the bouncer “body-slammed him, leaving him with post-traumatic stress disorder and brain damage.” Another young man, a first-year college student, was body-slammed by a bouncer, but he did not survive. His parents sued. 

Bouncers can get overly aggressive and go beyond the necessary job requirements of keeping the establishments where they work safe and orderly. When this happens, unnecessary injuries can result. To cover medical bills, lost wages, damaged property, and pain/suffering, a bouncer injury attorney can help you reach a settlement or sue if needed.

How Much Force Is a Bouncer Allowed to Use?

A few years ago, a man from Blue Mound, Illinois, was placed in a chokehold by bouncers, and he sued. Is a chokehold too much force for a bouncer? While every case is different, it’s a safe bet to assume that if a police officer is prohibited from using that technique, so too is a bouncer. 

A bouncer may need to use force against a bar or club patron if that person is posing a risk to themselves or others. They work security, so that is part of the job. However, just because a bouncer is allowed to use some force on the job does not mean that a bouncer should be causing serious injuries. If you were injured after an encounter with a bouncer, or if your loved one perished because of a bouncer using excessive force, contact a bouncer injury lawyer before it’s too late.

When Has a Bouncer Committed Assault & Battery?

Bouncers have a tendency to commit what are called “intentional torts.” Intentional torts are civil (meaning punishable by lawsuit, not by jail) wrong-doings committed with an intent to cause harm. Common intentional torts committed by bouncers include: 

  • False imprisonment
  • Assault
  • Battery

A bouncer doesn’t have to lay a hand on a patron for an assault to occur. Assault becomes battery when there is actual physical contact. Assault and battery cases can be difficult to prove against bouncers since their job calls for using force. 

Did the Bouncer Detain You?

If a bouncer told you to go sit down in the manager’s office, and you said, “No, I just want to leave,” and then the bouncer prevented you from leaving, that is “false imprisonment.” Only sworn peace officers have the power to detain people against their will. “False arrest” is also a crime, but false imprisonment is more common. Typically this scenario arises when a security guard observes someone shoplifting and then tells the shoplifter to wait while the police are en route to arrest them. 


Is the Bar or Club Also Responsible?

In 2019, a man from West Lubbock, Texas, filed a lawsuit after a bouncer there got violent with him and left him so severely injured that he could not get up and walk afterward. The lawsuit the injured man later filed was actually a negligence claim against the club’s owner for vicarious liability. 

In order to hold a bar or club accountable for a bouncer’s actions, your lawyer will need to prove that the business owner was either aware of the bouncer’s tendency to cross the line or that the owner was negligent (irresponsible) in hiring the bouncer. For example, if the bouncer had an extensive criminal record of batteries, assaults, and similar violent acts, the owner should have done better due diligence and not hired him or her. 

Types of Bouncer Personal Injury Cases

A 35-year-old man died at a bar in Louisville, Kentucky, when the bouncer literally threw him out the door. The man died from his head injuries, and a wrongful death suit was subsequently filed. Along with wrongful death, here are a few common examples of bouncer injury cases:

  • False Arrest
  • Assault and Battery
  • Negligence: In 2020, a bouncer failed to intervene or respond in any way when a bar patron was jumped and stabbed repeatedly just outside the club. This is an example of acting negligently, and a lawsuit was filed shortly thereafter. Negligence is when a bouncer fails to act with care. For example, if the bouncer was told that a woman was being assaulted in the bathroom, and he decided to take a cigarette break before checking it out, he would be negligent in contributing to her assault. 
  • Fourth Amendment Claim: When a bouncer is also a sworn peace officer, if s/he uses excessive force in violation of their Fourth Amendment duties, this can be yet another ground for a lawsuit. While Fourth Amendment claims are rare in bouncer lawsuits, they certainly do happen.
  • Wrongful Death: As in the example above, if someone died due to a bouncer’s negligence or aggression, that would be considered a wrongful death case.

If There Is More Than One Defendant

Your bouncer injury lawyer can sue the bouncer, the bar, and another patron. If all of these parties share blame for the injuries, then they can most definitely all be held responsible. For example, if the patron assaulted you and then the bouncer failed to step in, everyone involved would be liable for your injuries.

Call a Northern California Bouncer Injury Lawyer Today

In 2021, the son of professional baseball player Roger Clemens and his friend were both assaulted by bouncers in Texas. They won a lawsuit against the bar, as victims should. Hopefully, this shows you why it’s definitely worth your time and trouble to pick up the phone or fill out our contact form. Find out if your experience gives you legal rights to compensation by reaching out to the Cartwright Law Firm now. We are northern California bouncer injury lawyers who’ve been advocating and fighting for people like you for six decades. Learn more about your options today. 


Our successful case results are a reflection of the values and virtues we believe in and uphold at Cartwright Law Firm. Nothing stops us from pursuing justice on behalf of those who need it.

Robert E. Cartwright Jr.
Founder and Managing Partner

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