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December 29th, 2010

Court Dismisses Lawsuit by Gunslinger Against Bar Owner

A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit by a man who got into a shootout at a bar, then sued the bar owner for his medical expenses, mental anxiety, inconvience, and pain and suffering.

According to the Valley News Dispatch, Thomas R. Galloway claimed that the bar’s staff was negligent for not searching Galloway and another armed man who shot each other in a fight at Envy, a bar in New Kensington, Pennsylvania, just northeast of Pittsburgh.  Galloway has a lengthy criminal record and is in jail awaiting sentencing for illegal gun possession.

The one-page ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Nora Barry Fischer on December 22 found that Galloway’s lawsuit did not raise a federal issue allowing the court to hear the case.  Galloway had filed the federal lawsuit himself, without an attorney.  Although his federal case is dismissed, Galloway could refile his suit in a Pennsylvania state court.

It wouldn’t be the first time that a bar patron succeeded in such lawsuit in Pennsylvania state courts.  As discussed in the 2010-11 Judicial Hellholes report, a Northeast Philadelphia bar, the Empty Glass Café, was ordered to pay $2.23 million to the family of a man shot while trying to break up a fight outside the bar.  The small business owner declared bankruptcy, ceased operations, and instructed his lawyer not to defend against the suit, which claimed the bar should have installed metal detectors or had security to prevent patrons from bringing guns inside.

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