Doorman at bar shot in leg by unruly patron; sues man’s estate

$185,000 settlement

On Feb. 20, 2015, the plaintiff was working security as a doorman at Minglewood Tavern in Gloucester. At around 11-11:30 p.m., a patron, later identified as the decedent, gave the DJ a hard time. The plaintiff intervened. Subsequent to the dispute with the DJ, the decedent pointed at the plaintiff and his fellow security/doorman and threatened to kill them both. 

After the threat, the plaintiff began escorting the decedent out of the bar. On the way out, the decedent grabbed the plaintiff by the throat, so that the plaintiff physically had to throw the decedent into a snow bank. 

The plaintiff left work at Minglewood at approximately 12:15 a.m. on Feb. 21. A few minutes later, the decedent confronted the plaintiff at his car in a nearby parking lot. The plaintiff drove away to avoid an issue, calling his fellow doorman to warn him that the decedent was still around looking for trouble. 

Out of concern for the other employees, the plaintiff then drove back to the area to protect his fellow employees. As he drove toward the bar, he heard a loud banging/smashing sound in the rear window of his car but did not know what it was or where it came from. He quickly turned around and pulled up behind a Mercedes, where the decedent was standing. The vehicle was later identified as the decedent’s vehicle. 

As soon as the decedent saw the plaintiff, he began walking toward his car and pulled out his gun and began shooting. The driver’s side window smashed and the plaintiff reversed his car to quickly get away. The gun shots continued. A few minutes prior to 12:30 a.m., the decedent shot the plaintiff in the left leg.

The decedent was charged criminally with armed assault with intent to murder, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a building. The bullets were matched to a gun owned by the decedent. 

He took his own life while awaiting criminal trial in Essex Superior Court in Salem.

Action: Negligence and tort
Injuries alleged: Gunshot wound, shattered femur, scarring, psychological injuries
Case name: McNutt v. Estate of Hewson 
Court/case no.: Essex Superior Court/No. 1577 CV 1093
Jury and/or judge: N/A (settled)
Name of conciliator: Lori Cianciulli, Esq.
Special damages: $87,361.10
Demand: $500,000
Amount: $185,000
Date: Oct. 16, 2020
Attorney: Joseph M. Orlando Jr. of Orlando & Associates, Gloucester (for the plaintiff)