A man shot amid an argument with a gun-wielding man who was then shot and killed by an off-duty police officer at a Southwest Side bar in late 2014 has sued the estate of the man who died and the bar in which the fight took place, claiming owners should have not allowed the man, who allegedly had a history of threatening bar patrons with violence, in the bar, or, at least, have not allowed him to get drunk.
Matthew Layhe filed his complaint in Cook County Circuit Court on June 11 against the estate of Thomas McGinty and Erik the Red Inc., the owner of Blackthorn Pub, 3300 W. 111th St., Chicago.
The complaint includes three counts – a count of negligence against McGinty and negligence and violations of the Dram Shop Act against the Blackthorn’s owners.
Layhe, who is represented by attorney Jeffrey C. Schwartz, of the firm of Kralovec, Jambois & Schwartz, of Chicago, has requested a jury trial and damages of more than $50,000.
The case centers on the December 2014 bar fight at the Blackthorn, in Chicago’s Mt. Greenwood neighborhood.
According to court documents and published reports, Layhe was at the Blackthorn with friends watching football. At some point while at the bar, Layhe and McGinty exchanged words.
The argument escalated, and, according to Layhe’s complaint, McGinty then pulled a handgun, aimed it at Layhe and shot him twice.
In response, an off-duty Chicago Police sergeant at the bar pulled his weapon, and reportedly announced himself, identifying himself as a police officer and ordered McGinty to drop his weapon.
Published reports said McGinty ignored the officer, and then pointed his gun at the officer and others at the bar. The sergeant then shot and killed McGinty.
While Layhe survived, his complaint asserts the incident left him with “severe and permanent” injuries.
Further, he alleges the bar should have prevented the incident from occurring altogether, by either throwing McGinty out or refusing to serve him alcohol, particularly once he began to show signs of intoxication.
Layhe alleges McGinty “frequented the Blackthorn Pub on a regular basis” and Blackthorn’s owners and employees “knew or should have known that allowing McGinty on their premises presented a danger to their patrons,” as McGinty allegedly had “frequently threatened violence” to others at the bar in the past.
“(Blackthorn) employees who witnessed the aforementioned incidents did not call the police, report the incident, warn patrons or take any steps whatsoever to insure the safety of their patrons,” the complaint states.