WILMINGTON, Del. (CN) – A man says his skull was fractured when a nightclub crowd attacked him after the lead singer of the cover band “Mr. Greengenes” singled him out as “unpatriotic” because he stood with his back to the band as they sang “God Bless America.” Blake Gilbert says the band’s lead singer asked the lighting crew to turn on the lights so the crowd could see him, and incited them to the attack.
“The lead singer of Mr. Greengenes, over the course of several minutes, berated plaintiff for being ‘unpatriotic’ and requested [defendants] East Coast and Martin to turn on the lights so crowd could see plaintiff. The lead singer continued his verbal attack with plaintiff in plain view of the crowd and incited the crowd to take action against plaintiff,” according to the complaint in New Castle County Court.”
Defendant East Coast Audio Video operates out of Rehoboth Beach, and Eric Martin owns the company, which provided lighting for the show, according to the complaint. Also sued are the Bottle and Cork nightclub, where the attack took place, and Highway One Management, which has the same business address as the nightclub, in Dewey Beach.
As Gilbert, “in fear of his safety,” tried to leave the crowded nightclub, he says patrons verbally abused him and “an unknown male” punched him in the head, knocking him to the floor and fracturing his skull.
Gilbert says the nightclub was negligent in failing to stop the assault, in visibly intoxicated customers, and in hiring the band for its “year end season party,” though it knew or should have known of the band’s “propensity to incite crowds.”
Gilbert demands punitive damages. He is represented by Eric Pearson with Schmidt Kirifides & Pearson.