(CN) – A bouncer at Pinkie Master’s Lounge, the Savannah watering hole once dubbed the third best dive bar in the South by Southern Living magazine, stabbed a patron without provocation, a lawsuit claims.
In a complaint filed in Chatham County, Ga. last week, plaintiff Jonathan Staggs says he stopped into the bar to “say hello to friends” when, out of the blue, the bouncer on duty stabbed him.
Staggs says the wound caused him to lose “a significant amount of blood,” and because of his injuries, he was taken to a nearby hospital emergency room for care.
He also says the defendants, bar landlords Martin and Coleen Hogan, and Guy Kirk, who operates Pinkie Masters, knew that “criminal activities and other incidents of violence” often occurred at the club, but failed to do anything about it.
Pinkie Master’s Lounge is the oldest continually operating bar in downtown Savannah, and was made famous when former Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter, a friend of the then-owner, announced his plan to run for president while standing in front of it.
Southern Living honored the bar in 2013, as did the Savannah Morning News newspaper, which described it as drawing a diverse crowd, including ex-military, students from the nearby Savannah College of Art and Design, and “the usual downtown weirdos.”
The newspaper also said the lounge has “the best jukebox in town.”
Speaking to Courthouse News, defendant Guy Kirk said the incident was a case of self-defense on the part of the bouncer.
“Staggs, or Catfish as he’s known around here, came into the bar with a Buck knife and two guys, saying, ‘You nigger, son of a bitch, I’m going to kill you,'” Kirk said. “Catfish had him scared to death … So he stabbed Catfish in the sternum. He poked him with it is what he pretty much did. It was a self-defense type thing.”
Kirk continued: “He isn’t a bouncer at my bar; his job is to make popcorn, bar back, and keep people off the street when it gets late. He’s a non-drinking, non-drugging, churchgoing 49 year old man and the nicest man you’ll ever meet in your life.”
The complaint asserts that the landlords “owed a duty to Plaintiff, as landlords and owners of Pinkie Master’s” and had “superior knowledge of the criminal, violent, and dangerous activities that have taken place at Pinkie Masters over the years.”
It also says Guy Kirk, was responsible for “keeping an orderly place of business” and was negligent in keeping the victim safe because he hired the bouncer who stabbed him.
Kirk told Courthouse News, “There has never been a problem at the bar in 65 years. That’s why all of the stars walk in here. They’re left alone. There aren’t any fights here. It just doesn’t happen.”
Kirk also said that Staggs wasn’t even supposed to be in a bar, alleging the injured man is on probation.
Stagg seeks past and future expenses and special damages to be determined at trial.
Richard Middleton, the plaintiff’s attorney, did not respond to Courthouse News’ request for comment, and Staggs could not be reached.
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