A wrongful death lawsuit filed today in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas against Club Risque claims the strip joint's Tacony location – which employs "pay-for-pour" shot girls who are compensated for each drink they sell – negligently and carelessly overserved a patron in September while knowing the man intended to get behind the wheel of his car.
Northeast Philadelphia computer technician George Fadgen, 46, allegedly "staggered" to his car shortly after Club Risque closed at 2 a.m. on Sept. 8. According to the suit, Fadgen, "as a result of being profoundly intoxicated, lost control of the motor vehicle and sustained a terrifying motor vehicle accident."
Fadgen flipped his car in a one-vehicle crash less than two miles away from the club, on I-95 near Bridge Street. He was thrown from the vehicle and landed six feet away.
Fadgen died shortly before 2:30 a.m. of multi-system organ failure and a "massive head injury." His blood alcohol level was .19.
"Club Risque, as asserted in the complaint, broke the law by failing to operate in a lawful manner that would have protected George Fadgen from harm ," said attorney Michael Barrett of Saltz, Mongeluzzi, Barrett & Bendesky, P.C., who filed the suit on behalf of Fadgen’s parents. "Now it must be held accountable for its actions."
According to the complaint, Fadgen was at the club for about three hours and spent upward of $300 on alcohol. He visited the club's ATM at 10:15 p.m., 1 a.m. and 1:55 a.m., each time withdrawing $100 to purchase drinks. It is estimated he consumed eight to 10 beverages before leaving the club.
The suit alleges the bar's employees contributed to Fadgen's intoxication and subsequent death by continuing to serve him even though he was visibly drunk and even though staff members knew – or should have known – he intended to drive home.
The suit also claims the club lacks proper employee training and disciplinary standards when it comes to cutting off customers and has no drink limits for patrons who have been imbibing for an extended period of time.
Club Risque further has a policy of encouraging shot girls and bartenders to continue serving alcohol to patrons "when they are clearly at risk of becoming an instrument of danger," the complaint states.
"Club employees get commissions on every shot poured, so there is financial incentive to overlook, as in the case of Mr. Fadgen, a customer who is visibly intoxicated and should be shut off," Barrett said. "With every shot, practically up until the club closed, Mr. Fadgen was one ounce closer to his untimely and preventable death."