Case: Youness Adlan v. Cameo Theatre et al.
Case no.: 2015-001035-CA-01
Description: Negligent security
Filing date: Jan. 15, 2015
Settlement date: July 24, 2015
Judge: Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Migna Sanchez-Llorens
Plaintiffs attorneys: Jeff Altman, Altman Law Firm, Miami; Jason Brenner, Haggard Law Firm, Coral Gables
Defense attorneys: Ben Fernandez and Michael Brand, Cole, Scott & Kissane, Miami
Settlement amount: $5 million
Details: Rhode Island college student Youness Adlan became separated from his friends around 5 a.m. on New Year’s Day outside the Cameo nightclub in Miami Beach.
The 22-year-old stood outside by the club’s side door to text a friend to find out where he was, Brenner said. The club’s bouncer, Cody Quaife, spotted Adlan, and the two exchanged words. Adlan suffered skull fractures and brain bleeding in an encounter with the bouncer and was in a coma for three months.
Plaintiff’s case: “It’s our understanding that Youness kind of explained what he was doing back there,” Brenner said. “At that point, Cody yanks him out of the back door and pushes him toward the front.”
Security video shows Adlan stepping out of view of a security camera for a few seconds just before Quaife hit him in face. Witnesses 25 feet away could hear Adlan fall, Brenner said.
“It was so loud that they heard his head crack on the sidewalk,” he said.
Adlan remained on the ground for eight minutes before anyone called the police, Brenner said.
The Morocco native cannot bathe or go to the bathroom by himself. He is now relearning how to walk, and his medical bills total $1.2 million to $1.4 million.
“He unfortunately is likely going to require medical care for the rest of his life,” Altman said.
Quaife has a trial date pending in September for a felony battery charge.
As Adlan’s legal guardian, his father filed a negligence suit against the nightclub, its owner Opium Group and the Zori Hayon Trust, which owns the land and the club building.
Adlan’s legal team argued Opium Group allowed a culture of violence to grow across its Miami Beach clubs.
“This is not the first instance where physical force was used,” Brenner said. “This is a pattern and practice that is engaged in by the security personnel” at all of the Opium clubs.
The plaintiff also alleged the club owner was negligent in its hiring practices, although Brenner said his team’s background check on Quaife “revealed nothing that would necessarily cause alarm.”
Defense case: Fernandez declined to comment on the case.
Plaintiffs counsel said the defense’s key arguments were that the attack was provoked and Quaife was not associated with Opium Group.
Altman traveled to Florida’s Gulf Coast, Charleston, South Carolina, and Chicago to interview witnesses.
The plaintiff’s investigation showed Cameo bouncers were paid by the Opium Group, he said.
“At the end of the day when the puzzle pieces were put together with the witness statements, it was clear that the attack was from an employee while he was working and it was unprovoked,” Altman said.
Outcome: Plaintiffs counsel made a demand June 27 providing 30 days for Opium Group and Cameo, which shared an insurance provider, to tender their policy limits.
The two defendants did so July 24, securing $5 million for the plaintiff.
Comments: “We are not opposed to these clubs operating their businesses,” Brenner said. “But there is a culture that has existed with Zori Hayon from the beginning that needs to be addressed.”
Post-settlement: Claims against the third defendant, Zori Hayon Trust, are still pending.