Family of Man Murdered Near Dolphin Nightclub Sues City, Club Owner

April 20, 2015 | dnainfo.com

The family of a 35-year-old man who was killed outside the Dolphin nightclub last month filed a lawsuit against the city and club Monday.

The family of Deonta Jackson’s 11-year-old daughter claims the city ignored Ald. Scott Waguespack’s (32nd) repeated requests to close Dolphin ahead of the shooting, which left Jackson and another man dead.

Despite Waguespack’s requests, the lawsuit says, the club remained open.

Because of this, the suit claims the city was negligent and caused an unreasonably dangerous situation.

“Alderman Waguespack made numerous requests for [Green Dolphin Street’s] late-night license to be revoked,” said Robert J. Smoler, Jackson’s attorney. “A tragedy like this could have been prevented had the City honored those requests.”

The shooting March 16 occurred after a fight inside Dolphin, at 2200 N. Ashland Ave., spilled out into the street just after 3 a.m.

The group involved in the fight was sitting outside the club when a gunman opened fire, leaving Jackson and 41-year-old Elijah Moore dead, Chicago Police have said. A third person was wounded.

The shooting remains under investigation and there are no suspects in custody.

Luneisha Wade, the mother of Jackson’s daughter, filed the five-count complaint Monday on behalf of she and Jackson’s daughter against the city of Chicago, the Green Dolphin and the club’s owner, Sam Menetti.

Menetti could not be reached for comment.

Wade currently lives in Kentucky with Jackson’s 11-year-old daughter and is originally from Chicago, according to her attorney.

Wade is representing her daughter, who is the sole plaintiff in the lawsuit.

The suit alleges wrongful death and seeks more than $250,000 in damages.

Jackson was pushed toward the north exit doors of the nightclub and while he was being pushed, the gunman approached Jackson and shot him dead, according to the lawsuit.

The Dolphin has been cited and fined more than a dozen times since 2006 and was closed in 2010, but reopened “per a court order” according to a mayor’s spokeswoman.

Since 2013 there have been 11 aggravated batteries, 11 assaults, 42 batteries and one sexual assault in the Dolphin or in the immediate surrounding area, according to police data.

Two of the aggravated batteries were stabbings, according to police data.

The nightclub has remained shuttered since the morning of the shooting.

The owner of the club voluntarily closed for 60 days while re-evaluating the situation, according to John Holden, a spokesman for the city’s Department of Law.

Holden said the department has not had an opportunity to review the suit filed Monday and was unable to comment.

Immediately following the shooting a spokeswoman for Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the city would seek to bring a case against the club to shut it down, but that case has yet to be filed, according to Cook County court records.

Waguespack, the alderman of the 32nd Ward where Dolphin is located, ripped the city for not pulling the Dolphin’s license before the shooting.

“It’s frustrating because we really pushed hard to get some of these bad actor, late-night businesses closed down. It’s hard when you go to the Liquor Commission and they keep these places open,” he said the day of the shooting.

The alderman had called for the closure of the club after previous violent incidents.

The 13,000-square-foot Green Dolphin underwent a $1 million renovation in 2012 and re-opened as the Dolphin in January 2013 with a focus on electronic music and the dance club.

“Smoler Law Office filed suit on behalf of a decedent’s minor child, in the recent Dolphin nightclub shooting that occurred March 16, 2015.  A complaint was filed alleging causes of action against Dolphin Nightclub and the City of Chicago.  Deonta Jackson, plaintiff’s decedent, was 35 years old.”