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Former prosecutor sues Tabu for alleged assault

Former prosecutor sues Tabu for alleged assault

Taboo Philadelphia

Steven R. Bryson, a former city prosecutor, is suing Tabu Lounge & Sports Bar after allegedly being “brutally attacked” by a bouncer at the LGBTQ-oriented establishment. The case is headed to a jury trial next year if it cannot be resolved before then.

Also named as a defendant in Bryson’s lawsuit is Mainline Private Security LLC, a security guard company that allegedly provided the doorman to Tabu.

Bryson worked for the City of Philadelphia as an Assistant District Attorney (2017-2019) and Assistant City Attorney (2019-2020). Currently, he is an associate attorney with the Center City law firm van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim.

On November 5, 2021, Bryson was a Tabu customer when he was allegedly assaulted by a bouncer. The nightclub is located at 254 S. 12th Street in Gayborhood.

In a 13-page civil complaint, Bryson alleges that several Tabu bouncers acted in a “loud, violent, aggressive and abusive manner” prior to his alleged assault by one of the bouncers.

“As (Bryson) left Tabu Nightclub, he was physically and brutally attacked by Mainline Private Security security, resulting in (Bryson) suffering serious bodily injuries,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit does not identify the bouncer who allegedly assaulted Bryson.

“(The employees) were present and did nothing to intervene, prevent and/or stop the assault, despite knowing and/or should have known of this foreseeable risk of harm,” the lawsuit adds.

Tabu officials “were aware of prior events of security breaches and knew that enhanced security measures were required (but failed to provide them),” according to the lawsuit.

“There have been numerous altercations, fights and/or other disturbances and security violations on the premises of Tabu Nightclub, so this incident was foreseeable,” according to the lawsuit.

The defendants’ alleged acts and omissions manifested “an extreme indifference to the value of human life,” the lawsuit maintains.

As a result of his alleged assault, Bryson suffered a serious laceration to his face and lip, which required multiple stitches to close; multiple abrasions to the head and face; continuous numbness and tingling in the face and lips; and permanent scars on the face and lip.

Additionally, Bryson has incurred significant medical bills and his earning capacity has been negatively affected due to the alleged assault, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit cites two charges against the defendants: assault and negligent security. Bryson seeks compensatory and punitive damages against the defendants in excess of $50,000, including attorneys’ fees and costs.

In defense documents, Tabu’s attorneys denied any wrongdoing and raised the possibility that Bryson contributed to the incident through his own negligence and/or carelessness.

Bryson’s attorneys denied that claim in court papers.

A jury trial is tentatively scheduled for 10 a.m. on April 7, 2025 in room 253 at City Hall. A presiding judge will be selected shortly before the trial begins.

Michael T. van der Veen, Bryson’s attorney, expressed optimism about the case.

“Establishments like Tabu have a duty to ensure the safety of their customers,” van der Veen told PGN. “They are making huge amounts of money selling alcohol and entertainment. They know that innocent customers can be hurt if they do not act appropriately, with proper training and supervision of their security forces. We hope our lawsuit helps others avoid having to suffer like Mr. Bryson did. “We hope this lawsuit marks a real change for Tabu in how they run a safe operation.”

Van der Veen added: “At the heart of our case is the negligent hiring, training and supervision of workers at this establishment.”

Representatives for the defendants had no comment as of press time. In a separate matter, Tabu is the subject of a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of Eric Pope, a gay man who was allegedly killed by a Tabu bouncer in April 2022. A jury trial for that case is tentatively scheduled for 10 am on August 4, 2025, in room 443 of City Hall. A presiding judge will be selected shortly before the trial begins.