Popular Georgetown bar sued for assault, negligence after an alleged altercation

Correction: An earlier version of this story, based on a court filing, said an alleged altercation occurred Sept. 31, 2011. September has 30 days; the plaintiff’s attorney says it was Oct. 1, 2011.

An Arlington lawyer has sued the company that owns a popular Georgetown bar, charging assault and negligence after an alleged altercation with bouncers that ended with the severing of his pinkie finger.

In a civil suit filed last week in D.C. Superior Court, Robert S. Dyer sued Restaurant Enterprises Inc. — operators of the Smith Point bar and restaurant — for $500,000 in damages.

The suit alleges that about 1:30 a.m. Sept. 31, 2011, Dyer had consumed seven drinks at another establishment before he walked into the bar in the 1300 block of Wisconsin Avenue NW. Dyer, 50, ordered a beer for himself and a friend, the suit says, and was then served three shots of vodka mixed with Red Bull, an energy drink.

September only has 30 days; the plaintiff’s attorney says the alleged incident occurred on Oct. 1.

According to the lawsuit, which was first reported in the Washington City Paper, bouncers at the bar then grabbed Dyer by his arms and forced him out of the building, throwing him toward the door. The bouncers allegedly slammed the door on Dyer’s left hand — he is right-handed — severing his pinkie finger. Calls and e-mails to the restaurant, as well as an e-mail to owner Bo Blair, were not returned.

In an interview Tuesday, Dyer’s attorney, Jonathan C. Dailey, said the bloodied finger dropped in the well of the door, but bouncers “didn’t do anything.”

Dailey called his client a “cocktail party animal” and said Smith Point bartenders served him when “they knew they shouldn’t have fed him drinks.”

Dailey said the restaurant gave Dyer the vodka and Red Bull drinks to meet the restaurant’s $30 credit card minimum.

Doctors were unable to reattach the finger. Dyer, a Bethesda native, is suing for medical expenses, loss of earnings, permanent disability, lost employment opportunity and permanent disfigurement.

Dyer has not filed criminal charges against the restaurant or its employees, Dailey said.

Keith Alexander covers crime, specifically D.C. Superior Court cases for The Washington Post. He has covered dozens of crime stories from Banita Jacks, the Washington woman charged with killing her four daughters, to the murder trial of slain federal intern Chandra Levy.
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