Four months after 26-year-old Erica Robinson was shot and killed inside the Key Club in New Haven, her family is suing the nightclub for negligence.
“The claim is that the Key Club did not provide adequate security to their patrons,” said attorney Michael Dolan, who is representing the family.
According to police, on Oct. 26, 2013, 28-year-old Adrian Bennett started shooting inside the Key Club, killing Robinson and injuring five others.
The lawsuit alleges that the Key Club allowed Bennett into the club even after he was being disruptive and disorderly, failed to keep their patrons out of harm’s way and didn't have adequate security to keep the club safe.
Quinnipiac Law Professor John Thomas said those allegations will have to be proven for this lawsuit to move forward.
“First, we're going to have to prove as plaintiffs the typical nightclub could have handled that, would have had better training, better, better security, would have tried to escort this guy out when he got violent," Thomas explained. "That may be provable. The difficult task here is we're going to have to prove – the plaintiffs will have to prove – that had the nightclub done those things, the plaintiff wouldn't have suffered the injuries.“
Attorney Benjamin Proto, who has been representing the club since the incident, said the Key Club, renamed Primo, did have proper security, which included a New Haven police officer, eight security guards and a surveillance system that led to the arrest of Adrian Bennett.
He also said all patrons were patted down before they came into the club.
"The question of whether or not the security measures that we had in place on that night were adequate will be ultimately for a jury to decide,” said Proto.