2008 shooting leads to suit against Putnam nightclub

By Lawrence Smith | Feb 19, 2010

A Winfield man accuses staff at this Teays Valley nightclub of contributing to the circumstances that led to him being the victim of a random shooting. (Photo by Lawrence Smith)

WINFIELD - A Putnam County man says the owners of a nightclub are responsible for injuries he sustained two years following a random shooting.

Jerry McCallister II filed suit against Sneekers, LLC in Putnam Circuit Court on Feb. 5. In his complaint, McCallister, a Winfield resident, alleges the staff at the Teays Valley nightclub failed to stop a man, who'd been previously removed from the club, from returning, and subsequently shooting him in 2008.

In his suit, McCallister was in Sneeker's around 11:50 p.m. on Nov. 7, 2008. It was at this time that Michael Messer re-entered the club with a handgun clearly visible in the front of his pants.

At a time not specified in court records, a bouncer had Messer removed from the club "for being too intoxicated and making threats of bodily harm against other patrons." The same bouncer, McCallister alleges, allowed Messer to re-enter the club.

Upon seeing Messer was armed, McCallister "tried to protect himself and others from being shot." Though it is unclear if Messer was able to get off more than one, a shot he fired entered McCallister's stomach, and exited out his back.

Shortly thereafter, Messer was subdued by other patrons, and detained until police arrived.

Following the shooting, McCallister was transported to Charleston Area Medical Center. Part of his treatment included having part of his colon removed.

Two days later, Messer was arrested, and charged with malicious wounding. According the Putnam Circuit Clerk's Office, he was indicted in March on one count each of attempted murder, malicious assault, assault during the commission of a felony and brandishing.

In June, he agreed to plead guilty to the malicious assault, a felony, and brandishing, a misdemeanor, charges. He was sentenced to 2-10 years in prison for the malicious assault, and a year on the brandishing charges.

Messer, 25, was also sentenced in June to 1-10 years in prison on an unrelated assault charge. All his sentences were to run concurrently.

Though Messer was the one who shot him, McCallister maintains Sneekers could have prevented it. He alleges Sneekers was negligent in, among other things, "failing to properly train ... personnel ... have[ing] a proper communication system to alert all personnel of potentially dangerous patrons ... and hav[ing] a proper security system to protect patrons."

As a result of the shooting, McCallister alleges he's incurred "pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of the pursuit of daily activities, mental distress, wage losses, medical expenses and other damages."

McCallister's wife, Michelle, makes a claim for loss of consortium, and is listed as a co-plaintiff.

The McCallisters seek unspecified damages, interest and court costs. They are represented by Charleston attorney Shawn R. Romano.
The case is assigned o Judge O.C. "Hobby" Spaulding.

Putnam Circuit Court case number 10-C-37

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