PARKERSBURG – According to recently filed lawsuits, the scene last year at a Wood County bar named after a hip 1950s detective television show co-staring Efrem Zimbalist Jr. resembled something akin to that of the Double Duce –- the bar at the center of the 1989 Patrick Swayze movie "Roadhouse."
Christopher Longfellow, and Robert Barker filed separate lawsuits on Sept. 17 against 77 Sunset Strip in Wood Circuit Court. In their complaints, the men allege they were wounded by the bar's manager, Jayland P. Talbot, who is named as a co-defendant in the suit, when a verbal altercation between he, and a bar employee in 2008 escalated into a fight.
According to their suits, Longfellow and Barker were at 77 Sunset Strip, a strip bar located of the Mineral Wells exit on Interstate 77, on Sept. 20, 2008. They provide little details as to what occurred when they were there except both were 'negligently, carelessly, intentionally, recklessly, willfully, wantonly and with utter regard for [their] safety, struck...in such as a manner as to hereby cause injury to [them]" by Talbot.
However, according to a criminal complaint filed against him in Wood Magistrate Court by Sgt. J.W. Allen of the Wood County Sherriff's Department, Talbot became involved in a verbal altercation with Barry Parrish, the bar's doorman, when he let someone in wearing a sleeveless shirt. The altercation escalated when Talbot threw a tip jar at Parrish, which struck him in the chest, and then shoved him to the ground, and began kicking him.
It was at this point Barker intervened by attempting to pull Talbot off Parrish. When he did, the complaint maintains Talbot first began hitting Barker with beer bottles and glasses, then with a glass ashtray.
Noticing that Barker was bleeding from the head, Longfellow then attempted to break-up the fight. Undaunted, Talbot then grabbed Longfellow, and bit him on the nose.
When Longfellow ran into the bathroom, Talbot followed him in telling him "he was going to kill him." According to the complaint, he left only to return with a pistol.
Fearing for his life, Longfellow, and other patrons began to exit the bar. As they did, Talbot pointed the pistol at them saying he was going to kill them.
In the complaint, Allen states that as he approached the bar, he "observed a large number of vehicles fleeing the area at high rates of speed." Upon arrival, Allen said "a large group of subjects where observed to walk out of the wooded area," behind the bar.
According to the complaint, Longfellow and Barker were taken by ambulance to Camden-Clark Memorial Hospital. Barker had 16 pieces of large glass removed from his head left by the ashtray, and Longfellow required 13 stitches to close the wound in his nose.
Talbot, 38, a Parkersburg resident, was arrested six days later, and charged with two counts of malicious wounding, and one count wanton endangerment. He was later indicted by the Wood County grand jury this May on two charges of malicious assault.
Records show, Talbot pled guilty on Aug. 19 to two counts of unlawful assault. He is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Robert A. Waters on Tuesday, Oct. 26.
According to court records, Talbot remains free on $30,000 bond. It is unclear if he is still works at 77 Sunset Strip.
In their suits, Longfellow and Barker allege the injuries they received not only physical, but also "physiological damages which are permanent in nature, requiring past, present, and future medical treatment." Also, they allege the fight with Talbot left them with "a decrease in his earning capacity, his value of life, his enjoyment of life, diminished earning capacity, pain, suffering, and mental anguish."
Longfellow and Barker each seek $300,000 in both compensatory, and punitive damages. They are represented by Charleston attorney Harold L. Albertson.
Longfellow's and Barker's cases are assigned to judges Jeffrey B. Reed and J.D. Beane, respectively.
Wood Circuit Court, case numbers 10-C-407 and 408