MARTINSBURG – A Virginia man’s lawsuit against a Berkeley County bar was settled in January, shortly after the defendants claimed he was belligerently drunk at the time and he claimed he might need a costly medical procedure.

Jay Baltzer’s lawsuit against Apple, Inc., doing business as Piggy’s, was settled two weeks before a Jan. 29 trial was to begin. A mediation report said it was settled Jan. 15, though terms were not disclosed.

Baltzer, of Loudoun County, Va., sued Piggy’s in November 2011 over a May 29, 2011, incident that left him with a broken ankle.

On Jan. 11, Piggy’s filed a pretrial memorandum that portrayed Baltzer as out-of-control on the night of the incident. It said bouncer Paul Ward asked Baltzer three times not to carry his beer out to the dance floor.

“On the third time Plaintiff took a beer out on the dance floor, Mr. Ward followed him and tapped him on the shoulder, and for the third time told Plaintiff alcoholic beverages were not allowed on the dance floor,” the memorandum says.

“Mr. Ward tried to take the beer bottle from Plaintiff, and Plaintiff dropped the bottle at Mr. Ward’s feet.”

At this time, the defendants claim, Ward told Baltzer he had to leave. Ward claims Baltzer “aggressively” grabbed him, so he restrained Baltzer.

“Further, Plaintiff was aggressively dancing, and a couple of female patrons complained he was jumping into them,” the memorandum says.

Baltzer’s pretrial memorandum said Ward caused his leg to be pinned between the bar and a bar rail and his left ankle snapped during his fall. He was diagnosed with a distal fibula fracture and a fracture through the posterior aspect of the tibial plafond.

Baltzer claimed he incurred $135,000 in medical expenses and $50,000 in lost wages. He added that he “may not ever be able to return to his employment doing sewer and water work.”

Baltzer’s lawsuit, filed by Charles Town attorney Stephen Skinner of the Skinner Law Firm, made claims for negligence, negligent infliction of emotional distress, negligent hiring/retention and gross negligence.

Also in January, Baltzer revealed that he might need an ankle replacement or fusion surgery, procedures that could’ve added $100,000 more to his medical bills.

Baltzer’s version of the incident differed from the one set forth by Piggy’s. He says he complied with the request to leave the dance floor but he was “blindsided by a bouncer, who physically and verbally assaulted him.”

A friend helped Baltzer leave the bar because no employees would help him, he claims. The Sheriff’s Department was called, and an ambulance took him to the hospital.

Defendant Wilbur A. Alger, Jr. should have hired employees who were competent for the work assigned to them, Baltzer alleged.

Piggy's was defended by Robert W. Trumble of McNeer, Highland, McMunn & Varner.

From the West Virginia Record: Reach John O’Brien at jobrienwv@gmail.com.

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