January and February will be busy months for the Crazy Horse Too because the topless bar and its owner, Rick Rizzolo, will be Defendants in two separate jury trials.
The first trial set to begin on January 6 is a wrongful death action brought by the widow and children of Scott David Fau who was found beaten to death behind the bar on August 4, 1995.
The second trial is for the attempted murder of Kirk Henry, a Kansas tourist who on September 20, 2001 suffered a broken neck during an altercation with Crazy Horse bouncers. Henry's injuries resulted in quadriplegia.
The January 6 trial will be the third time since Scott Fau's death in 1995 that District Judge Nancy M. Saitta scheduled a trial in this case. On January 9, 2001, Fau's attorney, Randall Pike, filed a Peremptory Challenge to remove Saitta from the case, but after Rizzolo's attorneys objected, the motion failed and Saitta remained. Then on July 7 of the same year, Saitta summarily dismissed Fau’s lawsuit but suddenly reinstated the case after Pike appealed her decision to the Nevada Supreme Court. On March 13, 2002, one-week before it was scheduled to begin, Saitta vacated the trial date, but later rescheduled it for January 6, 2003. No further delays are expected.
According to records obtained from the Secretary of State, Rick Rizzolo was one of the four major financial contributors to Saitta’s last political campaign. Rizzolo has also boasted of donating between $75,000 and $100,000 per year to other candidates for Judge, DA, County Commission, and City Council.
Attorney Donald Campbell is representing Plaintiffs Kirk and Amy Henry in the second Crazy Horse trial set to begin on February 18. District Court Judge Jeffrey Sobel, on June 26, granted Campbell's motion to include Rizzolo individually as a Defendant. A source in the insurance industry has informed the Tribune that the Crazy Horse carries $5 million in liability insurance. The source also said that a judgment in either case could easily exceed insurance coverage limits thereby exposing Rizzolo personally to financial liability.
Renata Schiff, the bar's landlord until May 1, 2002, when Rizzolo purchased the property for $5 million, may also face exposure in both cases for not enforcing a provision in Rizzolo's lease that requires a tenant to "comply with all requirements of all municipal, state and federal authorities," in other words; to provide a safe environment for patrons of the Industrial Rd. shopping center where the bar is located.
When asked about the Fau beating, Rick Rizzolo responded, "Mr. Fau was not found beaten to death. Mr. Fau was not even dead when he was found...the coroner who examined Mr. Fau's body could not determine the cause of death but completely ruled out that Mr. Fau was beaten to death or that his death was caused by an altercation."
However, in a Declaration filed with the court, pathologist Griffith Thomas, M.D. stated that Fau's cause of death was "blunt force trauma consistent with a severe beating and/or positional asphyxiation."
When asked about the beating of Kirk Henry, Rizzolo responded, "No 'beating' ever occurred on my premises on that day. A customer leaving the club drunk did trip, but in no way was this man 'beaten.'" Rizzolo went on to say, "The first time we saw the guy he was lying on the ground and (one of the club's employees) called 911."
When Bart Rizzolo, Rick Rizzolo's father, was asked about the lawsuits, he stated, "There has got to be a way to get back at people who file lawsuits. There has never been a suit filed that we haven't beaten and I'm hoping our record will stay that way." Bart Rizzolo said the Crazy Horse is concerned about the way patrons are treated. "If a customer gets out of line, we help the guy out, we don't throw him out," he said.
During the past two years, at least two other beating incidents have been reported to police. On May 24, 2001, Kenneth Kirkpatrick told police that he had a disagreement with the management of the Crazy Horse. According to the police report: "The bouncers were shoving (him) around. Security then knocked him to the ground and punched and kicked him in the face and back of the head."
Then on the morning of April 30, 2002, electrician Jermaine Malcolm Simieou told police that Crazy Horse personnel beat him up after he was told to leave the bar for engaging in an argument with another patron. According to medical reports, Simieou suffered a broken nose, black eye, and two chipped teeth along with other injuries.
Both Kirkpatrick and Simieou reportedly consulted attorneys but it is not known whether they will take legal action against the topless bar or its owner. District Attorney Stewart Bell has refused numerous requests from Metro to prosecute Rizzolo's employees. Bell is currently running for a seat on the District Court bench.
A pretrial hearing in the Fau case is scheduled for December 17 of this year. At that hearing, Rizzolo's attorney, Marsha L. Stephenson, will ask Judge Saitta to rule on limiting the scope of testimony of prior and subsequent confrontations and altercations; limit photos of the decedent; limit transcripts of taped conversations with eyewitnesses; limit information about claims or lawsuits prior to and subsequent to Scott Fau's death; and limit information about the prior felony convictions of Crazy Horse employees Paul Luca and Joseph Blasko.
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