Lawsuit: Armed patron got drunk at Bar Louie and shot another man, paralyzing him

The Minneapolis Bar Louie closed recently, and one patron and his lawyer would probably agree its end was not a moment too soon.

The Minneapolis Bar Louie closed recently, and one patron and his lawyer would probably agree its end was not a moment too soon. Courtney Perry, Star Tribune

A few years ago, City Pages wondered if Bar Louie's dress code prohibiting "baggy pants," chain necklaces, and "wide-brimmed hats" was problematic. (Our answer: Yeah, it was.) 

One item that didn't make that list: a handgun. Now, that? That we're cool with bars banning.

According to a new lawsuit, the since-closed Uptown Minneapolis bar failed to notice one of its patrons was carrying a gun; what's worse, the bar let that armed and already-drunk customer get drunker still. By night's end, another patron had been shot in the spinal cord.

The lawsuit filed by D'Andre Alexander says Eddie Burch approached Alexander and kissed him on the cheek one night in summer 2017. Alexander didn't want to be kissed, and a "shoving match" ensued, according to a Star Tribune story. Alexander then tried leaving the bar, but Burch followed him out, producing a handgun and saying Alexander, a former Marine, "really doesn't want to mess with me."

Alexander told Burch to drop the gun and "fight like men." Instead, Burch pulled the trigger twice, hitting Alexander in the back, and leaving him permanently paralyzed, according to his lawsuit. Burch was arrested and charged with first- and second-degree assault, and pleaded guilty to shooting Alexander in January.

The lawsuit blames Bar Louie for allowing Burch to patronize its establishment despite his possessing a gun that "would have been readily visible," the Business Journal reports. But Alexander's civil complaint says no "competent security personnel" was on guard to see the gun.

Burch had eight drinks before even getting to Bar Louie that night and was able to purchase more, as part of what Alexander's lawsuit alleges is Bar Louie's "customary mode of operation" of selling drinks to patrons "even when they are clearly intoxicated." This, the suit claims, "resulted in a dangerous or unsafe condition," which ultimately led to Alexander's shooting.

The same attorney bringing Alexander's case previously won a settlement from Bar Louie for a customer who was "hit in the head with a glass beer bottle at the bar," reports the Business Journal, which did not receive a response from Fortney Hospitality, the Wisconsin-based franchisee that also runs Brothers Bar & Grill in downtown Minneapolis.

The Minneapolis branch had been the only Bar Louie in this state, though the chain has dozens of bars across the country, including one in Iowa and two in Wisconsin.