Man settles lawsuit against the Hawk and an employee who he says hit him in bar fight

photo by: Nick Krug/Journal-World File Photo

In this file photo from Dec. 7, 2017, The Jayhawk Cafe — aka The Hawk — sits at the corner of 13th and Ohio streets.

Story updated: 4 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018

A University of Kansas student’s lawsuit against a Lawrence college bar known as the Hawk, and one of its employees he was injured in a fight with, has been settled.

Douglas County District Court Judge Amy Hanley dismissed the suit this month, in accordance with an agreement between all sides.

“The parties have resolved all disputes and controversies and all claims asserted in the above-captioned matter shall be dismissed,” according to a stipulation for dismissal signed by attorneys for the plaintiff, the Hawk and the employee. The agreement says the suit should be dismissed with prejudice, meaning the same claims can’t be brought again.

Plaintiff Zachary Webb and the defendants settled prior to the dismissal, according to court docket notes, though no publicly available documents reveal a dollar amount for any financial payments that may have been agreed on behind the scenes.

Attorneys reached by the Journal-World would not confirm anything about financial settlements.

Maureen Brady, representing Webb, said only that her client was satisfied with the case’s resolution.

Charles Schimmel, the Hawk’s attorney in the matter, said, “The matter has been resolved, and that’s all we can share.”

The Journal-World was unable to immediately reach the bar employee’s attorney on Tuesday.

Webb filed his lawsuit in October 2017, over a bar fight that occurred in January 2017 at The Jayhawk Cafe (the Hawk’s formal name), 1340 Ohio St.

Webb sued both the business and one of its employees for unspecified damages. He claimed that the business was negligent for failing to keep him safe and failing to adequately train and supervise its employees. He sued the employee for allegedly assaulting and battering him.

According to Webb’s lawsuit, Webb was walking through the bar when Andrew Skaff — an employee who was underage and drinking on the job — approached him, burned him with a cigarette and exchanged words. Webb said he walked away but Skaff pushed him and asked him to fight.

When Webb declined, Skaff “suddenly and without warning” hit him on the head with a bottle, the lawsuit said. Webb said other bar staff kicked him out, “disoriented and bleeding profusely,” to get help on his own.

Webb said in the suit that he suffered a crushed skull and severe concussion, leading to permanent scarring, hospital and other health-related expenses, loss of earnings, loss of tuition, “loss of enjoyment of life,” pain and suffering.

The Hawk and Skaff — who they said was not on the clock — denied Webb’s allegations.

Skaff said he acted in self-defense after Webb and several friends surrounded him, according to his written response to the suit. Webb swung at Skaff but missed, and that’s when Skaff hit Webb.

“His reaction was reasonable,” Skaff’s attorney, Overland Park-based Jennifer Johnson, said in the response.

The Hawk denied that its employees “forced” Webb into the street and pointed out that the Lawrence Police Department did respond.

“The incident was reported and investigated by local law enforcement who, upon information and belief, determined that no charges should be brought against Defendant Skaff or anyone else,” Schimmel wrote in the business’s response. Schimmel said any alleged damages sustained by Webb were beyond the bar’s control.

Webb is a KU student, his attorney confirmed. The KU directory also lists Andrew Skaff as a current student.

Contact Journal-World public safety reporter Sara Shepherd


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