City Desk

Lawsuit: Man Accidentally Walks Toward Women’s Bathroom in D.C. Club, Bouncers Break His Leg

Picture this: It's dark, there's music playing, and you're in a nightclub with some friends. You need to go to the bathroom, but you can't really see, so you walk in the direction of the women's bathroom instead of the men's room, where you're supposed to go. But before you reach the door—BOOM—a bouncer forcibly pulls you away, and then—BAM—another bouncer comes, and they start attacking you. At one point, one of the bouncers rams your leg against something, ultimately breaking your leg.

One D.C. man is alleging that's what happened to him while he was at Liv Nightclub—the establishment above Bohemian Caverns at 11th and U streets NW—one April evening.

In a lawsuit filed in D.C. Superior Court on July 25, Vivekanand Dwarka of Baltimore alleges that when he was at the establishment with friends, he mistakenly headed toward the women's bathroom. The suit states Liv Nightclub is "dimly lit and the signs for the restrooms are not easily legible. The signs for the restroom appear identical and are labeled in small script, 'Ladies' and 'Gentlemen.'" A bouncer then forcibly pulled Dwarka away from the women's restroom door, according to the suit, and then another bouncer joined. Together, the complaint says, two bouncers allegedly "physically attacked" Dwarka, ultimately breaking his left leg.

After the pummeling, the suit alleges the bouncers "dragged and half-carried the Plaintiff down two flights of stairs and outside the building, where they threw him onto the sidewalk and returned to the Club, leaving him injured on the street." Dwarka's friends then called 911, and an ambulance took him to Georgetown University Medical Center's emergency room, where doctors told him he had a "comminuted fracture through the distal third of the left leg." He had surgery on his leg that next day.

Omrao Brown, one of the owners of Liv, says in a statement to City Desk that the nightclub hasn't been served with the complaint and he has no knowledge of the lawsuit. But he recalled the incident in question and says that's not how it actually happened. According to Brown, Dwarka was escorted from the establishment for assaulting a security guard after he was told repeatedly not to enter the women's restroom. The customer complained of an injured leg, was assisted to a seat by security, and ultimately walked down the stairwell from the second floor to the first floor on his own.

"We have a long record of providing a safe and fun atmosphere for our customers," Brown says in the statement.

Dwarka is suing Mahoganey LLC—the company that owns and operates Liv and Bohemaian Caverns—for a total of $3.5 million: $1 million for his physical injuries, $500,000 for emotional distress, $1 million for negligence, and $1 million for negligent hiring, training, and supervision.

Read the complaint below:

Photo by Ally Schweitzer

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  • question

    does anyone know if the bathrooms in question were multi-stall or "single-seaters"? In DC, single-occupancy restrooms are supposed to be accessible for any gender and therefore even if the plaintiff was trying to get in, they shouldn't have stopped him.

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