City officials filed a complaint with the city attorney’s office last month against Fifth Quarter nightclub, alleging that the bar known for its drink specials and mechanical bull is a public nuisance.
Senior Assistant Attorney Kristen Larcom, who is handling the case, said the complaint stems from a variety of issues associated with the bar.
“(The complaint) is based on a number of incidents (showing that the bar has) caused more problems than other bars,” Larcom said.
Larcom added that the complaint, which was filed on Nov. 4, has not progressed further than the issuing of the complaint itself.
A public nuisance is defined as anything that “annoys, injures, or endangers the safety, health, comfort or repose of the public; offends public decency … or in any way renders the public insecure in life or property,” according to Ann Arbor’s city code.
The complaint states that between the dates of Jan. 1 and Oct. 25, 2010, the Ann Arbor Police Department received over 89 calls requesting service at Fifth Quarter. The police received half as many calls from the bar in all of 2009.
“The calls for service to the Fifth Quarter include, but are not limited to, many fights, complaints that bouncers and other Fifth Quarter employees have assaulted and/or injured patrons, other assaults that have caused serious injury, and incidents of over-serving alcohol,” the complaint states.
In June of this year Ann Arbor Police Chief Barnett Jones and Deputy Police Chief John Seto met with defendants Jeffrey Starman and Andrus McDonald, the operators of the bar and building, about a letter the city sent to the bar informing them they were in danger of becoming a public nuisance, according to the complaint.
However, the complaint states that problems at Fifth Quarter worsened over the summer including many incidents that were so serious they required officers from all parts of the city to leave their beats and attend to calls at the bar.
The complaint states that police were forced to close the bar on multiple occasions due to fights and large crowds, which in many cases spilled onto sidewalks surrounding the bar. The complaint describes one incident in particular, where officers were hindered from assisting a woman, who had allegedly been assaulted, due to large crowds and fights in and around the bar.
The complaint also discusses incidents of bar staff and bouncers assaulting and injuring patrons. One incident, in which a patron was knocked unconscious by a bouncer, resulted in a civil lawsuit.
“After the civil lawsuit was served on the Fifth Quarter in early February of this year, the City has received approximately nine more complaints of bouncers or other employees assaulting and/or injuring patrons,” the complaint asserts.
The complaint states that, according to city ordinance, being declared a public nuisance is a misdemeanor crime.
The officer addressing the case and the defendants could not be reached for comment.
According to Larcom no other information about the case other than the complaint has yet to be released.
“I can’t really discuss the case; that’s just the basis of the lawsuit,” Larcom said.
Multiple calls to the Fifth Quarter in the past three days seeking comment haven’t been returned.