Nicholas D. Forte, a South Philadelphia gay man who was brutally assaulted outside Voyeur Nightclub, filed suit Nov. 5 against the popular night spot.
Around 2 a.m. Nov. 10, 2013, Forte was assaulted by Miguel Maldonado and Matthew Morris outside Voyeur, located at 1221 St. James St. in the Gayborhood. Both were found guilty of aggravated assault, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person in February.
Forte’s injuries included a broken eye socket, a broken nose, a broken rib and multiple facial fractures.
According to court records, some of Forte’s injuries are permanent. His medical expenses exceed $100,000. Forte contends the men targeted him because he’s gay.
“Upon information and belief, [Forte’s] assault was motivated by his sexual orientation,” his suit states.
However, Philadelphia police refused to classify the incident as a hate crime.
Additionally, Forte contends Maldonado and Morris were served alcohol at Voyeur prior to assaulting him, even though they were visibly intoxicated. Maldonado was employed as a bouncer at Voyeur at the time of the incident.
“Alcohol was improperly supplied to [Morris and Maldonado] and consumed by them while in a visibly intoxicated state,” Forte’s suit states. “They were served until their blood-alcohol levels were well in excess of the amounts permitted under the law.”
Morris, 29, is incarcerated at a state prison in Smithfield. Maldonado, 33, is incarcerated at a state prison in Camp Hill.
According to court records, Maldonado faces a jury trial in June 2016 for unrelated rape charges.
In addition to Maldonado and Morris, Forte is suing Michael Weiss, his brother William Weiss and Michael R. Skubish, Jr.
According to Forte’s suit, the Weiss brothers and Skubish operated Voyeur in an unsafe manner, contributing to Forte’s injuries.
Forte claims the Weiss brothers and Skubish failed to properly screen Voyeur’s employees, failed to enact guidelines for reasonable use of force against patrons, failed to ensure proper background checks for its security personnel, allowed overcrowding conditions and permitted incompetent employees and security personnel to carry firearms during the course and scope of their employment.
Michael Weiss declined to comment for this story other than to say: “It’s a pending lawsuit, and we don’t comment on pending litigation.”
Forte is suing the defendants for negligence, battery, civil conspiracy and dram-shop liability.
“Voyeur Nightclub had a long history of violent incidents committed against patrons, business invitees and/or customers occurring at or near the business premises,” the suit alleges.
Forte is requesting a jury trial in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court. At presstime, the case hadn’t been assigned to a judge.
Forte’s attorneys had no comment for this story.
Prior to the incident, Forte had been employed by PGN as an advertising representative.